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Our Favourite Simple Pregnancy Exercises

In the second part of our pregnancy and fitness series, we look at simple pregnancy exercises to help keep you in shape for when your baby arrives


As we have mentioned, experts such as NICE and the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists all agree that pregnant women should aim for at least 30 minutes physical exercise each day.

You don't need to be an Olympian, but walking, running, cycling, working out at home or in a gym, swimming, Yoga and Pilates are all good ways to stay fit during your pregnancy!

Make sure you check with your doctor before trying anything new. As we addressed in Our Favourite Reasons to Stay Fit During Pregnancy, maintaining your fitness means you'll be better prepared for the birth, recover more quickly and we know active mums are more likely to raise active children.

Fitness and exercise when pregnant

We've teamed up with FittaMamma to bring you this series of articles. If you'd like to know more about safe exercise during pregnancy and workouts for pregnant women you'll find plenty of information on the FittaMamma website.

FittaMamma's suggests you try these exercises during pregnancy, the best part is you can do them almost anywhere!

Before you start any exercise, it's important to make sure you're warmed up

Exercising during pregnancy is so important for your health and the health of your baby. But when you're expecting it's even more important to warm up and cool down.

Make it fun with these simple warm up routines:

  1. Loosen your back, neck and shoulders with a high shrug then roll your shoulders backwards and forwards
  2. Reach one arm up, one arm on your hip bending over to one side and sliding your arm down your thigh (repeat both sides)
  3. Get stepping! Step to the side and back, adding a knee lift or curl with the opposite leg
  4. Avoid full jumping jacks when you're pregnant but half jacks are a great warm up. Bring your arms in and out as you step each leg in turn
  5. Tap your toes behind you, bending the other knee and curling your arms forwards

Keep your pelvic floor strong!

If there's one exercise you should do without fail every day during pregnancy it's the pelvic floor lift. You can do this anywhere at any time and no-one will even know! Keeping your pelvic floor nice and strong will help during the birth and prevent stress incontinence afterwards.

What to do:

  1. Pull in your pelvic floor muscles (as if you are trying to stop a bowel movement or a wee). Hold for 2 or 3 seconds then release. Repeat 3 times, building up to 10 repetitions.
  2. Increase the strength by pulling in the muscles one-third of the way. Hold, draw in the next third. Hold and finally pull all the way as tightly as you can. Release using the same three steps.
  3. Try these whilst sitting on a chair or a fit ball and vary by doing the exercises whilst standing.

Work your core!

Keeping your core tummy muscles strong during pregnancy helps during labour and can help to prevent diastasis as well. Pelvic tilts can be carried out until the 3rd trimester. Don't be afraid to suck your tummy in, your baby won't feel it!

What to do:

  1. Sit upright on your fit ball, shoulders back and feet flat on the floor.
  2. Breathe in deeply and let your chest expand. As you exhale, draw your belly button in so that you feel like you are wearing a tight corset
  3. Without moving your feet, tilt your pelvis forward and upward. Hold for a couple seconds and return to start position.

Repeat 15-20 times and aim for 2 sets

Keep your legs strong!

Maintaining strength in your legs is important, especially as your bump gets bigger and you are carrying extra weight. And it helps with your posture and balance too. This exercise uses a fitness ball.

What to do:

  1. Start with feet hip width apart and your fitness ball held between your back and the wall.
  2. Keep your hands on your hips, shoulders back and tummy muscles pulled in.
  3. Slowly squat down, bending your knees and rolling the ball down the wall until your knees are bent at approx. 90 degrees.
  4. Now slowly return to the starting position. Have a chair nearby for support, just in case you get stuck in your squat!

Feeling strong? Make it harder by holding weights in each hand!

Repeat 15-20 times and aim for 2 sets.

Cool down!

Cooling down should be an essential part of your exercise routine. Remember, don't over stretch as relaxing makes your joints more prone to injury! These exercises can be part of a warm up or a cool down routine.

  1. Rotate each ankle in turn, then raise each knee in turn, flexing backwards and forwards
  2. Feet hip distance apart, hands on temples, rotate your torso from side to side
  3. Arms wide to the side, circle backwards and forwards, cross your arms in front of your body, raise your arms and push towards the ceiling
  4. March on the spot, lifting your knees and swinging your arms. Make it more vigorous with a wide march stepping forwards and back
  5. Tap each heel forward in turn, bending the other knee and swinging your arms forward

Repeat each movement 15-20 times and repeat.

For more information about safe exercise in pregnancy and pregnancy workouts visit FittaMamma, they'll keep you looking and feeling good inside and out!

More tips on pregnancy exercises and fitness

Yoga and Pilates are good forms of exercise during pregnancy

Don't forget to read the other articles in our pregnancy and fitness series:

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