Monitor your heart rate during late-term pregnancy exercise.
By 36 weeks, you are nearing the end of the pregnancy road. As your body prepares for birth, you might feel more like putting your feet up and waiting rather than keeping up with an exercise program. But staying active in the final days of pregnancy, with permission from your doctor, can help you prepare both physically and mentally for the big event. The right exercise at the right time keeps you and your baby healthy. Check with your doctor before starting any new exercise routine when you're pregnant.
Low-impact exercises can help relieve back pain and keep you mobile at the end of pregnancy. However, check with your doctor first to be sure it is safe for you.
When pregnant, your blood volume increases by almost 50 percent compared to that of non-pregnant women, says the National Institutes of Health. This means your heart needs to work a little harder than normal during a healthy pregnancy. Continuing with low-impact cardiovascular activities, such as walking, swimming and aerobics classes designed for pregnancy, at 36 weeks and beyond helps keep your heart ready for the birth of your baby. Balance becomes an issue during these final weeks, so consider walking on a treadmill while lightly grasping the handles or using a walking stick while outside to steady yourself and reduce the risk of falling.
Yoga for the Home Stretch
Stretching during the final weeks of pregnancy takes pressure off your lower back, which can become a problem as you approach delivery. Consider yoga classes specifically designed with pregnant women in mind. The American Pregnancy Association recommends yoga as a way to relieve stress and pressure throughout the body, which is good for both you and your baby. Choose yoga classes throughout pregnancy - but especially at 36 weeks and beyond - that are not excessively rigorous and avoid lying flat on your back for extended periods of time or twisting your abdomen.
Keep Up with Kegels
Kegel exercises are appropriate throughout pregnancy, and especially from 36 weeks and beyond. Strengthening these muscles during pregnancy can help you better control them during labor and delivery. Kegel exercises also help reduce bladder leaks and hemorrhoids, which are both common during your last trimester. Doing Kegel exercises during the last few weeks of pregnancy and after delivery will speed up the perineal healing process and help you regain your before-pregnancy bladder control. Babycenter suggests starting with 10 Kegels several times a day and working up to three or four sets of 10 three times each day.
Enjoy the Water
According to the American Pregnancy Association, many health care providers view swimming as the safest exercise for pregnant women. Swimming offers a total body workout that provides toning, stretching and cardiovascular training without adding weight or stress to the joints. It also eliminates the risk of falling, especially at 36 weeks and beyond when balance becomes an issue.