If you’re struggling to make it to any pre or postnatal fitness classes, here are two exercises that can be done easily and safely at home. They’ll strengthen your body to prevent lower back pain and will help prepare you for labour and all the bending and lifting of early motherhood.
This a great core strengthening exercise, which will also help to prevent back problems. It focuses on the deep muscles of the abdominals rather than your six pack. These muscles wrap around your lower back like a corset, giving your back the support it needs – especially when you have a baby bump!
- Begin kneeling on all fours with your knees beneath your hips and your hands beneath your shoulders.
- Make sure your neck and spine are neutral and think about drawing your core up and in (think about hugging the baby with your tummy muscles and lifting it up towards the ceiling).
- Extend one leg behind you, sliding it along the floor and slowly lifting it up. Then slowly, without letting your body drop to one side, lift the opposite arm out in front of you. (Imagine someone is pulling your arm and leg away from you to ensure you are lengthening your body as well as lifting the core and chest up towards the ceiling.)
- Make sure you don’t sink your chest down towards the floor and keep lifting and hugging your baby.
- Hold each side for 10 counts and alternate sides. Repeat for 10 reps.
The mamma squat
Strengthening your leg muscles during and after pregnancy will help with lower back pain and pelvic pain and give you a great looking toned butt! Squats also prepare your body for labour as they mirror positions you can hold in early and late labour to help you through contractions and encourage the baby to descend deeper down into the pelvis.
There are numerous variations of this exercise – the one I’ve given here is done against the wall to give support but also works the upper legs to (can also be done with light weights in hands or with a medicine ball behind your back).
- Stand with your back against the wall with your feet two feet out in front of you and hip distance apart.
- Bending your knees, slide your back down the wall until your knees are at 90 degree angles (or until your bump gets in the way!). Your knees should be directly over your ankles, so move your feet further forward if needs be.
- Hold for up to 30-60 seconds and then slowly stand up. Repeat for 3-5 reps.
- To make this move more challenging, alternate between lifting your left heel for a few seconds and then your right. This targets your calf muscles too.