Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Exercises to Strengthen your Muscles during Pregnancy

Having already advocated 4 Easy Exercises for a Healthier Pregnancy and how to Relieve your Back Pain during Pregnancy, I'm taking slight liberty by now to assume that you know why it is so important for you to exercise during pregnancy. Your highly loyal body is over-clocking to keep up with your ongoing pregnancy related changes. I know you're being a good boss too, helping it with a lot of physical and mental adjustments from your side! So, why don't you oblige your stressed body with a light exercise regimen specially tailored for strengthening your muscles during pregnancy? Whenever you feel pain or discomfort your natural instinct would guide you to rest, is understandable. But, do not listen to that lazy instinct when you're pregnant. Introduce a light exercise regimen in your daily schedule. You'll be amazed how an exercise routine with few simple movements for half an hour a day can minimize your body aches and boost up your overall energy level! If you were not exercising earlier, 13th week can be a good starting point for your pregnancy exercises. Do you remember the other benefits of exercising during pregnancy? Lesser weight gain, fewer physical complaints, easier labor, smoother delivery and quicker post-childbirth healing... wow!

Before you start with this exercise regimen, you may consult your cute doctor (skip the 'cute' part if you're reading this article with your husband) to ensure that these exercises are suitable for your case and you must ask for your doctor's opinion if you have preexisting problems like history of heart diseases, high blood pressure, asthma, multiple pregnancy, premature labor etc. It is worthwhile to mention that these exercises can be combined in alternate days with those 4 elementary yet golden exercises for a healthier pregnancy- Walking, Swimming, Exercycling and Yoga.

Strengthen your Abdominal muscles with Pelvic Tilts: This can be the easiest exercise to begin with. Lie flat on your back with knees bent perpendicular and feet resting on the floor. This can also be performed in other positions but I've noticed 'lying flat on the floor' is the easiest one for majority of pregnant women. If you place your hand below the lower half of your back you'll discover a space enclosed between your arching spine and the flat floor. All you have to do now is trying to flatten your back against the floor so as to obliterate that mini arch below you, without involving your muscles down the waist. Repeat it about 10 times and move to the next after a brief resting period.
Pelvic Tilt
Strengthen your Pelvic Floor muscles with Kegel's exercise: It requires some effort on your part based on imagination. Visualize pulling the muscles of the vaginal area up as if to lift your internal organs towards your baby. If it is difficult to follow, you may also visualize stopping your pee in the middle of the action. Don't pee and try, all I am saying you is to imagine the act. Hold the position as tightly as possible and maintain it for 2-3 seconds without forgetting to breath during the exercise. This position holding period can be extended up to 8-10 seconds slowly. Keep in mind- to effectively involve your pelvic floor muscles you need to consciously keep your abdominal, thigh and buttock muscles relaxed during Kegel's exercise. Repeat it 3-5 times.

Strengthen your Back/Buttock muscles with Arm and Leg Raises: Kneel on your hands and knees keeping the back straight (somewhat like a mare). Slowly lift your right leg and left arm till they are straight with the horizontal axis of your back. Hold this position for a couple of seconds at most and then lower your arm and leg in a controlled manner. There's a chance that some of you would find difficulty in balancing your body with diagonally raised limbs. Accordingly you can customize this raising exercise with one limb at a time. Repeat the beforesaid process with your alternate limbs and complete a cycle of 3-5 raises.
Arm and Leg Raise
Strengthen your Abdominal, Thigh and Buttock muscles with Wall Squats: Stand against a wall with your head, shoulders and back touching it but feet 15-20 inches away from it. Press your lower back towards the wall and slide down slowly to a squatting position so that your knee angles are perpendicular. In the same way rise up to your starting position. Repeat 5-10 times.
Wall Squat
10 Pearls of Wisdom to be remembered before Exercising in Pregnancy:
* Listen to your body even before listening to your doctor.
* Be disciplined about your basic postures. Like- stand straight with shoulders relaxed and abdomen tucked in. When you want to sit, sit comfortably in a relaxed position, with your back straight and supported by the back of a hard chair... no beanbag business in pregnancy! When lifting an object, keep your back straight and bend from the knees. Avoid bending over.
* Start your exercise routine with a 5 minutes warm up.
* Do not exercise till you get exhausted, rather stop it much before this point of exhaustion.
* Take ample breaks at an interval of 10-12 minutes.
* Hydration is very important. Keep sipping water or fresh fruit juice every five minutes.
* Use a good quality footwear that supports your angle reliably.
* Do not jump or swing as the angel inside you won't prefer to be disturbed much.
* It is a good idea to get hold of a fitness gadget (in the form of watch or wristband) that displays your heart rate on the go.
* Avoid exercises in advanced pregnancy which involve lying flat on your back. This posture reduces the blood flow to your uterus which you certainly won't want.

After you are done with above four exercises, if you're still left with enthusiasm why don't you try your hands on some gentle stretching exercises? Proper stretching can decrease your bodily pains by preventing episodes of muscle spasm and revitalizing your spinal activity. Stretching exercises can be great add-ons to strengthening exercises for a healthier pregnancy! I'll write another article explaining few essential stretching exercises. Till then perform these. Even if you're not pregnant you might consider sharing it with a pregnant lady whom you know. After all knowledge is wealth but knowledge not shared is knowledge wasted... right?


  1. Very informative indeed.... Thank you for the share....

  2. did you try them out during your pregnancy and found any of them helpful???

    I did pre natal yoga in my pregnany and found it very useful not only during that period ..but in post partum period as well.....

    please share your personal pregnancy experience of doing these excersies...will be much helpful insight!!


    1. Thanks for your inputs Sushmita... Unfortunately, being a man, my experiences on pregnancy related stuffs are purely based on practical observation based experiences and books... there is no way that I can write them based on my first hand experience... But, it'll be of great help if you kindly agree to share your experiences here as a blog post :-)


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