Exercise During Your 3rd Trimester



The home stretch! You are almost there.

By now as you enter your 3rd trimester you may be feeling more tired, exhausted, & just ready to have your baby (well not the labor part but after, right). As you exit out of your 2nd trimester you may be noticing that everything is just a little harder. Prenatal fitness programs may be getting more difficult especially since your lung capacity has greatly decreased. The solution, just decrease your intensity.

There’s nothing wrong with taking it down a notch or two. Keep doing the exercises you have been doing, keep it simple & do what feels good for you & your body.

As you enter your 3rd trimester: In addition to modifications in Exercising During your 2nd Trimester

  • You may feel like you “just can’t get a big enough breath in”, completely normal. Your baby is getting bigger & taking up more space, thus causing less room for your diaphragm to expand & leaves you having a hard time breathing, especially when exerting energy. As you breathe, try to breathe out into your sides & into your back. Continue practicing good posture & engaging in cardio exercise as these will greatly help increase your ability to breathe deeper both during & after pregnancy.
  • Having a hard time getting a breath in? Stretch your arms overhead & take in really deep & slow breaths. I recommend you sit down, but sit up straight with good posture, just in case you start to feel lightheaded due to the increase in oxygen.
  • Some women begin to feel Sciatic nerve pain, a dull or sharp pain in your butt, which usually runs down your leg. Exercise may or may not help alleviate sciatic pain, what is more likely to relieve the pain is when your baby changes positions & gets off your sciatic nerve. If you have sciatic pains you should avoid any straight leg lifts or kicks as this can pull even more on your sciatic nerve & make it worse. There are several amazing exercises included in the Knocked Up Fitness Digital Prenatal Program, specifically the eBook that can help alleviate those small aches & pains.
  • Swelling of your legs, ankles, & feet is very common, especially the last month or two. Regular exercise during your 3rd trimester can help with swelling & varicose veins. Elevate your feet as often as you can & avoid standing for long periods of time. If you tend to stand a lot try setting an alarm to remind you to sit or modify your day so you can rest your feet.
  • If you haven’t been already be sure you roll to your side when you are getting up to avoid overusing your abs (specifically rectus abdominals) to help minimize or avoid abdominal separation. Continue avoiding any crunching motion exercises, planks can be ok for some, but I do recommend modified planks or switching out planks for other safe pregnancy core exercises into your 3rd trimester. Focus on deep core, kegel, and transverse abdominal activation instead. I LOVE rotational exercises! Such as : Squats with Rotation, Forward Rolls (also a great back stretch), & Cat Cows just to name a few.
  • Stay Hydrated! Take breaks every 20 minutes or so during exercise to drink water & you will probably have to pee as well! Dehydration is one cause of early labor. If you are thirsty you are already dehydrated!
  • If you haven’t already you may begin to feel “Braxton-Hicks Contractions”, this is your bodies way of practicing for the real event! LABOR! They are completely normal so don’t worry. These contractions may come on stronger as you exercise (due to dehydration), so it’s even more important that you stay hydrated. If you start to feel them come on too strong it’s an indication to momentarily stop exercise, sit, drink some water, & once you feel better continue your exercise as long as your body is telling your it’s ok. If not, give yourself a break & see how you feel tomorrow. If they don’t stop or lessen in how tight you feel them, it’s probably a good idea to go see your Doc. Especially if you are within those last 4 weeks or so.
  • Sometime towards the end, your baby will “drop” thus making it easier to breath! Relief! But now you have to pee ALL THE TIME! You may feel as though your baby is going to “fall out”! He/She/They won’t, but it’s a great reason to have a strong pelvic floor & transverse muscles. After your baby has dropped there may be exercises that don’t feel so good anymore, so just don’t do them, or modify them and go through a smaller range of motion & decrease the resistance.

Basically by now I’m sure you’ve figured out if its not one things it’s another, you just learn how to adjust.

Having gone through 3 pregnancies, all very different, my best advice during the 3rd trimester is get out & move everyday even if you don’t have the energy. It doesn’t have to be hard but just move (as long as it’s not painful). Painful & tired are two different things. If this is your first pregnancy take advantage of it & sleep as much as you can.

During my first pregnancy I slept 12 hours every night during the last month (except to get up & pee of course!). With my 2nd pregnancy I couldn’t do that, but I did sneak in naps when my daughter slept. Remember some things can wait & your & your babies health is the most important right now. Even though you may have a list a mile long of things you want to get done before your baby arrives, they can wait. Don’t be afraid to ask for help from your hubby (of course), close friends & family.

*Check with your Doc to make sure you are cleared to exercise during your pregnancy* (You may go through a period where you need to take it easy but after a few days or weeks you can get moving again)


  • Aim for 30-60 minutes of cardio exercise everyday (yes, walking counts),
  • Aim for at least 3 hours of cardio/week to maximize your benefits
  • Aim for strength resistance exercise 2-4 times/week (Lightweight exercises, Pilates, & yoga, count)
  • Stay hydrated. Always carry a bottle of water, preferably not plastic. (If you are thirsty you are dehydrated)
  • Wear layers so you can easily remove outer ones when you get warm
  • Don’t exercise outside in hot humid temperatures or indoors for that matter either if it hot inside
  • Wear good supportive tennis shoes
  • Remember, your body is changing so your balance may not be as good, just be aware.


  • Posted July 29, 2010
    by Janice - The Fitness Cheerleader

    Great tips! And very timely too – I’m 26 weeks and found my 5k run today incredibly hard, so switched to doing a 3min run, 2 min walk until I finished my route.

  • Posted January 21, 2011
    by Beth

    Love this! I have about 3 weeks left with my 2nd child and boy, I’m tired…BUT I’ve been walkign everyday and still doing light weighted exercises. It makes me feel so much better:)

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  • Posted August 13, 2011
    by ilia

    this is my second child i worked out through my first pregnancy and i plan on doing the same with this one it just seems no matter how much i sleep i am still tired and i thought working out would give me more energy but i hope in the long run it is worth it, some days i feel great other days it just depends on my mood really but usually i am happy. but the exercise does help out i am suppose to have a c section with this one like i did with my last one, because i workout out with my l ast pregnancy i jumped back quick on my weight and i healed faster so that is why i plan to stay fit now even if i am tired.

    • Posted October 1, 2011

      Do the best you can. Listen to your body. You may feel like you go through phases where you feel more tired (& you really do need to rest). Remember with this one you have another little one to run around after (so don’t forget that counts as exercise too!). Take advantage of the times you feel better & workout a little more (just don’t overdue it). Pregnancy is temporary & as important as exercising is during pregnancy, doing what you need to do for your heath & baby’s is the MOST important. Dont’ overdue as that could lead to bedrest & then there’d be NO exercise. Keep your eating as healthy as possible & that will help with the weight gain. Best Wishes!!!

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