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Published on July 13, 2018

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

                    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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                    Published on November 14, 2018

                    Why You Suffer from Constant Fatigue and How to Deal with It

                    Why You Suffer from Constant Fatigue and How to Deal with It

                    With our busy, always on lives, it seems that more and more of us are facing constant tiredness and fatigue on a regular basis.

                    For many people, they just take this in their stride as part of modern life, but for others the impact can be crippling and can have a serious effect on their sense of wellbeing, health and productivity.

                    In this article, I’ll share some of the most common causes of constant tiredness and fatigue and give you some guidance and action steps you can take to overcome some of the symptoms of fatigue.

                    Why Am I Feeling Fatigued?

                    Fatigue is extreme tiredness resulting from mental or physical exertion or illness.  It is a reduction in the efficiency of a muscle or organ after prolonged activity.[1]

                    It can affect anyone, and most adults will experience fatigue at some point in their life. 

                    For many people, fatigue is caused by a combination of lifestyle, social, psychological and general wellbeing issues rather than an underlying medical condition.

                    Although fatigue is sometimes described as tiredness, it is different to just feeling tired or sleepy. Everyone feels tired at some point, but this is usually resolved with a nap or a few nights of good sleep. Someone who is sleepy may also feel temporarily refreshed after exercising. If you are getting enough sleep, good nutrition and exercising regularly but still find it hard to perform, concentrate or be motivated at your normal levels, you may be experiencing a level of fatigue that needs further investigation. 

                    Symptoms of Fatigue

                    Fatigue can cause a vast range of physical, mental and emotional symptoms including:

                    • chronic tiredness, exhaustion or sleepiness
                    • mental blocks
                    • lack of motivation
                    • headache
                    • dizziness
                    • muscle weakness
                    • slowed reflexes and responses
                    • impaired decision-making and judgement
                    • moodiness, such as irritability
                    • impaired hand-to-eye coordination
                    • reduced immune system function
                    • blurry vision
                    • short-term memory problems
                    • poor concentration
                    • reduced ability to pay attention to the situation at hand

                    Causes of Fatigue

                    The wide range of causes that can trigger fatigue include:

                    • Medical causes: Constant exhaustion, tiredness and fatigue may be a sign of an underlying illness, such as a thyroid disorder, heart disease, anemia or diabetes.
                    • Lifestyle-related causes: Being overweight and a lack of regular exercise can lead to feelings of fatigue.  Lack of sleep and overcommitting can also create feelings of excessive tiredness and fatigue.
                    • Workplace-related causes: Workplace and financial stress in a variety of forms can lead to feelings of fatigue.
                    • Emotional concerns and stress: Fatigue is a common symptom of mental health problems, such as depression and grief, and may be accompanied by other signs and symptoms, including irritability and lack of motivation.

                    Fatigue can also be caused by a number of factors working in combination.

                    Medical Causes of Fatigue

                    If you have made lifestyle changes to increase your energy and still feel exhausted and fatigued, it may be time to seek guidance from your doctor.

                    Here are a few examples of illnesses that can cause ongoing fatigue. Seek medical advice if you suspect you have a health problem:

                    Anemia

                    Anemia is a condition in which you don’t have enough healthy red blood cells to carry adequate oxygen to the body’s tissues. It is a common cause of fatigue in women.

                    Having anemia may make you feel tired and weak.

                    There are many forms of anemia, each with its own cause. Anemia can be temporary or long term, and it can range from mild to severe.[2]

                    Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS)

                    Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS) is a condition that can cause persistent, unexplained fatigue that interferes with daily activities for more than six months.

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                    This is a chronic condition with no one-size-fits-all treatment, but lifestyle changes can often help ease some symptoms of fatigue.[3]

                    Diabetes

                    Diabetes can cause fatigue with either high or low blood sugars. When your sugars are high, they remain in the bloodstream instead of being used for energy, which makes you feel fatigued. Low blood sugar (glucose) means you may not have enough fuel for energy, also causing fatigue.[4]

                    Sleep Apnea

                    Sleep apnea is a serious sleep disorder where sufferers briefly stop breathing for short periods during sleep. Most people are not aware this is happening, but it can cause loud snoring, and daytime fatigue.

                    Being overweight, smoking, and drinking alcohol can all worsen the symptoms of sleep apnea.[5]

                    Thyroid disease

                    An underactive thyroid gland means you have too little thyroid hormone (thyroxine) in your body. This makes you feel tired and you could also put on weight and have aching muscles and dry skin.[6]

                    Common lifestyle factors that can cause fatigue include:

                    • Lack of sleep
                    • Too much sleep 
                    • Alcohol and drugs 
                    • Sleep disturbances 
                    • Lack of regular exercise and sedentary behaviour 
                    • Poor diet 

                    Common workplace issues that can cause fatigue include:

                    • Shift work: Our body is designed to sleep during the night. A shift worker may confuse their circadian clock by working when their body is programmed to be asleep.
                    • Poor workplace practices: This may include long work hours, hard physical labour, irregular working hours (such as rotating shifts), a stressful work environment, boredom or working alone. 
                    • Workplace stress – This can be caused by a wide range of factors including job dissatisfaction, heavy workload, conflicts with bosses or colleagues, bullying, or threats to job security.
                    • Burnout: This could be striving too hard on one area of your life while neglecting others, which leads to a life that feels out of balance.

                    Psychological Causes of Fatigue

                    Psychological factors are present in many cases of extreme tiredness and fatigue.  These may include:

                    • Depression: Depression is characterised by severe and prolonged feelings of sadness, dejection and hopelessness. People who are depressed commonly experience chronic fatigue.
                    • Anxiety and stress: Someone who is constantly anxious or stressed keeps their body in overdrive. The constant flooding of adrenaline exhausts the body, and fatigue sets in.
                    • Grief: Losing a loved one causes a wide range of emotions including shock, guilt, depression, despair and loneliness.

                    How to Tackle Constant Fatigue

                    Here are 12 ways you can start tackling the causes of fatigue and start feeling more energetic.

                    1. Tell The Truth

                    Some people can numb themselves to the fact that they are overtired or fatigued all the time. In the long run, this won’t help you.

                    To give you the best chance to overcome or eliminate fatigue, you must diagnose and tell the truth about the things that are draining your energy, making you tired or causing constant fatigue.

                    Once you’re honest with yourself about the activities you’re doing in your life that you find irritating, energy-draining, and make you tired on a regular basis you can make a commitment to stop doing them.

                    The help that you need to overcome fatigue is available to you, but not until you tell the truth about it. The first person you have to sell on getting rid of the causes of fatigue is yourself.

                    One starting point is to diagnose the symptoms. When you start feeling stressed, overtired or just not operating at your normal energy levels make a note of:

                    • How you feel
                    • What time of day it is
                    • What may have contributed to your fatigue
                    • How your mind and body reacts

                    This analysis may help you identify, understand and then eliminate very specific causes.

                    2. Reduce Your Commitments

                    When we have too many things on our plate personally and professionally, we can feel overstretched, causing physical and mental fatigue.

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                    If you have committed to things you really don’t want to do, this causes irritability and low emotional engagement. Stack these up throughout your day and week, then your stress levels will rise.

                    When these commitments have deadlines associated with them, you may be trying to cram in far too much in a short period of time.  This creates more stress and can affect your decision making ability.

                    Start being realistic about how much you can get done. Either reduce the commitments you have or give yourself more time to complete them in.

                    3. Get Clear On Your Priorities

                    If working on your list of to-do’s or goals becomes too overwhelming, start reducing and prioritizing the things that matter most.

                    Start with prioritizing just 3 things every day. When you complete those 3 things, you’ll get a rush of energy and your confidence will grow.

                    If you’re trying to juggle too many things and are multi-tasking, your energy levels will drop and you’ll struggle to maintain focus.

                    Unfinished projects can make you self-critical and feel guilty which drops energy levels further, creating inaction.

                    Make a list of your 3 MIT (Most Important Tasks) for the next day before you go to bed. This will stop you overcommitting and get you excited about what the next day can bring.

                    4. Express More Gratitude

                    Gratitude and confidence are heavily linked. Just being thankful for what you have and what you’ve achieved increases confidence and makes you feel more optimistic.

                    It can help you improve your sense of wellbeing, which can bring on feelings of joy and enthusiasm.

                    Try starting a gratitude journal or just note down 3 things you’re grateful for every day.

                    5. Focus On Yourself

                    Exhaustion and fatigue can arrive by focusing solely on other people’s needs all the time, rather than worrying about and focusing on what you need (and want).

                    There are work commitments, family commitments, social commitments. You may start with the best intentions, to put in your best performance at work, to be an amazing parent and friend, to simply help others.

                    But sometimes, we extend ourselves too much and go beyond our personal limits to help others. That’s when constant exhaustion can creep up on us.  Which can make us more fatigued.

                    We all want to help and do our best for others, but there needs to be some balance. We also need to take some time out just for ourselves to recharge and rejuvenate.

                    6. Set Aside Rest and Recovery Time

                    Whether it’s a couple of hours, a day off, a mini-break or a proper holiday, time off is essential to help us recover, recharge and refocus.

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                    Recovery time helps fend off mental fatigue and allows us to simply kick back and relax.

                    The key here, though, is to remove ourselves from the daily challenges that bring on tiredness and fatigue. Here’s how.

                    Can you free yourself up completely from work and personal obligations to just rest and recover?

                    7. Take a Power Nap

                    When you’re feeling tired or fatigued and you have the ability to take a quick 20-minute nap, it could make a big difference to your performance for the rest of the day.

                    Napping can improve learning, memory and boost your energy levels quickly.

                    This article on the benefit of napping is a useful place to start if you want to learn more: How a 20-Minute Nap at Work Makes You Awake and Productive the Whole Day

                    8. Take More Exercise

                    The simple act of introducing some form of physical activity into your day can make a huge difference. It can boost energy levels, make you feel much better about yourself and can help you avoid fatigue.

                    Find something that fits into your life, be that walking, going to the gym, running or swimming. 

                    The key is to ensure the exercise is regular and that you are emotionally engaged and committed to stick with it.

                    You could also walk more which will help clear your head and shift your focus away from stressful thoughts.

                    9. Get More Quality Sleep

                    To avoid tiredness, exhaustion and fatigue, getting enough quality sleep matters. 

                    Your body needs sleep to recharge.  Getting the right amount of sleep every night can improve your health, reduce stress levels and help us improve our memory and learning skills.

                    My previous article on The Benefits of Sleep You Need to Know will give you some action steps to start improving your sleep. 

                    10. Improve Your Diet

                    Heavy or fatty meals can make you feel sluggish and tired, whilst some foods or eating strategies do just the opposite.

                    Our always on lives have us reaching for sweets or other sugary snacks to give us a burst of energy to keep going. Unfortunately, that boost fades quickly which can leave you feeling depleted and wanting more.

                    On the other hand, whole grains and healthy unsaturated fats supply the reserves you can draw on throughout the day.

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                    To keep energy up and steady, it’s a good idea to limit refined sugar and starches.

                    Eating small meals and healthy snacks every few hours throughout the day provides a steady supply of nutrients to body and brain. It’s also important not to skip breakfast.

                    Eating a balanced diet helps keep your blood sugar in a normal range and prevents that sluggish feeling when your blood sugar drops.

                    11. Manage Your Stress Levels

                    Stress is one of the leading causes of exhaustion and fatigue, and can seriously affect your health.

                    When you have increased levels of stress at work and at home, it’s easy to feel exhausted all the time. 

                    Identifying the causes of stress and then tackling the problems should be a priority. 

                    My article on How to Help Anxiety When Life is Stressing You Out shares 16 strategies you can use to overcome stress.

                    12. Get Hydrated

                    Sometimes we can be so busy that we forget to keep ourselves fully hydrated.

                    Water makes up about 60 percent of your body weight and is essential in maintaining our body’s basic functions.

                    If we don’t have enough water, it can adversely affect our mental and physical performance, which leads to tiredness and fatigue.

                    The recommended daily amount is around two litres a day, so to stay well hydrated keep a water bottle with you as much as possible.

                    The Bottom Line

                    These 12 tips can help you reduce your tiredness and feeling of fatigue.  Some will work better than others as we are all different, whilst others can be incorporated together in your daily life.

                    If you’ve tried to make positive changes to reduce fatigue and you still feel tired and exhausted, it may be time to consider making an appointment with your doctor to discuss your condition.

                    Featured photo credit: Annie Spratt via unsplash.com

                    Reference

                    [1]Oxford English Dictionary: Definition of fatigue
                    [2]NHS Choices: 10 Reasons for feeling tired
                    [3]Verywellhealth: What is chronic fatigue syndrome
                    [4]Everyday Health: Why does type 2 diabetes make you feel tired
                    [5]Mayo Clinic: Sleep apnea
                    [6]Harvard Health: The lowdown on thyroid slowdown

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