Five essential exercises for pregnancy
Chandra Farrer, a spokesperson for the Canadian Physiotherapy Association, suggests including a half-squat in your prenatal exercise routine. This movement maintains strength in your legs (for hefting your baby, plus car-seats, strollers, and other cumbersome gear), and helps reinforce proper lifting technique, which will help prevent back strain.
Farrer, a physiotherapist with the SportCARE program at Sunnybrook & Women’s College Health Sciences Centre, describes the semi-squat. “While standing, place your feet hip-width apart, and hold onto a table for support. Then squat down, as though you’re going to sit in a chair. Work towards bringing your thighs parallel with the floor.” You can do three sets of ten repetitions.
“You want to always be able to see your second toe (the one next to your big toe),” Farrer emphasizes, to guard against over-stretching tendons in your knee. Sticking out your bottom just a bit will also help minimize stress on your back.
#4: Standing Row
“A lot of women complain about upper back pain as their breasts enlarge,” Farrer observes. Rowing against some form of resistance helps shore up the strength of muscles that can lighten the load on your upper back.
Fasten the middle part of a TheraBand (a sort of gigantic elastic available at exercise supply and home health care stores) to a doorknob and grab one end in each hand. “With your arms parallel to the floor, you’re going to squeeze your shoulder blades together as you pull your elbows back,” Farrer explains. Repeat the motion ten times, for three sets.
Keep your back stationary to ensure your shoulders and arms are doing the work.