By Kajal Desai
Hello beautiful masalamommas! I’m a bit behind on part 3 of my fit pregnancy blog series, but I promise I have good reason! I welcomed my little nugget 3 weeks early and life has been a whirlwind since July! Before beginning my notes and thoughts on third trimester fitness, I’ll note that a) mine was cut a bit short (!) and b) I can highly stress that working out through pregnancy has made a HUGE difference in recovery (just based on what I’ve heard from others).
While recovery after labor is tough no matter what, I truly believe that my pregnancy habits had some positive effects on both baby and me. I was back to teaching classes at 8 weeks post-partum and by about 5 months was back to my pre-pregnancy size and stamina (though lack of sleep sometimes hinders the latter…ha!)
THIRD TRIMESTER WORKOUTS
Third trimester had its ups and downs, and I only experienced 9 weeks of it! I mentioned in the previous post that leg cramps, ligament pains, and abdominal pressure became the norm around week 24 – well, this definitely continued into the third trimester, limiting the amount of cardio exercise I was able to do. I did notice though that I had more pain after a couple of days of not exercising than I did if I worked out even a little bit each day.
Remember that exercise does not have to be a full group exercise class or 30 minutes of weightlifting. Take a walk, even if it’s just around the house; do some stretches to work the kinks in specific areas; do 10 squats. And most importantly – keep doing those kegels and find some pelvic floor exercises that you are comfortable doing. Every little bit counts!
Here’s what an average week of exercise looked like for me:
These were spread out at random increments throughout the day. For instance, I would wake up and do the Surya Namaskar, do push-ups and pelvic/hip openers some time during midday, complete the weekly exercise in the late afternoon, and end the day with the cool down. It may seem like a lot but in actuality each thing takes 10 minutes so they provided nice energy boosts throughout the day!
- I began each day by doing a modified Surya Namaskar (Sun Salutation). I wouldn’t hold the stretches too long since my body was just waking and not warm yet. I moved through each step so that it activated my muscles and worked out any overnight kinks!
- Step 1 – Inhale, extend the arms up overhead; Exhale, fold forward from the hips bringing the palms or finger tips onto the floor (bend your knees as needed but keep the spine straight)
- Step 2 – Inhale and step back with the right foot into a lunge; Exhale step the left leg back, coming onto all fours in the tabletop position
- Step 3 – Push back onto the heels coming into child’s pose. Stay here for a couple of breaths.
- Step 4 – Inhale and return to table top, round and arch the back (cat/cow); Exhale, tuck the toes under and push the hips up to inverted V or downward dog (Note: I couldn’t stay in downward dog too long because of the blood rushing to my head so I moved through it quickly).
- Step 5 – Inhale and return to table top; Exhale step the right foot forward, palms on the inside
- Step 6 – Inhale slowly, lift arms up overhead or place the palms on the lower back and arch back; Exhale and bring palms together at the heart in Namaste
- Repeat on the left leg.
- Push-ups – at the start of the 2nd trimester I could still do push-ups regularly, but then modified to my knees around week 20. By the end of the 2nd trimester, I started doing them against the wall, putting my body at a slight decline by pushing my legs back slightly further into a diagonally straight line from my heels up through my spine. When against the wall, try to do a close grip push-up with arms in at your sides and elbows pointing back. I continued these through to the day before delivery!
3. Side lying pelvic openers (also known as clamshells if you want to look them up!).
- Step 1 – Lie on your right side and pull your hips forward to bend your knees at about 45 degrees. Your knees and heels should be together with your left leg on top of the right.
- Step 2 – Keeping your feet together, lift the left knee to open the hips without moving your pelvis or lifting off the ground.
- Step 3 – After reaching as high as you can without shifting any other part of your body, pause, and then bring legs back together.
- Do 8-10 sets and repeat on other side.
4. Sleep becomes significantly more difficult as you approach the due date. I used our Doonya class cool down to add some extra stretching and bring a bit of calm to my mind and body before calling it a night.Weekly Workouts:
Mon: 1/2-mile walk around the neighborhood (weather permitting) or on a treadmill
Tues: Weighted (3-5 lb. dumbbells) arms or body resistance exercise. I believe squats and lunges are extremely important especially as you begin to grow and your legs have to carry more weight. You do, however, have to be very careful to not sit as deeply as you might have been able to prior to pregnancy. There is more risk of injury as your muscles are relaxed and easy to overstretch due to hormones. Equally important? Keeping the arms and shoulders strong!
Wed: Doonya YouTube routines for cardio. I stopped teaching during my third trimester but I still managed to get a couple of Doonya routines in at home. Here’s a great playlist to choose from:
Thurs: I continued with prenatal yoga on my own but made sure to incorporate moves that were especially great for the hips, such as warrior 2, triangle and reverse triangle poses.
Fri: 1/2-mile walk around the neighborhood or on a treadmill
Sat: Rest day – but resting while paying attention to how long I’d been sitting! 😉
Sun: Doonya cardio
As always, wishing you all a safe and (relatively) comfortable pregnancy! Please feel free to tweet me any questions at @kajaldancer or connect via Instagram (also @kajaldancer).
Looking for awesome maternity workout wear – my two faves are the “Sweating for Two” top by For Two Fitness and the active wear maternity capris from Mumberry. These pants really have great belly support as you grow!
Kajal Desai is Co-founder and Content and Choreography Director of Doonya™, a Bollywood-inspired fitness brand. As the mastermind behind Doonya’s curriculum, dance style and fitness formula, Kajal Desai has developed and standardized the technique around Bollywood dance so that it correctly translates into fitness media, classes and training programs. Kajal’s past life as a Organizational Management Consultant with a Masters Degree in Industrial/Organizational Psychology plays a role in both Doonya™ team development and training, as well as client engagement and mind-body wellness.
Kajal is certified by the American Council of Exercise and has a lifetime’s worth of training in South Asian folk, pop, and classical dance forms, as well as years of training in hip-hop and jazz. Kajal’s most unique talent is her creative eye that allows her to take the influences that inspire her and formulate it into something everyone can access. Kajal began Doonya™ in 2005 in Washington, DC along with co-founder, Priya Pandya, where her primary role was working with and teaching students age 3-18.
The Doonya class model of positive body image and confidence-building through dance grew to over 200 weekly students from 2007-2012. Kajal also conducted numerous after-school classes and special programming for DC school systems, served on various Arts education boards, and participated in community related events to increase and spread the importance of Arts education for child development. Kajal moved to Los Angeles in 2013 to expand the Doonya™ program along the West Coast. After training instructors in Southern California, she is now happily settled in Houston, TX and ready to spread the joy of healthy living and mind-body wellness to the South.
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