Continuing to exercise in late pregnancy will help to maintain postural stability and keep you strong after the baby's born. If you have been doing moderate to high-impact exercise throughout your pregnancy, it is probably not going to be a problem to continue your exercise program, with some modifications, through the end of your pregnancy. Discuss your exercise plan with your medical provider if you have questions or concerns, especially the farther along you get in your pregnancy.
Always consult with your medical provider before beginning or continuing an exercise program and follow their orders. Cooling down and warming up with a low-resistance exercise will help you avoid injury. Working out through the end of pregnancy is generally safe and has many benefits.
If you have been exercising throughout your pregnancy, try not to quit toward the end. According to Dr. James F. Clapp III, author of "Exercising Through Your Pregnancy," continue to exercise through the end of your pregnancy to get the maximum benefits during labor and after delivery. Exercise will help to increase circulation, and therefore energy, improve sleep, decrease weight gain and relieve stress and anxiety -- all welcome benefits in late pregnancy. It can also help to combat postpartum depression and facilitate weight loss after pregnancy. Exercise can also lead to an easier, shorter labor with fewer complications.
Types of Exercise
You should be able to perform the same exercises at 37 weeks that you did earlier in your pregnancy -- with some modifications. Focus on bringing your belly button toward your spine, and switch to standing pelvic tilts or lying on your side during abdominal exercises, rather than lying on your back. Yoga and pilates offer low-impact exercise options that will still allow for strength training. Swimming is another option as the water takes the stress off of the joints, making exercise more comfortable for some women.
A wall plie is an exercise to keep your legs and abdominal muscles strong. Stand facing a wall, with your feet a little more than hip-width apart and place your hands on the wall. Your should be standing straight up and be able to comfortably reach the wall with your arms straight in front of you. Tilt your hips so that the tailbone points down, bend your knees and lower your torso toward the floor. Straighten the legs, pressing up through the heels. Repeat for two sets of 10 to 12 repetitions, resting about a minute between sets. Wall pushups are ideal for toning the arms. Stand facing the wall with your feet hip-width apart and about a foot away from the wall. Place your hands on the wall with your arms straight. Pull your bellybutton toward your spine and bend your elbows, bringing your chest toward the wall. Push back and repeat 10 to 12 times. Do one or two sets, resting between sets.
Continue exercising for 30 minutes a day if you have the energy. If it helps, take three 10-minute walks spread out over the day instead of one 30-minute walk. Decrease the intensity of your workouts and listen to your body. If a move is uncomfortable, makes you feel dizzy or causes discomfort, take a break.