Pregnancy can be a tiring and exhausting time, but you can regain the energy you need to help you get through the day by exercising. For most pregnant women, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists recommends at least 30 minutes of exercise a day. Exercise has proven to help you sleep better, reduce stress, and accelerate postpartum weight loss and recovery.
Some prenatal exercises can actually help ease a variety of pregnancy symptoms – from backaches to fatigue. Below are three of our favorite quick and easy exercises that will help ease pregnancy aches and help prepare your body for labor.
Kegels: This exercise helps tone the pubococcygeal (PC) muscle, which you use to stop and start the flow of urine. Exercising this muscle can help prevent hemorrhoids, as well as decrease your pushing time during labor, and speed up the healing process after an episiotomy or tear. One of the best features of this exercise is that it can be done anywhere!
- First, act as if you are trying to interrupt the flow of urine to isolate your PC muscle.
- Squeeze the PC muscle for five seconds; release for five seconds, then squeeze again.
- Repeat this 10 times, three times a day.
Pelvic tilt: You can ease your back pain during pregnancy and labor, as well as strengthen your abdominal muscles with these simple steps:
- Get down on all fours, keeping your arms shoulder-width apart and your knees hip-width apart. Straighten your arms but do not lock your elbows.
- As you breathe in, squeeze your abdominal muscles and tilt your pelvis backwards while rounding your back. Relax your back into the starting position as you breathe out.
- Follow the rhythm of your breath and repeat at your own pace.
Squat: Squatting is a great way to strengthen your thighs and help open your pelvis in preparation for labor.
- Holding the back of a chair for support, stand with your feet a little more than hip-width distance apart with your toes facing outward.
- Tighten your abdominal muscles, keep your chest up and relax your shoulders. Then lower yourself as if you were sitting down on a chair. Stay balanced by keeping most of your weight on your heels.
- Take a deep breath and then as you exhale, return to a standing position.