Hello Third Trimester! The final stretch is here. Just as I was starting to feel human again (after a rough first trimester) I’m now back in the thick of daily fatigue and nauseous nights. Can anyone else relate?
Fortunately, I have found five stretches that really help me feel refreshed and empowered. I’ll be honest, some mornings its more appealing to crawl back in bed and at eight months, pregnant stretching can take some effort! But I promise, if you try this series of stretches for 15 minutes, 3-5 days a week, you will feel better. I do. You may even find that it helps improve your quality of sleep, which at this point in your pregnancy is vital.
Before we begin, I’d like to offer a few recommendations:
- First and foremost, you’ll need to get yourself a WellnessMat FitnessMat. As your sweet bun in the oven is steadily growing a whopping half to a whole pound a week (according to most experts), your joints become more elastic and need the support from a high-quality mat. FitnessMats have 5/8” of thickness which ensures your body will never feel the ground below you. Another benefit, FitnessMats are designed to stay put in place so you don’t have to worry about tripping since the mat won’t roll or bunch up.
- Each pregnancy is different. What might feel great to me may be throwing you red flags. Listen to your body and take your time easing into each pose.
- Hold each pose for at least 5 deep breaths, followed with long exhales. You may find it difficult to fall into a deep stretch when you first introduce your body to a new pose, that’s ok! Perform the stretch anyway, hold for 5 breaths and continue to the next pose. Once you’ve completed all five poses, repeat the poses again. The more you go back to each stretch, the deeper your body will fall into the stretch because your muscles have relaxed thus making them pliable.
- And, of course, get your doctor’s approval before performing any sort of exercise regimen.
Every mom-to-be deserves to feel great in these final weeks.
Stretch #1. Downward dog: Start on all fours, then lift your knees off the ground as you drive your heels towards the floor. Your knees should straighten, but never lock. If you’re ready to take this move to the next level, take your head through your arms as you look at your knees. As you do this, flatten your back and extend your chest towards your thighs. Oh sweet calf relief!
Stretch #2. Warrior II: This pose helps strengthen your legs while stretching your hip flexors (located on the front of your hips). Our leg muscles are long and large which requires a lot of energy. You may find that you are slightly out of breath when you come out of this pose; be sure to fully recover before moving on to the next pose.
Stretch #3. Reverse Warrior: Take caution! BabyCenter.com advises, “You're probably feeling less graceful now that your belly is bigger, so perform standing poses with your heel to the wall or use a chair for support to avoid losing your balance and risking injury to yourself or your baby.”
You should feel a substantial amount of relief through oblique muscles and your back with this stretch.
Stretch #4. Pigeon Pose: According to WhatToExpect.com, “Sciatica will most likely occur during the third trimester, when both you and your baby are bulking up (it can develop earlier, but it's not common).” For me, I just started struggling with sciatic nerve pain at 34 weeks, once I felt my baby shift. Whether you’re experiencing pain or not, the pigeon pose is an excellent way to relieve tight hip and glutes.
Stretch #5. Lotus Pose (or modify with Butterfly Stretch) + Neck Stretch: This may just be my personal favorite. As you sit cross-legged or feet together (as shown), gently place your hands on your ankles or rest your forearms on your knees. Sit up straight and press your shoulders down away from your ears. Next, drop your right ear down to your right shoulder, then your left ear to your left shoulder. This is a great way to relieve stress
Congratulations on your growing miracle! You are just weeks away from meeting your sweet angel; these moves should help make the final days more enjoyable.
Hilary Hall, FitnessMats Brand Ambassador, CPT, blogger, Owner of Shed n’ Shred Boot Camp and Mom of soon-to-be 3!