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13 Pregnancy Yoga Exercises for The Last Trimester

13 Pregnancy Yoga Exercises for The Last Trimester

Practicing yoga during pregnancy is a great way to nurture you and your baby. It can also help you cope and prepare both your mind and body for any pregnancy demands and challenges that you may face especially during the third trimester.

Yoga during pregnancy helps you to create space for both your baby and your internal organs. However, make sure that you only do what feels right and works, avoid muscle strains and extreme pressure exercises.

There are plenty of yoga techniques that can help you to prepare for labor in the 3rd trimester. Before you try out yoga, make sure you talk to your doctor. This way, you may know the do and don’t during this stage. The following are some of the common yoga exercises to try out during the third trimester.

1. Birth prep exercises

This mainly entails simple exercise designed to reduce pains and aches and can as well as help position the baby in a good pelvic alignment. Include this technique in your workout rest brakes, warm-up, and as part of your daily poses.

Here’s an example of it:

2. Cat cow

    This is a great pose for lengthening your spine and strengthen your core muscles.[1]

    This pose is a great technique for all pregnancy stages. It will help strengthen your belly as the pregnancy continues to grow.

    This asana also relieves the back and allow a better circulation of spinal fluids and blood.

    Practice belly breathing when performing this pose. It will aid in calming your mind and reducing morning sickness.

    It should be done about 5 times for best results.

    3. Warrior II

      This technique is great for strengthening your core and legs and as well as lengthen your spine. Even though this technique is a little bit challenging, it is said to help alleviate backaches during pregnancy.

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      4. Bridge pose

        This pose is convenient if you want to open up your hips and strengthen your glutes, core, and hamstrings.[2] Also, it can be practiced in all the trimesters.

        Begin on the side and roll to the back as you move your body into a bridge pose. This helps avoid stressing your rectus abdominals.

        Avoid this exercise if you feel uncomfortable on your back.

        5. Cobblers pose (Baddha Konasana)

          This technique is said to improve the health of the reproductive system.[3] During pregnancy, it aids in opening up the pelvis, therefore ensuring an easy and fast labor.

          It is also said to calm the mind and improve blood circulation. This yoga practice can be performed as follows:

          • Sit on a mat and stretch out your legs.
          • Fold your knees and bring your feet at the center.
          • Then straighten your back.
          • Using your palms hold your feet for a few seconds.
          • Release.
          • Repeat this about 4 times.

          6. Warrior I

            This technique helps you explore your upper body. It helps to open up your chest and strengthen your legs. This technique helps restore the health of your spine and help make space for the growing uterus.

            Also, it helps your mind relax and stay focused and maintain balance. It can be performed as follows;

            • Place your feet apart in a hip-width position.
            • Pivot on the left foot.
            • Make your right foot to face forward.
            • Lower the pelvis, then assume a lunge.
            • Look forward and lift your arms above your head.
            • Hold that position as long as possible.
            • Release the pose.
            • Repeat the process with the left foot forward.

            7. Corpse pose

              This technique aims at relaxing your body and mind.[4] It boosts your energy instantly and hence it’s convenient for battling any fatigue during the pregnancy.

              Also, it helps in fighting off any side effects of pregnancy such as pain, morning sickness, and nausea. This pose can be performed as follows:

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              • Lie on your back.
              • Let your palms rest beside you while facing upwards.
              • Close your eyes and then relax- your arms should be alongside your body.
              • Breathe.

              8. Spiraling movement

              This entails moving your pelvis in circular motions and moving your hips. These movements help to massage down the baby’s head onto the cervix.

              Also, these movements helps you keep your pelvis mobile and relaxed while loosening your muscles and ligaments.

              You may consider using a fitness ball to help in the movements.

              9. Child’s pose

                This is a resting pose. It helps to focus on your breath, breathe more deeply, and also it’s a good position to rest between labor contractions.[5]

                This is a great position that will help you find peace and promote a healthy and a happy pregnancy. It’s safe for all trimesters.

                Relax and move your knees apart, then rest your head on your fists, hand, or on the floor. You should avoid this position if your pubic symphysis is sore or open. Relax in this position, eyes closed.

                10. Chanting

                Making your own sounds during pregnancy and birth is a powerful way to regulate your breathing, it enables you to focus and relax as you deal with the pain that is associated with pregnancy and labor.

                Practicing voice sounds can help you open up and have an easier and more comfortable labor. You can do this as follows:

                • Sit comfortably.
                • Close your eyes.
                • Placing your index fingers on the lobes of your ears, take a deep breath.
                • Exhaling slowly, make gentle humming sounds.
                • Do this 5 to 10 times.
                • You can also do this while lying down with arms by the side of the body.

                11. Standing hip rotations

                  This moves will help strengthen your pelvis as well as relax.[6] You can do this as follows:

                  • Stand with feet wide apart but comfortable.
                  • Slightly bend your knees.
                  • Place your hands on your hips and rotate your hips.
                  • Try to keep your upper body still.
                  • Focus on rotating the hips and the belly.
                  • Inhale while moving your hips forward and exhale while moving them backward.
                  • Do this as many times as you wish.

                  12. Tree pose

                    This is a balancing technique. It helps strengthening your legs and core. It also improves posture and alleviates back pain. How to perform this pose:

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                    • Feet on the ground, shift your weight forward and backward until you gain balance.
                    • Shift your weight to one foot.
                    • You can also lift one of your foot to your ankle to gain balance.
                    • Bring the foot higher to your inner thigh.
                    • Put your hands in a prayer position.
                    • Hold this for 5 breaths.
                    • You can also raise the arms above your head.
                    • Repeat with the other leg.

                    This technique is safe for all stages during pregnancy.

                    13. Meditation

                    Over the years, meditation has been used to manage a lot of conditions such as depression, stress, anxiety, and much more.

                    During the last trimester of your pregnancy, meditation can help to move gracefully as you approach labor. It will help you ascertain a more peaceful state of mind by avoiding stress and anxiety especially if you are giving birth for the first time.

                    Develop the habit of practicing meditation on a daily basis.

                    Guidelines for pregnancy yoga

                    There are some poses, however, that you should avoid while pregnant. They include plank cross, locust pose, boat pose, plow pose, and much more. Consult with your doctor on the best exercises.

                    Here’re some guidelines you need to know before practicing yoga:

                    1. Do what feels right.

                    Starting yoga especially in your last trimester can be challenging while it’s really important in preparing both your mind and body for labor and pregnancy-related demands.

                    To avoid accidents or extreme positions, you should practice yoga poses with the guidance of a trained tutor.

                    When choosing which yoga poses to perform, listen to your body and do what you feel comfortable doing. Since all women do not have the same challenges and experience during pregnancy, avoid doing poses that your friends are doing if they don’t feel right to you.

                    2. Do fewer poses.

                    In case you are into physical exercises, it’s important to soften your training to avoid harming both your body and the health of the baby. Also, avoid long hours of training. You can talk to your doctor to guide you on the most convenient techniques to practice.

                    During pregnancy, your body tends to have higher temperatures and it may feel hotter than usual. It’s recommended to avoid practicing yoga in a heated environment. Perform these techniques in a suitable environment with fresh and adequate ventilation.

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                    3. Don’t get distracted.

                    Reduce distraction while practicing yoga. For instance, a telephone can interfere with proper meditation.

                    4. Stay comfortable.

                    Wear loose and comfortable clothing.

                    5. Do not eat before yoga.

                    Practice yoga on empty stomach. Most techniques are effective in the morning.

                    6. Always warm up for a few minutes.

                    You can walk around, loosen your joints, move your limbs and warm up your muscles.

                    7. Stay hydrated.

                    Make sure that you are well hydrated especially when practicing challenging and sweaty poses. Dehydration, especially during the last trimester of your pregnancy can have severe sequences such as false early labor or preterm labor.

                    Yoga techniques are the best kinds of workouts to try out during pregnancy. Especially if practiced together with mild exercises such as walking, it can help the expectant mother deal with both emotional and physical changes with ease.

                    Also, it will help mothers feel relaxed and stay in shape during the last trimester of pregnancy.

                    Featured photo credit: Pexels via pexels.com

                    Reference

                    More by this author

                    Deep Shikha

                    A passionate health blogger and founder of Healthifying World

                    12 Yoga Exercises for Beginners to Try at Home 8 Beginner Yoga Tips for Just About Anyone 13 Pregnancy Yoga Exercises for The Last Trimester 6 Compelling Reasons to Try Couples Yoga (And the Best Poses to Try)

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                    Last Updated on March 30, 2020

                    Why You’re Feeling Tired All the Time (And What to Do About It)

                    Why You’re Feeling Tired All the Time (And What to Do About It)

                    Feeling tired all the time?

                    Have you ever caught yourself nodding off when you’re watching TV, listening to someone drone on during a meeting or even driving a car?

                    I know I have, especially when I worked 70 hours per week as a High-Tech Executive.

                    Feeling tired all the time may be more widespread than you think. In fact, two-fifths of Americans are tired most of the week.[1]

                    If you’re tired of feeling tired, then I’ve got some great news for you. New research is helping us gain critical insights into the underlying causes of feeling tired all the time.

                    In this article, we’ll discuss the latest reasons why you’re feeling tired all the time and practical steps you can take to finally get to the bottom of your fatigue and feel rested.

                    What Happens When You’re Too Tired

                    If you sleep just two hours less than the normal eight hours, you could be as impaired as someone who has consumed up to three beers.[2] And you’ve probably experienced the impact yourself.

                    Here are some common examples of what happens when you’re feeling tired:[3]

                    • You may have trouble focusing because memory and learning functions may be impaired within your brain.
                    • You may experience mood swings and an inability to differentiate between what’s important and what’s not because your brain’s neurotransmitters are misfiring.
                    • You may get dark circles under your eyes and/or your skin make look dull and lackluster in the short term and over time your skin may get wrinkles and show signs of aging because your body didn’t have time to remove toxins during sleep.
                    • You may find it more difficult to exercise or to perform any type of athletic activity.
                    • Your immune system may weaken causing you to pick up infections more easily.
                    • You may overeat because not getting enough sleep activates the body’s endocannabinoids even when you’re not hungry.
                    • Your metabolism slows down so what you eat is more likely to be stored as belly fat.

                    Are you saying that feeling tired can make me overweight?

                    Unfortunately, yes!

                    Feeling tired all the time can cause you to put on the pounds especially around your waist. But it is a classic chicken and egg situation, too.

                    Heavier people are more likely to feel fatigued during the day than lighter ones. And that’s even true for overweight people who don’t have sleep apnea (source: National Institutes of Health).

                    Speaking of sleep apnea, you may be wondering if that or something else is causing you to feel tired all the time.

                    Why Are you Feeling Tired All the Time?

                    Leading experts are starting to recognize that there are three primary reasons people feel tired on a regular basis: sleep deprivation, fatigue and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS).

                    Here’s a quick overview of each root cause of feeling tired all of the time:

                    1. Tiredness occurs from sleep deprivation when you don’t get high-quality sleep consistently. It typically can be solved by changing your routine and getting enough deep restorative sleep.
                    2. Fatigue occurs from prolonged sleeplessness which could be triggered by numerous issues such as mental health issues, long-term illness, fibromyalgia, obesity, sleep apnea or stress. It typically can be improved by changing your lifestyle and using sleep aids or treatments, if recommended by your physician.
                    3. Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS) is a medical condition also known as Myalgic Encephalomyelitis that occurs from persistent exhaustion that doesn’t go away with sleep.

                    The exact cause of CFS is not known, but it may be due to problems with the immune system, a bacterial infection, a hormone imbalance or emotional trauma.

                    It typically involves working with a doctor to rule out other illnesses before diagnosing and treating CFS.[4]

                    Always consult a physician to get a personal diagnosis about why you are feeling tired, especially if it is a severe condition.

                    Feeling Tired vs Being Fatigued

                    If lack of quality sleep doesn’t seem to be the root cause for you, then it’s time to explore fatigue as the reason you are frequently feeling tired.

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                    Until recently, tiredness and fatigue were thought to be interchangeable. Leading experts now realize that tiredness and fatigue are different.

                    Tiredness is primarily about lack of sleep.

                    But fatigue is a perceived feeling of being tired that is much more likely to occur in people who have depression, anxiety or emotional stress and/or are overweight and physically inactive (source: Science Direct).

                    Symptoms of fatigue include:

                    • Difficulty concentrating
                    • Low stamina
                    • Difficulty sleeping
                    • Anxiety
                    • Low motivation

                    These symptoms may sound similar to those of tiredness but they usually last longer and are more intense.

                    Unfortunately, there is no definitive reason why fatigue occurs because it can be a symptom of an emotional or physical illness. But there are still a number of steps you can take to reduce difficult symptoms by making a few simple lifestyle changes.

                    How Much Sleep Is Enough?

                    The number one reason you may feel tired is because of sleep deprivation which means you are not getting enough high-quality sleep.

                    Most adults need 7 to 9 hours of high-quality, uninterrupted sleep per night. If you’re sleep deprived, the amount of sleep you need increases.

                    So, quantity and quality do matter when it comes to sleep.

                    The key to quality sleep is being able to get long, uninterrupted sleep cycles throughout the night. It typically takes 90 minutes for you to reach a state of deep REM sleep where your body’s healing crew goes to work.

                    Ideally, you want to get at least 3 to 4 deep REM sleep cycles in per night. That’s why it’s so important to stay asleep for 7 or more hours.

                    Research also shows that people who think they can get by on less sleep don’t perform as well as people who get at least seven hours of sleep a night[5] So, you should definitely plan on getting seven hours of deep restorative sleep every night.

                    If you are not getting 7 hours of high-quality sleep regularly, then sleep deprivation is most likely reason you feel tired all the time.

                    And that is good news because sleep deprivation is much simpler and easier to address than the other root causes.

                    It’s also a good idea to rule out sleep deprivation as the reason why you are tired before moving on to the other possibilities such as fatigue or Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, which may require a doctor for diagnosis and treatment.

                    4 Simple Changes to Reduce Fatigue

                    Personally, I’m a big believer in upgrading your lifestyle to uplift your life. I overcame chronic stress and exhaustion by making these four changes to my lifestyle:

                    1. Eating healthy, home-cooked meals versus microwaving processed foods or eating out
                    2. Exercising regularly
                    3. Using stressbusters
                    4. Creating a bedtime routine to sleep better

                    So, I know it is possible to change your lifestyle even when you’re working crazy hours and have lots of family responsibilities.

                    After I made the 4 simple changes in my lifestyle, I no longer felt exhausted all of the time.

                    In addition, I lost two inches off my waist and looked and felt better than ever.

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                    I was so excited that I wanted to help others replace stress and exhaustion with rest and well-being, too. That’s why I became a Certified Holistic Wellness Coach through the Dr. Sears Wellness Institute.

                    Interestingly enough, I discovered that Dr. Sears recommends a somewhat similar L.E.A.N. lifestyle:

                    • L is for Lifestyle and means living healthy including getting enough sleep.
                    • E is for Exercise and means getting at least 20 minutes of exercise a day ideally for six days a week.
                    • A is for Attitude and means thinking positive and reducing stress whenever possible.
                    • N is for Nutrition and means emphasizing a right-fat diet, not a low-fat diet.

                    The L.E.A.N. lifestyle is a scientifically-proven way to reduce fatigue, get to the optimal weight and to achieve overall wellness.[6]

                    And yes, there does seem to be an important correlation between being lean and feeling rested.

                    But overall based on my personal experience and Dr. Sear’s scientific proof, the key to not feeling tired all of the time does seem to be 4 simple changes to your lifestyle.

                    L — Living Healthy

                    Getting enough high-quality sleep every day is the surefire way to help you feel less fatigued, more rested and better overall.

                    So, whether you’re sleep deprived or potentially suffering from fatigue or Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, you probably want to find a way to sleep better.

                    In fact, if you aren’t getting enough sleep, your body isn’t getting the time it needs to repair itself; meaning that if you are suffering from an illness, it’s far more likely to linger.

                    As unlikely as it sounds, though, fatigue can sometimes make it difficult to sleep. That’s why I’d recommend taking a look at your bedtime routine before you go to bed and optimize it based on sleep best practices.

                    Here are 3 quick and easy tips for creating a pro-sleep bedtime routine:

                    1. Unplug

                    Many of us try to unwind by watching TV or doing something on an iPhone or tablet. But tech can affect your melatonin production due to the blue light that they emit, fooling your body into thinking it’s still daytime.

                    So turn off all tech one hour before bed and create a tech-free zone in your bedroom.

                    2. Unwind

                    Do something to relax.

                    Use the time before bed to do something you find relaxing such as reading a book, listening to soothing music, meditating or taking an Epsom salt bath.

                    3. Get Comfortable

                    Ensure your bed is comfortable and your room is set up for sleep.

                    Make sure you room is cool. 60-68 degrees is the ideal temperature for most people to sleep.

                    Also, it’s ideal if your bedroom is dark and there is no noise.

                    Finally, make sure everything is handled (e.g., laying out tomorrow’s clothes) before you get into your nice, comfy bed.

                    If your mind is still active, write a to-do list to help you fall asleep faster.[7]

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                    Above all, be gentle with yourself and count your blessings, some sheep or whatever helps.

                    This article also offers practical tips to build a bedtime routine: How to Build a Good Bedtime Routine That Makes Your Morning Easier

                    E — Exercise

                    Many people know that exercise is good for them, but just can’t figure out how to fit it into their busy schedules.

                    That’s what happened in my case.

                    But when my chronic stress and exhaustion turned into systemic inflammation (which can lead to major diseases like Alzheimer’s), I realized it was time to change my lifestyle.

                    As part of my lifestyle upgrade, I knew I needed to move more.

                    My friends who exercise all gave me the same advice: find an exercise you like to do and find a specific time in your schedule when you can consistently do it.

                    That made sense to me.

                    So, I decided to swim.

                    I used to love to swim when I was young, but I hadn’t done it for years. The best time for me to do it was immediately after work, since I could easily get an open swim lane at my local fitness club then.

                    Also, swimming became a nice reason for me to leave work on time. And I got to enjoy a nice workout before eating dinner.

                    Swimming is a good way to get your cardio or endurance training. But, walking, running and dancing are nice alternatives.

                    So find an exercise you love and stick to it. Ideally, get a combination of endurance training, strength training and flexibility training in during your daily 20-minute workout.

                    If you haven’t exercised in a while and have a lot of stress in your life, you may want to give yoga a try because you will increase your flexibility and lower your stress.

                    A — Attitude

                    Stress may be a major reason why you aren’t feeling well all of the time. At least that was the case with me.

                    When I worked 70 hours per week as a High-Tech Executive, I felt chronically stressed and exhausted. But there was one thing that always worked to help me feel calmer and less fatigued.

                    Do you want to know what that master stress-busting technique was?

                    Breathing.

                    But not just any old breathing. It was a special form of deep Yogic breathing called the “Long-Exhale Breathing” or “4-7-8 breathing” or “Pranayama” in Sanskrit).

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                    Here’s how you do “Long-Exhale Breathing”:

                    1. Sit in a comfortable position with your spine straight and your hand on your tummy (so you know you are breathing deeply from your diaphragm and not shallowly from your chest)
                    2. Breathe in deeply and slowly from your diaphragm with your mouth closed while you count to 4 (ideally until your stomach feels full of air)
                    3. Hold your breath while you count to 7 mentally and enjoy the stillness
                    4. Breathe out through your mouth with a “ha” sound while you count to 8 (or until your stomach has no more air in it)
                    5. Pause after you finish your exhale while you notice the sense of wholeness and relaxation from completing one conscious, deep, long exhale breath
                    6. Repeat 3 times ensuring your exhale is longer than your inhale so you relax your nervous system

                    This type of “long-exhale breathing” is scientifically proven to reduce stress.

                    When your exhale is twice as long as your inhale, it soothes your parasympathetic nervous system, which regulates the relaxation response.[8]

                    Plus, this is a great technique for helping you get to sleep, too.

                    N — Nutrition

                    Diet is vital for beating fatigue – after all, food is your main source of energy.

                    If your diet is poor, then it implies you’re not getting the nutrients you need to sustain healthy energy levels.

                    Eating a diet for fatigue doesn’t need to be complicated, time-consuming though.

                    For most people, it’s just a case of swapping a few unhealthy foods for a few healthier ones, like switching from low-fiber, processed foods to whole, high-fiber foods.

                    Unless your current diet is solely made up of fast food and ready meals, adjusting to a fatigue-fighting diet shouldn’t be too much of a shock to the system.

                    Here’re 9 simple diet swaps you can make today:

                    1. Replace your morning coffee with Matcha green tea and drink only herbal tea within six hours of bedtime.
                    2. Add a healthy fat or protein to your any carb you eat, especially if you eat before bed. Please note that carb-only snacks lead to blood-sugar crashes that can make you eat more and they can keep you from sleeping.
                    3. Fill up with fiber especially green leafy vegetables. Strive to get at least 25g per day with at least 5 servings (a serving is the size of your fist) of green vegetables.
                    4. Replace refined, processed, low-fiber pastas and grains with zucchini noodles and whole grains such as buckwheat, quinoa, sorghum, oats, amaranth, millet, teff, brown rice and corn.
                    5. Swap natural sweeteners for refined sugars and try to ensure you don’t get more than 25g of sugar a day if you are a woman and 30g of sugar a day if you are a man.
                    6. Replace ice cream with low-sugar alternatives such as So Delicious Dairy-Free Vanilla Bean Coconut Ice Cream.
                    7. Swap omega-6, partially-hydrogenated oils such as corn, palm, sunflower, safflower, cotton, canola and soybean oil for omega-3 oils such as flax, olive and nut oils.
                    8. Replace high-sugar yoghurts with low-sugar, dairy-free yoghurts such as Kite Hill Plain Yoghurt with 1g sugar or Lifeway Farmer Cheese with 0g sugar.
                    9. Swap your sugar-laden soda for sparkling water with a splash of low-sugar juice

                    Also, ensure your diet is giving you enough of the daily essential vitamins and minerals. Most of us don’t get enough Vitamin D, Vitamin B-12, Calcium, Iron and Magnesium. If you are low on any of the above vitamins and minerals, you may experience fatigue and low energy.

                    That’s why it’s always worth having your doctor check your levels. If you find any of them are low, then try to eat foods rich in them.

                    Alternatively, you might consider a high-quality multi-vitamin or specific supplement.

                    The Bottom Line

                    If you are tired of feeling tired, then there is tremendous hope.

                    If you are tired because you are not getting enough high-quality sleep, then the best remedy is a bedtime routine based on sleep best practices.

                    If you are tired because you have stress and fatigue, then the best remedy are four simple lifestyle changes including:

                    • Enough High-Quality Sleep with Bedtime Routine
                    • Regular Exercise You Love
                    • Stress Reduction with Long-Exhale Breathing
                    • Fatigue-Reducing Diet

                    Overall, adopting a healthier lifestyle Is the ideal remedy for feeling more rested and energized.

                    More Tips to Help You Rest Better

                    Featured photo credit: Cris Saur via unsplash.com

                    Reference

                    [1] YouGov: Two-fifths of Americans are tired most of the week
                    [2] National Safety Council: Is Your Company Confronting Workplace Fatigue?
                    [3] The New York Times: Why Are We So Freaking Tired?
                    [4] Mayo Clinic: Chronic fatigue syndrome
                    [5] Mayo Clinic: Lack of sleep: Can it make you sick?
                    [6] Ask Dr. Sears: The L.E.A.N. Lifestyle
                    [7] American Psychological Association: Getting a Good Night’s Sleep
                    [8] Yoga International: Learning to Exhale: 2-to-1 Breathing

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