In the third trimester it is natural to experience occasional discomfort as the baby becomes larger, you may find that you pass water more frequently or experience a shortness of breath more often and suffer from heart burn and slight swelling. The breasts may also feel pretty tender and be noticeably larger in this final trimester.
During this trimester it is imperative that you do not over stretch as the hormone relaxin is prominent within the body. Relaxin prepares the body for child birth by helping to soften the joints and ligaments. These are all very natural occurrences and will lessen as soon as the baby is born.
Below are a few postures suitable for the third trimester.
Make sure that you listen to your body if you experience any pain or discomfort, relax the postures immediately and focus on relaxation techniques.
Keeping the joints mobile is vital in the third trimester it will help reduce swelling, maintain good circulation and warm the joints up prior to practice.
Sit comfortably with the spine straight, either on the floor or on a cushion with ankles crossed or in a firm chair with the feet on the floor.
Incline the head to each side by directing the right ear to the right shoulder and then changing sides. Repeat four times each side and then slowly turn the head from right to left again four times on each side, to help release tension from the neck.
Never perform complete head circles.
Circle the shoulders back to mobilize the shoulders and open the chest.
Position the hands on the shoulders and circle the elbows back.
Circling the whole arm is also useful for the shoulders and helping to open the chest muscles.
During pregnancy when the breasts become larger and heavier it is only necessary to circle the shoulders and arms backwards. The extra weight carried to the front of the body can encourage the shoulders to roll forwards circling backwards will help keep the chest open.
Circling the wrists, flexing the hands, making fists with the hands and then opening the fingers wide are all ideal for bringing mobility to the wrists.
To mobilise the ankles you will need to sit with the legs extended or on a chair.
Pointing and flexing the feet and circling the ankles are ideal mobility exercises for the ankles.
Performing these simple heal raises will help to keep the legs strong and the ankles mobile.
Face a wall so that the finger tips rest lightly onto the wall. This provides stability as the centre of gravity has changed and balance can be a little challenging due to the extra weight being carried in the middle and in the front of the body.
Slowly rise onto the balls of the feet as you inhale and lower the heels as you exhale. Repeat for ten slow complete breaths.
Quadriceps Stretch Facing the Wall
To gently stretch the large muscle in the front of the thigh try this simple stretch – it is also good for balance too.
Facing the wall for stability, bring the right heel in towards the right buttock hold the foot with the right hand. Repeat on the other side.
Performing plies in the third trimester is great to help keep the legs strong and toned. It can also help position the baby ready for labour.
Start standing and step the feet slightly wider than hip distance apart with the toes slightly turned out. Inhale slowly through your nose and as you exhale soften the knees, inhale as you straighten the legs and exhale as you bend the knees. Continue like this for about twenty slow controlled breaths.
The Flapping Fish.
This posture is the perfect rest position and should be used for savasana (the corpse) from the beginning of the second trimester onwards.
Lie on your left hand side, extend the left arm, the right arm and leg bends in front of the body to offer support. This posture is very similar to a version of the recovery position.
This asana will also be the chosen resting position for relaxation, meditation, pranayama and even sleeping in these final stages.
Sue Fuller is a leading yoga teacher with a range of over 40 audio yoga classes, including a selection of pre and post natal Yoga classes. All yoga classes are available on CD or as a MP3 download from www.wellbeingworldonline.com or from www.yoga2hear.co.uk. Classes are easy-to-follow and suitable for all levels of yoga experience.
Sue is also the author of The British School of Yoga Pre and Post Natal Yoga Teachers Course, The resident yoga expert for Natural Health Magazine UK and a mother of two.