A strength component to your prenatal workout rounds out your overall fitness and prepares the body for labor. Your increasing weight and growing abdomen increase the need for overall muscle strength and endurance. Pregnancy places restrictions on the type of strength training you can safely perform. Avoid exercises with heavy weights or those that require a back-lying position due to the risk of decreased blood flow.
A wall provides a sturdy support that allows you to perform strengthening moves without lying on your back. Start about a foot from the wall, facing away from it. Bend your knees and lean back toward the wall with your upper body, using your arms to guide and support your body. Tilt your pelvis forward to flatten your lower back against the wall. Use your abdominal muscles for the movement.
Squats also work along the wall for support. Start in the same position and lower your body a few inches. Hold the position for a few seconds before standing up again.
Fitness Ball Exercises
A fitness ball conforms to your body when you sit on it, making it a comfortable way to exercise during pregnancy. To strengthen the abs, sit near the front of the fitness ball. Lean back onto the ball to perform a modified crunch. Don’t overextend your abdominal muscles or overdo repetitions.
Another option is the bridge. Using the ball to support your head neck and shoulders, bend your knees to 90 degrees with your hips up and your body in a straight line. Lower your hips and raise them again.
Prenatal yoga classes create a safe exercise program for expecting mothers. Yoga uses a variety of poses to strengthen different parts of the body. Many of the exercises focus on the core muscles, which help support the growing abdomen. A strong core helps improve your balance and posture, which is sometimes thrown off by your expanding midsection. Standing poses strengthen the legs to give you a solid base for your body. Avoid yoga poses that involve headstands or off-balance movements that could lead to falls.
The low-impact nature of swimming makes it an ideal way to strengthen your muscles during pregnancy. The additional pregnancy weight is less noticeable in the water, taking stress off of your body. Swimming works both the arm and leg muscles. This strength-training option adds the benefit of aerobic exercise to increase your overall fitness and endurance.