Pregnancy may seem like the perfect opportunity to adopt a sedentary lifestyle. After all, pregnancy can be accompanied by swollen ankles, back pain and a sense of being overly tired. But according to the Mayo Clinic, there are benefits to exercise during pregnancy, including boosting energy levels, easing back pain, increasing strength and stamina and preventing excessive weight gain. Pregnant women, however, should be cleared for exercise workouts by their health care providers prior to the start of any exercise regimen.
First Trimester Workouts
During the first trimester, you can still work on your abdomen muscles, so it makes sense to focus on the abdomen area in the first trimester. Leg lifts will provide a workout for these muscles. By sitting down on a workout mat and leaning back on your elbows, you’ll be in position for leg lifts. To perform this exercise, the leg is raised 90 degrees, held, then angled out to the side while the leg is still straight. The leg is then returned to the original 90-degree position and lowered to the floor. Ten repetitions for each leg provide a workout for the abdomen area. The workout can be extended by returning to the original sitting position. Raise your knees to your chest, hold the position, then lower your legs to the floor. Again, 10 repetitions provide a workout for the abdomen muscles.
Second Trimester Workouts
With pressure on the back increasing during the second trimester, workouts performed while on hands and knees helps to relieve the pressure. While on all fours, you can provide a workout for your leg and butt muscles by extending the leg back and raising the heel as high as possible. Holding the leg in this position will provide extra workout seconds for the muscles being used. Bring the leg down and repeat with the other leg. Raise each leg 10 times for a second trimester workout. The workout can be extended by extending the leg out to the side, holding it off the ground, at a diagonal to the body, then returning the leg to the original position and repeating with the other leg.
Third Trimester Workouts
With the increased limitations that the third trimester of pregnancy brings, there is still time for exercise for arm muscles. A 3-lb weight held in each hand while holding the arms straight out to the side provides a workout for arm muscles. The arms can then be dropped straight down. Pulling the weights up by bending the elbows is an exercise that also provides an arm-muscle workout. These exercises may be performed while sitting so that back pressure is eased.