Think working out while pregnant is a no-go? Think again.
For years, it was commonly believed that pregnant women couldn’t engage in physical activity or it would impair the development of their fetus. In actuality, research has shown the pros of exercising for 20-30 minutes a day far outweigh any risks in terms of benefits for mom and baby. Some common workout routines like riding a stationary bike, using the stair stepper, or running are likely all safe for your growing baby and you. But what about less common workout routines or what if you have never done them before?
We’re just going to say it. One of the best ways to prepare for delivery is to do your pelvic floor exercises (think kegels). And it’s never too late to start. So even if you’re 20 weeks pregnant and just now hearing about this, stay with us.
Meet Your Pelvic Floor
No one ever tells you how often the term “pelvic floor” comes up once you’re pregnant, yet it still isn’t a super well-known part of the body’s journey. But we can help take the mystery out of it. Here’s the Spark Notes version:
- Your deeper layer of the pelvic floor is primarily made up of four muscles, called the iliococcygeus, the coccygeus, pucococcygeus and the puborectalis muscles.
- These muscles help support functions from your bladder, urethra, vagina, uterus, large intestine, rectum, and anus.
- They also play a big part in vaginal contractions and support during vaginal childbirth.
And just like any other muscle on the body, you can work out your pelvic floor, especially in preparation for delivery. The goal is to create strength and mobility so your muscles are strong and ready to work for you when contractions begin. It also has a significant supportive role in minimizing back pain and working with your core to support the shifts as the baby grows.
Now that you’re informed in all things pelvic floor, let’s get into the best exercises you can do during pregnancy. Spoiler alert: we’re NOT just talking about kegels.
Exercises to Try
When working out your pelvic floor, you’re going to want to do a mix of exercises that will help strengthen, lengthen, and increase mobility in the body. Check out some of our favorite safe-for-pregnant women exercises below!
One of the best ways to build strength is through squats, bridges, and yes, the occasional kegel. Check out our videos on squats for both level one and level two exercises. All you need to get started with these is a chair and a good attitude. We’re also huge fans of deep squats by the sink for our pregnant women.
We also love to build core and hip strength by doing bridges. Gymnasts beware, you don’t need to lift your body too high to get the benefit out of this workout, making it perfect for pregnant women.
Experiencing knee pain? Check out this hip hinge exercise instead of squats! It’s a great way to work out your core without putting weight on knee joints.
Now that your pelvic floor is leveling up the strength game, let’s learn how to keep it limber. Our lengthening stretches are the perfect way to keep your pelvic floor relaxed and quite literally help lengthen them in preparation for childbirth.
One of our favorite exercises is the Cat-Cow position. Commonly done in yoga, all you need is the edge of a bed to properly do this one. With this one, you’re going to be lifting and releasing your tail and sit bones to open space between your bones.
Another popular yoga position, Child’s Pose, can be great for opening the pelvic floor, too. If you’ve got knee pain, this is another great workout option that only takes 90-120 seconds to properly do.
Finally, as your baby grows, you might experience more rib and back pain. Bringing spinal mobility and rotation into the picture is a great way to ease discomfort as your pregnancy progresses.
One of our favorite mobility exercises is the hip and lower back opener. All you have to do is sit with your legs in a zig-zag, sit tall to lengthen your spine, then twist and lean, holding this position for 3-5 minutes.
We really like this Spinal Twist stretch as a great way to help with upper back mobility and easing tension throughout the ribs and torso as your body grows with baby.
Get Started with Us
If at any point you’re not feeling confident in what you can do, or just want to learn more about how to exercise in a way that works best for your body, schedule a consultation with Moment of Truth. Our team will be able to set you up with a safe place to start – no matter how far along you are in your pregnancy.