Congratulations, you’ve got a bun in the oven! Being pregnant is a beautiful experience that will change your life forever, but it doesn’t stop at the tiny outfits and nursery rhymes. Actually, it doesn’t even end at the growing belly, the only thing other people can see.
Thanks to an expanding uterus and growing baby, you’re bound to feel body aches and then some. They’ll show up in the back, abdomen, groin, and thighs. The baby’s head can also place pressure on the pelvic bone, leading to grueling backaches. Rest, lying down, and heat compresses may help soothe the pain. But who likes to stay still all day? With these easy-going exercises, you relieve pain one move at a time. All it takes is 1 or 2 sets of each exercise a couple days a week.1
1. Widened Child’s Pose
For a future mama, a stretch called child’s pose makes perfect sense. A widened version will feel especially relieving for the tailbone and lower back. If you need more support, rest your belly on a pillow or rolled-up towel.
- Kneel down with your knees as wide as the mat.
- Keep your toes together.
- Lay your bum on the heels.
- Reach forward. Rest your head on the floor, if you can.
- Hold for 5 breaths.
- To add a side stretch, gently walk your hands to the right and pause. Repeat on the left side.
2. Twisted Wide Squat
Loosen up tight hips with a wide squat. The added twist will feel amazing for the spine, especially as your belly grows and grows.
- Stand with your feet slightly more than shoulder-width apart.
- Squat down until your thighs are parallel to the floor.
- Place your hands just above your knees.
- Straighten your elbows.
- Rotate your shoulders to the right, and look over your shoulder.
- Repeat on the left side to finish 1 rep.
- Repeat 15 times.
- Your belly shouldn’t twist with your upper body, so twist as much as you can without turning it.
3. Side-Lying Clamshells
Clamshells are an easy, gentle exercise for the lower body. Avoid letting your hips lean backward. To prevent this, press your hand on the floor to shift your weight forward.
- Lie down on your side.
- Align your head, hips, and heels.
- Support your head with the bottom arm.
- With the other harm, press into the floor.
- Exhale and lift the top knee into the air, heels together.
- Repeat 10 to 15 times.
- Repeat on the other side.
4. Bench Hip Thrusts
For a gentle way to work out the core and glutes, do hip thrusts on a bench. Make sure the chair or bench is sturdy enough to support your weight. To avoid straining a body part, move the entire body as one unit.
- While on your side, prop your elbow on a bench.
- Bring your other arm back so both elbows are on the bench.
- Place your hands behind your head.
- Exhale and squeeze the glutes to lift the hips.
- Inhale and lower the hips back down to the floor.
- Repeat 15 to 20 times.
5. Body-Weight Squats
Squats are awesome for strengthening the legs and pelvic muscles. And thanks to the weight of your belly, you won’t need dumbbells.
- Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart.
- Inhale and bend your knees, forming a slight arch in the lower back.
- Exhale. Stand up while squeezing the glutes.
- Repeat 15 times.
As with any exercise during pregnancy, take it slow. Avoid abrupt and forceful movements. If you feel any discomfort, stop immediately.
Before trying these moves, check with your doctor. Exercise during pregnancy should be done carefully and safely. If necessary, start with a personal trainer to properly learn these moves.