Pregnancy Exercises: Strengthen Your Pelvic Floor, Core & Posture

Therapeutic Associates

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The information provided on this website is for educational resources only. It is not intended to serve as a recommendation for the treatment or management of any medical condition. As with any new exercise program, it is advised to consult with your physical therapist or healthcare provider prior to performing these activities. The exercises listed are to be performed with NO pain. If you experience any pain or discomfort while performing these exercises, stop immediately and seek attention from your physical therapist or healthcare provider.

There are many benefits to exercising while pregnant. Regular exercise during pregnancy will help you stay in shape and support your body as it copes with the physical challenges of pregnancy and has been shown to reduce the risk of conditions such as gestational diabetes. Furthermore, sticking to a prenatal exercise routine can help alleviate back pain and pelvic pain, boost your mood and energy levels and help you sleep better.

Although it is generally safe to exercise while pregnant, it is important to check with your obstetrician, particularly if you are experiencing, or have experienced, any pregnancy complications. Overall, and in most cases, exercise is safe during pregnancy. The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists suggest women exercise during pregnancy 3-4 times per week at a moderate intensity for 30 minutes or more.

You can do most types of exercise while pregnant, including walking, swimming, yoga, and low-impact aerobic activities such as dancing. Core and pelvic floor exercises, including Kegels, can be especially beneficial before, during and after pregnancy.

A specialist in pelvic health physical therapy can work with you to identify any potential musculoskeletal dysfunctions of the core and pelvic region and determine the best interventions to help you remain strong and healthy throughout and after childbirth. 

The following pregnancy exercises are a great place to start on your journey, but remember, stop any exercise that causes you pain or discomfort and reach out to your doctor or PT before resuming your program.

Start position: On your hands and knees with back completely flat and arms and legs shoulder width apart, tilt pelvis underneath you (tuck your tail) to keep your back in alignment. Repeat on the other side.

End Position: Contract core and pelvic floor muscles, bring arm up slowly to shoulder height, maintaining straight low back with pelvis tucked under. Do 10 reps. Repeat on the other side.

Alternate End position: Bring leg up slowly to hip height, maintaining straight low back with pelvis tucked under. Do 10 reps. Repeat on other side.

Same starting position as quad arm/leg

End position: Contract core and pelvic floor muscles, bring opposite arm and leg up slowly to shoulder and hip height, maintaining straight lower back alignment with pelvis tucked under, and do not let your hips drop. Do 10 reps. Repeat on the other side.

Same starting position as quad arm/leg

End position: Contract core and pelvic floor muscles, bring opposite arm and leg up slowly to shoulder and hip height, maintaining straight lower back alignment with pelvis tucked under, and do not let your hips drop. Do 10 reps. Repeat on the other side.

Start Position: Sit on the ball, with legs spread apart and center of gravity evenly distributed on the ball, with hands on your hips.

End Position: Contract core and pelvic floor, slowly bring leg up in the air with the knee locked to hip height, and slowly lower down. Do 10 reps. Repeat on the other side.

Start Position: Lay on your side with your elbow on the ground at 90 degrees and knees bent

End Position: Contract core and pelvic floor, tuck your tail, and bring your hips straight up in the air with pressure on your knees and forearm. Hold for 10-15 seconds, then relax. Repeat 5 times, then repeat on the other side.

Start Position: Stand against the wall, with ball at your low back and hands on your hips, spread feet shoulder width apart. 

End Position: Slowly bend your knees to about 45 degrees, contract core and pelvic floor, and slide the ball down the wall. Do 20 reps.

Starting Position: Stand with back against the wall and feet out from the wall about a foot. With knees bent, bring arms up and out to the side with elbows at 90 degrees.

Ending Position: Bring hands toward your head and straighten out knees. Repeat 20 reps.

Sitting on the floor, bend both knees and pull feet in facing one another, and try to pull knees towards the floor. You should feel a stretch in your inner thighs. Hold 30 seconds, repeat twice.

Stand against the wall, spread legs apart, and slide down the wall with knees out.  Bend your knees as much as you can. You should feel a stretch in your inner thighs and pelvic floor. Breathe in and out deeply 5 breaths.

Starting Position: Lay on your back and bring your L leg over your R leg, with knee bent and touching the floor. Then bring your L arm over to your R with hand on the mat.

Ending Position: Then extend your L arm over to your L side and try and lay your L arm on the ground. You should feel a good stretch in your arm, back, and hip. Hold for 30 seconds. Repeat on the other side.

Starting Position: Stand, bending over at the hips, put arms on counter or shelf with arms straight. Keep back flat with pelvis tucked underneath to avoid back arching.

Ending Position: Now bring one arm forward with palm facing down, keeping back flat and legs as straight as you can. Hold 10 seconds and repeat on the other side. Repeat 5 times each.

Start your pregnancy journey with the help of a pelvic health physical therapist.

Pelvic health physical therapy addresses the unique musculoskeletal structure of the pelvic floor. If you're looking for additional guidance for exercise during pregnancy, a pelvic health PT can work with you to create a customized plan of care tailored to meet your needs.

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