Though exercise might be the last thing on your mind when you’re pregnant, staying fit and active will prevent or decrease some of the more common pregnancy pains. Exercising the lower body can make you stronger and help you to adjust to the changes in your body. Set aside a bit of time for exercise every day.
If you don’t want to hit the gym to make use of the weight machines, you can do leg exercises, like squats and lunges, in your own home. Leg lifts are also a smart exercise, so long as you do them on your side rather than your back, which allows the blood to continue flowing to your baby. Many cardiovascular exercises, such as walking, bicycling or using the elliptical machine, also work out your leg muscles. If you have access to a pool, you can hold onto a kickboard and move your legs in the water.
Squats and lunges will also work out your butt muscles, but if you want to change things up a bit, try a wall squat, which involves holding a squat position with your thighs parallel to the ground with your back against the wall. Step aerobics or simply walking up stairs can also work these muscles.
Lower Back Exercises
Pelvic tilts — lying on the floor with your feet on the ground and pressing your pelvis up — works both abdominal and lower back muscles. Side leg lifts on the floor can also improve back muscles. If you are experiencing back pain, try stretching or doing some prenatal yoga, which can alleviate some or all of the pain.
Kegel exercises are important for pregnant women. They help prevent urinary incontinence and will help you to push the baby out when you are in labor. To do your Kegels, you should tighten the muscles that you would use to stop the flow of urine, hold it for 10 seconds or more, and then release. Though you can find these muscles by stopping the flow of urine as you go, MayoClinic.com warns that doing this frequently can actually cause incontinence.
Protect Your Body While Exercising
Wear supportive shoes whenever you are exercising, even if you are doing it in your home. Your feet may expand a bit when pregnant, so be sure that you are wearing a pair of shoes that fits. When doing cardio exercise, you should never be too out of breath; only exercise at a moderate pace. You should also take care not to lie on your back during the second and third trimesters. Doing this can block the flow of blood to your baby, causing damage.