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Third Trimester Training Considerations

For me, my third trimester with Miss H was weird. The weight of my belly made me tired, but my brain was still so stubborn and I felt I had “so much to prove”.

If only I knew the truth – I had (and have) nothing to prove.

“I’m pregnant, not dying” was my motto. I vividly remember overhead squatting 100# for 5 reps at 30+ weeks thinking I was invincible. Strong? Sure. Stupid? Definitely.

By 35 weeks, a pregnant woman has a diastasis, a thinning of the linea alba – the “line” between your abs - to make space for baby. No matter how many internet gurus try to sell you programs on how to avoid it, you’re going to have one.

Add to that, the pelvic floor is already stressed at this stage in your pregnancy, and breathing strategies absolutely need to be used to ensure exercise isn’t adding unnecessary stress.

From my perspective, the goal of the third trimester is to keep moving in the interest of overall enjoyment and happiness, but to focus primarily on ensuring an athlete will set themselves up for success postpartum.

This means shortening range of motion, avoiding overhead movements, reducing intensity, load, and frequency of training.

It means ensuring your linea alba isn’t facing any unnecessary stressors and your pelvic floor isn’t being asked to do more than it already is.

It means shelving the idea that you are “training” and instead shift the mindset to “preparing” for the postpartum period.

Rest and recovery are increasingly important for this stage in a pregnancy, and while it can be hard to wrap your head around it, there are many movements that find themselves on the “inappropriate” list.

If you’re in your third trimester, and have yet to see a pelvic floor physiotherapist – now is the time. It’s also the time to start making your plan to return to exercise postpartum. Who is going to be on your team?

If you haven't made a plan - reach out, I'm here and I'm with you.

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