Friends, we’ve entered the third trimester and now, more than ever it’s important for me to support the growth of my little man through exercise. I thought it’d be fun to share my 3 favorite moves for a strong pregnancy for all the mama’s to be out there. But first a note about an old school myth that I’d like to crack…
There used to be a common misconception that exercising during pregnancy could be detrimental. Today, research points to the importance of physical activity for expectant mothers. Not only is it important for your baby’s growth, but it can alleviate some common discomforts of pregnancy and even help prepare your body for labor and delivery. The key to a beneficial prenatal fitness routine is strength training.
The hormones your body produces throughout your pregnancy can cause ligaments to expand and relax so to maintain strong muscles, stability and strength exercises are important. Plus, you need a strong pelvis to support your growing little one. *Before you start an exercise program, be sure to check with your health care provider.
1. Bird Dog
Position yourself on your hands and knees with wrists under shoulders and knees under hips. Make sure your back is straight, not arched or sunken down. Engage your core and pelvic floor (aka perform a Kegel), then straighten out an arm and the opposite leg. Be sure to keep your low back and pelvis in neutral, don’t rotate! Return to starting position and alternate sides.
*Expert tip #1: You can check to make sure your back is straight by having someone place a yardstick along your spine. You should have contact with your back to the yardstick from the pelvis up to the mid back.
*Expert tip #2: You can place a 2 pound dumbbell parallel to your spine. Keep this dumbbell in place and don’t let it roll off your back when performing the exercise. That way you know you have excellent control!
2. Hip Abduction Leg Lift
Lay on your side. Your hips should be slightly rolled forward and your top leg should be extended slightly behind you. Bend the bottom leg for support. Raise the top leg up in the air while keeping toes pointed forward or slightly downward. Lower and repeat.
*Expert tip: Make sure your hips don’t roll back and that your top leg doesn’t come forward with toes pointed to the ceiling. This is your body cheating and using the front hip muscles (aka hip flexors) instead of the hip muscles (aka gluteus medius)!
Stand with feel hip width apart. Engage your core and pelvic floor (aka perform a Kegel). With weight driven through the heels, squat down as if you are going to sit down in a chair. Your knees should stay in line with your toes, make sure they don’t fall inward towards each other. Return to standing and repeat.
*Expert tip: Keeping your weight in your heels engages the oh-so-important glute muscles!
Please remember that none of these exercises should be painful or cause any type of heaviness or discomfort in the pelvis! If they do, please stop immediately and contact a physical therapist or healthcare provider.
Questions or comments? I’d love to chat with you!