If you’re short on time, here is a little program that you can do anywhere, and it is safe to continue throughout your whole pregnancy. Hello strong muscles!
Squats are just the best. You strengthen the largest muscle group in your body, your quadriceps, which are the muscles at the front of your thighs. And your bum muscles, your glutes, and your hamstrings, at the back of your thighs, are targeted too!
Developing strength in these muscles is important, as you will likely be doing so much more lifting when bubs arrives. I know that before I had a baby, I used to think carrying 2L of milk home from the supermarket was heavy. Boy! I never thought I would get used to carrying around a 4kg little nugget for most of the day.
As your kids get bigger (and heavier) a good lifting technique and strong muscles becomes even more important.
If you can get used to lifting using the strength from your leg muscles rather than putting all the pressure on your back, your lower back will thank you.
Aim for 20 squats, and do 2 sets.
Strong arms are another necessity for mums. The amount of stuff you carry around with you, especially in the early days, means that unless you have a helper everywhere you go, you’ll need strong arms.
The baby capsule, the nappy bag, the baby – these guys are heavy.
Using a 1-2kg dumbbell (or a couple of full water bottles) aim for 20 reps, and do 2 sets.
Your lower back is under extra pressure as your baby grows.
As your bump develops, your centre of gravity moves forward and your lower back curve becomes a little more pronounced, which can create some stiffness in your lumbar spine. This lovely stretch will help to keep your joints mobile, and feels great.
On all fours, push your hands down into the floor and stretch out between your shoulder blades as you tuck your tailbone under, relax your head, and look down between your thighs. Hold for 3 breaths.
Then slowly and smoothly come back to the starting position.
Repeat 5 times.
(We don’t do the “Cow” bit of the stretch, where you look up and dip your spine into an arch the opposite way, as this can put a bit too much pressure on your lower back).
All that extra blood volume circulating during pregnancy can result in some swelling around the ankles – or cankles!! Awesome, said no-one ever.
Calf raises are a simple exercise to help with balance, ankle stability and calf muscle strength.
Stand with feet hip width apart, rise up onto tip toes and reach your arms up, slowly lower your heels to the floor.
Repeat 20 times.
These little muscles have a big job to do during pregnancy. Aside from their normal functions, supporting your bladder and bowel, they also support the weight of your expanding uterus. These muscles have to cope with extra pressure on them, and as your baby grows, the pressure increases!
So it is an important time to pay attention to these precious muscles.
Sit comfortably, close your eyes, and focus your attention on your pelvic floor muscles. Slowly tighten around your back passage and vagina, drawing the pelvic floor muscles up and forward. Hold for 3-5 seconds, then release.
Repeat 5-10 reps, making sure you rest for a few seconds between each squeeze.
So there you have it, some simple, effective exercises that will keep you feeling strong throughout your pregnancy.
Get into the habit of practicing these every day, and your body will thank you for it.