Pregnancy is such a special time as you are doing what seems almost imaginable, you are growing another human being inside you. During this time you may be tempted to spend most of your downtime relaxing on the couch and not pursuing physically activities. However, there are countless benefits for both mom and baby to maintain a fitness routine through pregnancy (once approved by your doctor). Staying active throughout pregnancy will decrease many of the common aches and pains that come along with pregnancy. It will allow you to sleep better at night, increase your blood circulation reducing swelling and the likelihood of varicose veins, and it helps increase your energy levels as you are in a consistent battle with pregnancy fatigue. The best part of maintaining a fitness routine throughout your pregnancy is the fact you will feel more confident and in control of your ever growing body.
Below are my 5 favorite pregnancy exercises than can be done every trimester of pregnancy.
- Sumo Squats – To perform a sumo squat, stand with your feet significantly wider than hip-distance apart, turn your toes out 45 degrees and hold your hands to your chest. Lower yourself down by bending your knees and hips, extending your hands out front. Keep your abs tight, back straight and do not let your knees move past your toes when lowering. The weight should remain in your heels. Once your thighs are parallel the floor, root through your heels and rise back up steadily for one rep. Complete 20 reps
2. Side Plank – Side planks are safe throughout each trimester of pregnancy. They are a great core strengthener and do not increase your risk of diastasis recti. Lie on your right side, in a straight line from head to feet, resting on your forearm. Your elbow should be directly under your shoulder. With your abdominals gently contracted, lift your hips off the floor, maintaining the line. Another reason I love side planks are because of the endless variations you can do with them. If you are feeling strong try lifting your top leg and holding the position for 30 seconds. Repeat on the other side.
3. Tricep Dips on the Floor – To get into the correct starting position sit down on the ground with your legs slightly bent. Place your feet flat on the ground. Support your body by placing the hands behind your back the elbows point backwards, the fingertips are pointed towards your body. Keeping the back straight push through the arms until your bottom is off the ground. Your starting position should resemble a reverse table top. To complete the exercise slowly bend at the elbow, ensuring your elbows do not flare out. When bending your arms your bottom should remain off the ground, the range of motion is small. Push your body back up again by straightening your elbows. Complete 15 reps
4. Stepping Lunges – This is an excellent exercise because it helps to strengthen the all of the major muscles of the lower body, which will bare the most of the extra weight as your belly grows. To begin stand with your feet next to each other. Your feet should be about hip width apart. Take a large step forward with your left foot. Be careful not to place your left foot directly in front of your right foot in order to maintain balance. Lower your body by bending at the knees. Make sure your front knee does not go past your front toes. It is important to keep your torso upright (perpendicular to the floor), and lower your hips and shoulders straight down. Avoid rocking forward. Lower yourself until your front thigh is parallel to the floor. Your back knee should not touch the floor. Exhale as you return to the Start Position. The majority of your weight should be on your front heel as you press directly into the floor with your front foot to return to the Start Position. Repeat with your right foot forward. Complete 15 lunges on each side
5. Birthing Squat – Prenatal Birthing Squat is an excellent position to release the pelvic ligaments and concentrate on the downward force to release. Opening the hips is a great way to prepare and help through delivery of your baby. Hold for 1 minute.
Remember every pregnancy is different and every day of pregnancy is different. The most important thing is to listen to your body. No one knows your body like you. Stay strong momma! Tell me what your favorite pregnancy exercise is in the comments below.
For more pregnancy exercises and workouts find me on YouTube!