You are now in the home stretch! During the 3rd trimester, your body is rapidly changing as baby is growing fast. A growing baby means more pressure on the pelvic floor and also more weight your body is carrying around day to day. As pregnancy is completely individualized some women feel fantastic in their third trimester and others don’t. Things like pelvic girdle pain, hip and/or back pain, swelling, imbalance, trouble sleeping (I had to use ALL THE PILLOWS), hard time breathing (hey there fellow short torso ladies!), and more.
All of these can potentially play a role in your training. It’s an important time to work on mindset and set the goal for your long term athleticism. A great theme I like to refer to is, “Just because you CAN do something, doesn’t mean you SHOULD”. Yes, you may be able to still bang out muscle ups and rope climbs and PRing your clean and jerk, but should you? I wouldn’t advise it with the potential risk vs. the potential reward.
While every athlete is an individual, often times I will advise athletes in the third trimester to start decreasing load, intensity and increase breathing and movement strategy to meet them where they are. Now is the time to start looking forward to, and preparing for, birth and the 4th trimester/postpartum recovery. Connecting to your pelvic floor, incorporating that into your breathing and movement as well. If you haven’t seen a pelvic floor physical therapist yet, I would recommend seeing one. Here is a fantastic global directory in which you can search for one in your area.
Pelvic Floor Symptoms
Awareness of core and pelvic floor symptoms is important now as well as into postpartum recovery. Some symptoms could include: leaking urine or stool unintentionally (including when coughing, sneezing, or exercising), feelings of pressure in the pelvic region, any pelvic pain, coning or bulging of the abdomen). These are not feelings or symptoms to ignore during pregnancy. Acknowledge them and work with your strategy (and pelvic floor PT) to help alleviate and not aggravate them.
“Training for birth”…
I trained for birth. I trained for birth so I could have my non-medicated vaginal birth that was supposed to be super quick and 3 pushes or less because I was in such great shape and could squat heavy (while peeing). This is not what happened. We can’t predict what our birth story will be and pushing ourselves in the gym during pregnancy isn’t going to guarantee you the birth you’d like. If you were in good shape before pregnancy, you have already built a solid foundation for your body.
While it would be fantastic to put together a list of movements that you should or should not be doing, it wouldn’t be right for everyone. Every individual is different as well as every pregnancy, and HOW you do something is just as important (if not moreso) than WHAT you are doing. General guidelines can be helpful and I listed a few in the second-trimester blog here that are also applicable for 3rd but be aware that they are not tailored to your specific situation. I also want to note that intensity could be brought down moreso than 2nd trimester from about 6 to 4-5 (given that 4-5 feels good and non-symptomatic).
These general guidelines also do not take into consideration HOW you are doing something.
HOW you do something is much more important than WHAT you are doing.
Have you implemented a breathing and movement strategy that works for you, your baby, and your pelvic floor for this chapter?
Now onto some of the little details…
Clothes! Finding workout clothes that were comfortable was so hard! For me, I went with lululemon wunder unders for pants/capris. Having a high waist made me personally feel a little more supported. In sports bras, I went from a size 2 or 4 to 8! Anything that had good coverage worked great for me (so only 2-3 options at lululemon) I ended up buying some at TJ Max that had great coverage and sometimes I felt like I needed 2 LOL..For tops I bought a bunch at Old Navy that were cheap and got the job done!
Take the third trimester to start to wind down, prepare for birth and postpartum, dial into breathing strategies and connecting to your pelvic floor, find a PFPT if you haven’t already, and enjoy the last bits of pregnancy as much as you can! Also I want to add in, if you don’t want to work out any more – that’s ok too! Don’t keep heading to the gym because you feel like you have to – especially if it isn’t feeling great anymore or it’s taking so much of your energy you’re finding it hard to do anything else (that was so me!).
Head to my resources page if you need help locating a pelvic floor PT, great books I recommend on pregnancy and postpartum, and also some courses.
Want some ideas on what to substitute movements for? I have created this free resource for YOU! If you are pregnant, postpartum, or have pelvic floor considerations and want the confusion taken out of how to modify the most commonly asked about CrossFit movements, you need this.
I go through what, when, how, and also provide video demonstrations for modifications of the following movements:
Stay strong, stay beautiful!