If you ask your doctor “What is the best thing I can do?” I bet you he will say to exercise. Ask him the next time you see him and prove me right. It is the BEST thing you can do for yourself, your baby, for your pregnancy, and likely your delivery.
It makes you and your baby stronger, healthier, lower your blood pressure, easier delivery, SHORTER delivery . . . Need I continue?
Easy Pregnancy Exercises – The Benefits
I don’t need to repeat them. So just think of what exercise will do for your baby.
“Okay, I don’t need the lecture. So how am I supposed to exercise when it’s already SO hard for me, let alone that I’m pregnant?” you’re probably thinking. I get it.
Maybe you’re in your first trimester and you’re still puking everyday. So the very idea makes you feel sick. Or your belly is starting to get in your way and the thought of sloshing it around isn’t becoming. Or you’re already so big that your back pain persuades you from doing anything but rest. (Combat that pain with an Upsie Band.) I get it.
But just TRUST me. No matter how you feel, try these very basic exercises for a week and then tell me how you feel.
I promise you will feel better
Start with one exercise and add another the next day, building up to get all of these going.
If you’d rather walk through an instruction video with exercises, Mama Natural does an awesome job showing what you can do:
These are the muscles in your pelvic floor right that control your urinary, vaginal, and rectal areas. When you’re using the bathroom, these relax in order for you to urinate or excrete.
- Next time you’re in the bathroom, stop your urine mid-flow–THOSE are the muscles I’m talking about. Once you can feel where they are, you can easily contract and relax them at any time.
This is the EASIEST exercise because you can do them when you’re sitting, standing, wherever, and NO ONE knows you’re doing them.
- It doesn’t really matter how many repetitions you do per day, just pick a time during your day and try to do them consistently for at least 10 minutes, holding for a second or two, over and over.
- I would always do kegels while I was commuting to work and back, which would add up to about an hour total of my day. EASY!!
- It decreases the urinary incontinence you will unfortunately get while pregnant. It doesn’t eliminate those accidental trickles, but it certainly reduces them.
- Your pelvis is stronger to hold all that baby weight.
- You’re less likely to tear your perineum during birth.
- You can push that baby out better during delivery.
Now there is a wrong way to do squats and a right way to do squats. I actually did them wrong my entire first pregnancy. So I don’t want you to make that mistake.
- Stand in front of a chair. Then stick your butt way out behind you as if you’re going to sit down on the chair–but DON’T fully sit in the chair, just hover above it. Keep your shoulders back and your head up, but let your waist bend as much as you need. Squeeze your thigh and butt muscles in order to hold you up.
It’s okay to hold onto a railing or table until you get the feel for them.
- Don’t let your knees move farther forward than your feet. They can certainly bend and shift forward a bit, but keep them above your feet best you can.
- It’s okay to widen your feet placement until you get stronger. The closer together your feet, the stronger you will become.
- Do these ALL THE TIME !
Now I don’t mean constantly, I just mean in all of your everyday movements. Dr. Bradley teaches that you should never bend, but ALWAYS squat. Bending will over-strain your back, another reason for your back pain.
- Check out this post for TONS of ideas on how to implement them in your everyday life.
You can gradually sit all the way down so that your bum is pretty much touching the floor in order to rest a little bit. But you may fall over a few times.
- Your back, pelvic and legs muscles will all be stronger to carry that baby.
- Your delivery will be EASIER and FASTER. Enough said.
Any questions? You can read more about them here.
Growing up, I knew this as sitting indian-style, or cross-legged.
- Sitting on the floor, knees facing outward, feet in the center, one foot tucked under the other–it’s how little kids sit down on the floor all the time.
Do this as much as possible, keeping your legs spread open as you sit as often as you can. I know it might not seem very lady-like or attractive, but you’ll thank me later. I would take my shoes off at work so that it was easier for me to cross my legs as I sat in my work chair. If I was at church, I was try to just tuck one foot underneath my bum. (And really, no one will say anything because you’re pregnant 🙂 )
I know that for the first few days your knees will be a little sore. This is because they’re stretching in a way that you probably haven’t done much of in a long time. But it will go away and your benefit will be far greater than a little knee pain.
- DON’T EVER sit traditionally with your legs crossed one over the other!! This is the exact OPPOSITE of what you want. This will cause you more pain because you’re making your pelvis close up when it’s trying to relax and open.
- How to do it more often? Sit on the floor as your eat dinner, when you fold your laundry, playing with your kids or dog, as you organize your planner, etc. It’s easier than you think.
- This opens up your pelvic area, getting the space ready for that little baby to come through.
- It helps you with your squats by getting your hips and knees positioned in a way that keeps your joints stronger.
- It takes the pressure off of your back and pelvis as you sit, allowing your pelvic muscles to strengthen as they carry your baby weight.
- The swelling your legs and ankles will go way down.
Any questions? Send me a comment and I’ll get right back to you.
- On your hands and knees, shoulder width apart, forming 90 degree angles with you back and the floor. Just let your belly hang there for a bit. Isn’t it great to have all the weight off of your hips and back? Do this as long as you want.
But into the actual exercise:
- Arch your back and thrust out your pelvis, in a rocking motion, squeezing your butt muscles and your abs as you do so.
- Hold this for a few seconds, then relax and repeat.
As your belly gets bigger, you’ll feel how your back muscles get stronger and you particularly you can lift up that baby weight solely with your muscles instead of your bones.
- TRY to do at least 50 a day. I know it’s a big number, if you can’t make it, no problem. Just add a few more the next day. Soon you’ll be able to far surpass that number.
- DON’T push your belly and back downward into the ‘cat’ position like in yoga; you may strain yourself.
- Like before, your back, abdominal, and pelvic muscles will strengthen far more than simply sitting on the couch will.
- It will ELIMINATE your back pain if done consistently.
- All of the muscles you use to push that baby out will be toned and ready for when you deliver.
- You posture won’t lag, leading to increased back and neck pain, but will provide proper support to the rest of your body.
Any questions? I learned a lot about this in Dr. Bradley’s book. You can check out my review on it here.
Do I need to even explain this one? This will help with aches and pains, increase blood flow and oxygen to that baby, release hormones and endorphins that are a great benefit to you and your baby, let alone all the same benefits as the previous exercises.
Even if it’s five minutes a day consistently, that it a HUGE benefit already. Just imagine if you were to work up to 30 minutes or so a day.
- If you’re feeling good, try working in a few small hills or inclines on your route. Hills are the number one thing that can help you get more out of your exercise than having to run or walk for even longer amounts of time.
The BEST part:
- It will augment and SHORTEN your labor and DECREASE your labor pains–ESPECIALLY if you’re walking during your labor. I’ll certainly discuss that more in later posts.
If it’s too much, take it slow, decrease your time, rest a for a short while. There’s NOTHING wrong with going easy on yourself. Just remember that it will become easier tomorrow and the next day if you’re consistent. And if you’re consistent, your marathon of the delivery will be every so much easier.
Let me know how you’re doing! I want to know what works for you and how you feel.