Want to incorporate quick and simple exercise into your pregnancy? Here are three easy steps that help your body prepare for labour and keep your tummy muscles toned.
A version of this article appeared in our Fall 2012 Pregnancy Guide with the headline "Abs of steel," pp.14.
How to: Sitting tall, place both hands around your side ribs. Imagine that your ribs are like a fan, your torso is an empty canister, and there is a blueberry sitting between the front of your pelvis and your tailbone.
As you inhale, open “the fan” out to the sides; fill up your ribs and canister with air, adjusting your posture (forward and back) until you find the most expansion.
As you exhale, close the fan and “pick up the blueberry” with your pelvic floor, keeping your glutes relaxed. Repeat.
Strengthening your core during pregnancy is a must: These are the muscles that will help you push your baby out! Along with your pelvic floor, your core muscles need to be trained so you can use them to recover more quickly postpartum.
How to: Sitting tall on a stability ball, place both hands on either side for balance. Leading with your core breath, exhale and lift one foot off the floor and follow with the opposite arm over your head. Hold and breathe for 2 to 3 seconds. Return to starting position and repeat on the other side.
This move strengthens the external oblique muscles that will support your growing uterus.
How to: Lying on your side, place one elbow directly under your shoulder. Bend knees, stacking one on top of the other. Keep your spine neutral and begin with your core breath. Gently squeeze your butt and bring your hips forward until your underside comes off the floor. Hold 20 to 30 seconds, breathing normally. Repeat on the other side.
Read more: 15 minute mom workout>