Physical activity during pregnancy helps to improve fitness, reduce high blood pressure, prevent diabetes, control weight gain, and improve sleep and mood. Inactive pregnant women should start exercising to gain all these benefits, and core exercises during pregnancy are a must. 

Core exercises during pregnancy

As your bump gets bigger, so will your lumbar spine curve, which can give you a backache. My top 5 core exercises may promote proper posture, fending off lower back pain so common during pregnancy. They may also help increase your sense of control during labour as well as help you recover more quickly after giving birth.

Kegal exercise for pregnancy

You’ll also need to implement Kegels into daily life.  Learn how with these three simple steps: 

  1. Inhale into your back and sides, fully relaxing the pelvic floor muscles. 
  2. Exhale and squeeze the pelvic floor muscles. 
  3. Continuing to exhale and lift the pelvic floor muscles.
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Exercise 1: Deadbugs

  • Lie down on your back.
  • To find a neutral pelvis, place a small towel under your lower back and push into it.  If necessary work in posterior pelvic tilt (a).
  • Brace abdominal muscles, avoid any doming.
  • Inhale into your back and sides.
  • Exhale and lift one leg at a time, keeping the pelvis totally still, without letting your back arch or pelvis rock (b).
  • The key is keeping the movement really slow.
  • Work towards lifting one leg and then the other, so that both legs are up without moving your pelvis or losing your brace (c & d)
  • If you are having a hard time keeping your pelvis stable after an exhale and brace, you can hold your breath for a few reps.
  • If you are having difficulty breathing into your back and not doming you can elevate your head and neck with a pillow.

Exercise 2: Glute bridges & squeezes

  • Lie down on your back with your feet parallel and hip-width apart and extend your arms over chest (a).
  • Find a neutral pelvis.
  • Hold a neutral pelvis as you squeeze your glutes to lift up. 
  • Drive your knees over your toes to create length in the hip socket.
  • While squeezing your glutes to lift up, squeeze the ball (b).
  • Lower down by hinging at your hips and releasing the ball.
  • Make sure your feet do not slide away, your back does not arch and your ribs do not flare. 

Exercise 3: Side planks

    • Rest your forearm on the mat, and make sure your shoulder is over your forearm or wrist. You should be nice and tall through your arm with no scapula winging (a)
    • Bend your bottom leg and extend your top leg.
    • The trunk and rib cage should be in alignment, facing the same way.
    • Inhale into your back and sides.
    • Exhale and lift your hips, drawing your ribs down, keeping pelvis totally still, without letting your back arch or pelvis rock (b).
    • Work towards lifting the top leg, without moving your pelvis, losing brace or balance (c). 
  • Top tip: try suctioning your tongue to the roof of your mouth to help your head stay more in line with your body. 

Exercise 4: Bird dogs

  • Firstly check alignment, making sure your head, rib cage and pelvis are lined up on your hands and knees (a).
  • Lengthen the back of your head and neck as you gently push through your armpits and pinkies.  Find a neutral pelvis.
  • Inhale into your back and sides, bracing by tightening your abdominal muscles
  • Exhale and start to slowly lift one leg at a time without shifting your body back and forth, or keeping your pelvis totally still and without letting your back arch or pelvis rock (b).
  • Alternate sides.

Exercise 5: Reverse plank

  • Place hands facing forward, a little bit behind your hips, to actively use your triceps for holding you up (a).
  • Make sure elbows are turned back but do not hyperextend them.
  • Inhale and squeeze your shoulder blades back and together to open your chest and keep the front of your shoulders open.
  • Exhale and press down through your shoulder blades while keeping your chest open to lift your hips off of the ground (b).
  • Keep your rib cage in and down, do not flare out. 
  • Think of pushing down through the back side of your heels as if you were dragging them back toward you to engage your hamstrings. 
  • Tuck your pelvis under, moving it forward a little.
  • Make sure your feet stay parallel to each other.

For most women exercising supine for short periods of time is fine, but it’s easy to modify if needed by using a bolster and changing glute bridges for hip thrust. Start with a few repetitions of each exercise and once you feel comfortable increase the repetitions, keeping the exercise slow and controlled. 

For a more detailed pregnancy exercise program, sign up to www.motherfit.co.uk for 14 day FREE trial, and your own personal plan. 

NB: Please consult your GP or health practitioner before embarking on any new fitness regime.
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