Pregnancy isn’t an excuse to sit back and skimp on your fitness regimen. Staying physically active is important to keep you healthy and help with recovery after you have your baby. Exercise doesn’t need to involve a lot of fancy equipment and nor do you need to fork out a fortune for special classes. Try these 5 simple at-home exercises for pregnant women, and you should start to feel the difference!
#1 The Cat-Cow Pose
A yoga pose Cat-Cow’ can stretch and elongate your back (especially the lower back) and improve core strength as well.
- Start on all fours (on your hands and knees) so your body makes a box shape. Slowly round your back and transition into a gently arched back.
- Do this slowly and steadily in a manner that feels comfortable for your back - nothing sudden or jerky.
- Return to the original position again steadily.
- Try and do 8 to 10 of these in a set. Up to 3 sets are good but don’t push yourself.
#2 Standing Pelvic Tilt
This move is designed to ease back pains and is aimed at improving your posture as the baby gets bigger and your uterus starts to really feel the load.
- Stand with your back against a wall, your spine relaxed and your feet about shoulder-width apart.
- Inhale deeply and try and press the small of your back to the wall.
- Repeat the inhalation and the pressing movement.
Try and do this for around 5 minutes at a stretch a couple of times throughout the day.
#3 Pelvic Floor Exercise or Kegels
Your pelvic floor bears much of the burden of both pregnancy and childbirth. Improve the muscle tone of these layers of muscles that stretch across from your backbone to your pubic bone. Weak pelvic floor muscles can result in urine leakage when you strain or cough or sneeze.
- Clench your bottom like you’re trying to avoid going to the toilet. Simultaneously draw your vagina inward and feel your urethra clench like you’re trying to avoid peeing.
- Start with tightening and release motion going quickly at the first couple of times.
- Then slow it down, increasing the contraction of your muscles gradually to a count of 5. Hold for 5 to 10 seconds. Count to 5 as you release.
You can do 8-10 such squeezes at one go, building up to 20. Try and do this multiple times a day.
#4 Tailor Sit and Tailor Press
These exercises work your thigh, hip, and pelvic muscles and ease lower back pain.
- For the Tailor Sit, sit down on a mat with your knees bent at a comfortable angle and your ankles crossed. Lean slightly forward and ensure your back remains straight and relaxed. Use this position whenever possible throughout the day.
- To do the Tailor Press, sit down on a mat keeping the knees bent and bring the soles(bottom) of your feet together. Position each hand below each knee. Now try and press your knee downwards to try and touch your hands. Hold for a couple of seconds before releasing.
#5 Core Stability Exercise
This is important to keep the muscles of your abdomen well-toned and strong.
- Begin by focussing on bringing your belly button inwards to your spine.
- Exhale as you pull your belly in. Hold.
- Relax your muscles and inhale.
Repeat this 10 times. You can do this multiple times in a day, either sitting or standing.
Want To Join A Class?
If home exercises don’t seem enough for you, ask your doctor about any available prenatal exercise, or prenatal yoga classes that they’d recommend. Besides helping you learn breathing techniques to help you through labour, they can also boost your mood, energise you, ease aches and pains as well as pregnancy niggles like constipation and bloating.
If you choose to join a class, it is advisable to enrol for those specially designed for pregnant women. Prenatal exercise classes factor in precautions needed for safe exercising with a baby on board. If you’re planning to try anything else, always have it cleared by your doctor first.
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