Pregnancy is an exciting time for moms-to-be. But what might not be so exciting are the changes that happen to your body (weight gain and a sore body among a few!) Good news, moderate exercise is highly recommended throughout your pregnancy, benefiting both your baby and yourself. If your doctor has given you the green light to workout during your pregnancy, here are a few simple mom-to-be approved exercises.
Before you get started, we recommend wearing supportive tennis shoes, using a wall or chair for balance, and having a water bottle handy.
1. Squats with overhead lift. Stand with feet shoulder width apart, and with arms bent at the elbow hold 5-8 lbs weights at your shoulders. Bend at the knees into a squat keeping back straight and not letting your chest go further than your knees. As you come up from the squat, lift arms overhead with weights pushing up from your shoulders. That’s one rep, do 10 reps per set. If you’re having trouble balancing, use smaller weights, or no weights at all and use a wall/chair to keep your balance.
2. Planking. For 1st - early 2nd trimester: keep back straight from hips to shoulders, ankles nearly touching, elbows bent so upper body weight is on forearms. Hold for 30 - 40 seconds. Rest by rising into all fours. Repeat 5-8 times. For late 2nd - 3rd trimester: same plank pose but with arms fully extended underneath you so that your upper body weight is on your palms. Variations include: single leg lift or single arm lift while holding plank, or alternate a push up between each hold (for early trimesters only).
3. Side lunge with overhead lift. Start in standing position, feet shoulder width apart and side step into a deep lunge, holding one dumbbell with both hands in front of your chest. As you come back to center from your lunge, lift dumbbell with both hands above your head. Bring weight back down to chest as you alternate with the other leg into a deep side lunge. Back to center for one rep, do 10 reps per set. Too difficult? Eliminate the weight altogether and use a chair for balance in front of you.
4. Chest press with stability ball. Lay back on exercise ball so that your back is fully supported. Keeping knees bent at a 90 degree angle, arms extending out to the side and bent at the elbow. Push weights up above chest reaching up to nearly touch both ends of weights together. Lower back to start for one rep. Do 12 - 15 reps.
5. High row with stability ball. Sit with body weight centered on stability ball. If you have resistance bands, anchor them securely at chest level. If you’re at the gym, use a rowing machine with handles. Grip the bands (handles) with palms facing up and pull elbows steadily past your chest until your hands are at the side of chest. Bring hands forward to release for one rep. Do 15 reps.
Keep in mind that you probably won’t be able to workout as vigorously as you did pre-bump. Allow yourself accommodations as needed to make exercise comfortable for you. Consult your obstetrician before you begin any workout routine during pregnancy. And if something doesn’t feel right, stop and check in with your doctor.