How to work out in your third trimester – like Meghan Markle
By Jessica Salter
Pregnancy is a time when you’re told there’s lots you can’t do – but when it comes to exercise, you’re advised to keep it up
If you’re someone who does regular exercise, then a little thing like being in the third trimester of your pregnancy, as the Duchess of Sussex is, isn’t going to stop you. Not only can it be essential for your own mental and physical health, but studies show that it’s good for the baby, too.
We know that the Duchess previously had a punishing exercise regime including weekly six- mile runs, “Megaformer” Pilates sessions (a terrifying-looking machine that the former Ms Markle credited with “transforming” her body), vinyasa yoga and personal training sessions.
Now she’s in the Firm it's likely that she'll talk less about her workouts – but it’s a fair guess that she hasn’t given up exercise entirely now she’s pregnant. In fact, she told a well-wisher in Australia that she had been up at 4.30am doing yoga.
Like her, I continued to work out while I was pregnant with my daughter just over two years ago. I was even in the gym on my due date – well, what else was I going to do?
Although science supported my decision to keep up exercising – the American College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (ACOG) actually recommends that pregnant women aim for 20-30 minutes of “moderate intensity exercise, including running and weight training, most days of the week – I found finding classes that would let me exercise more of a challenge.
The old adage of resting for nine months is no longer the best option for most women. In fact, the ACOG say that even pregnant women who don’t normally exercise would benefit from starting slowly on a gentle regime. But for those – like the Duchess – who are used to an endorphin-fuelled, sweat drenched work-out, what can you keep doing in your third trimester and how far can you push it?
“Yoga in pregnancy strengthens parts of the body that you use to give birth as well as relieving common aches and pains,” says Libby, a MY:METHOD yoga teacher (http://mymethod.co.uk) with a pre-natal specialism. She recommends Warrior I, II and Malasana to open the hips, the mountain pose to maintain proper posture, and cat/cow or child’s pose to help relieve lower back pain. Pregnant women should avoid inversions, including downward dog, she says.
In addition, My Method says that yogic breathing and meditation can help women. “For many pregnant women, pregnancy can be a time of confusion and anxiety. The breathing practices in pregnancy yoga slow down and extend the exhalation, which switches off the autonomic nervous system – the fight flight freeze response – and switch on the parasympathetic nervous system – the rest and digest response.
"These breathing techniques can be used while giving birth to reduce pain or at any time when you feel overwhelmed or stressed.”
Pilates is a great exercise to take up or continue while pregnant as it’s low impact and safe for all trimesters.
Pilates works to stablise joints – for example hips – that have been affected by the hormone relaxin, released during pregnancy. It’s also an option for those who suffer from Pelvic Girdle Pain.