We got together with Bodylove Mama's founder, Ali Handley to bring you the inside scoop on all things pregnancy and postnatal pilates & yoga exercises + mindfulness practises.
Congratulations Mama, you are now officially at what we call the pointy end. The finish line is starting to come into focus, so you want to ensure that the way you are working out is preparing you for this final stage of pregnancy. Over the last two trimesters your body has been going through extensive changes, but it is in the 3rd trimester that these changes truly culminate and many women talk about feeling very pregnant. Special care must be taken to address these changes, to support you emotionally and physically, and to prepare your body for childbirth and the first weeks of your postnatal recovery, otherwise known as the 4th Trimester.
Here are Ali's top tips for the 3rd trimester.
1. DROP & OPEN
Over the course of your pregnancy you will have been working on strengthening the muscles of the pelvic floor. A strong muscle is one that can fully release as well as fully engage. It’s important during the 3rd trimester that you emphasise the release of the pelvic floor. You need to be able to fully let go of these muscles in order for your baby to come out so spend time almost every day from Week 35 experiencing the drop and open of the pelvic floor in all different types of positions. I recommend holding the stretch once you have found it and work with a slow, rhythmic breath, eyes open or softly closed, mouth and jaw open and relaxed, repeating a mantra inside your head, let go, let go, let go.
2. BABY GOT BACK
Pregnancy changes your posture. As your belly and boobs grow, you want to make sure your workouts include exercises that address these changes. I recommend targeting the muscles of the mid back, rotator cuff and spine extensors, as well as biceps and triceps. Not only will a strong upper body make you feel better during this final stage, but it’s great preparation for all the baby-caring you have in your future, feeding, holding, carrying and loving your new baby.
3. LOVE YOUR BUMP
The skin of the belly, boobs and thighs are required to stretch incredible amounts over the course of a pregnancy. Show the stretched out tissues some much deserved TLC with twice daily massage using PURE MAMA Belly Oil. It will take less than 5 minutes and when done correctly you can also support the vulnerable connective tissue of the linear alba that is in the final stage of stretch as the two sides of the abdominals separate to make room for the growing belly. It's a self-care ritual that shows your amazing body love and a daily connection to the divine baby growing inside of you. I like to remind my Mamas, the time we have with our babies inside us is very brief, honour the connection by lovingly stroking your belly daily. See Ali's 'How to massage' video here.
4. STRENGTH FROM BELOW
As your baby and belly grow it’s crucial you have a strong lower body, supporting the pelvis from below. Your beautiful belly will now have well and truly started to tip the pelvis forward, creating tightness in the front of the hips and the low back. By strengthening the glutes and hamstrings, you can counter the anterior tilt of the pelvis. A strong lower body is also required if planning on going for natural childbirth. Many of the recommended birthing positions are upright, taking advantage of gravity’s assistance and correct pelvic alignment, but the legs and glutes will be what allows you to hold these positions.
5. STRETCH IT OUT
My final piece of advice is to seek professional help and guidance in the release of the pelvic floor muscles. If it’s available, visit a women’s health physio early on in the 3rd Trimester. They will be able to give you an internal assessment of the pelvic floor, its range and your ability to push. If this isn’t available, perineum massage from week 35 is recommended and there are loads of resources online for you or your birth partner to follow. A very supple and flexible pelvic floor is key to a better birthing experience.
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Built with passion, experience and expertise. Bodylove Mamas is a dynamic, on-demand digital pilates, barre and yoga studio and app, built especially for each phase of Pregnancy, Postnatal Recovery and life as a Strong Mama.