Tool: Pregnancy Workout Plan
Need a workout that will ease some of the aches and pains of pregnancy without giving you new aches and pains? Try the following these exercises on a daily basis and add some light stretching for flexibility. Remember to stretch the large muscle groups, such as your quads, hamstrings, chest, and back — this will help to prevent pregnancy-induced injuries and relieve discomfort. If this routine works for you, click the image below to download the pdf version of our workout plan, or simply print out this page.
[ ] Monday: 20 to 30 minutes of cardio activity, such as walking, light jogging (if performed prior to pregnancy), or swimming
[ ] Tuesday: Core and pelvic floor work*
[ ] Wednesday: 20 to 30 minutes of cardio activity
[ ] Thursday: Upper and lower body strength training*
[ ] Friday: 20 to 30 minutes of cardio activity
[ ] Saturday: Core and pelvic floor work, upper and lower strength training
Core and Pelvic Floor Exercises
Core (Abdominal) Exercises
Start by lying on your side with your hips stacked and both legs bent, knees pointing forward. Place your left arm on the floor with your left ear resting on your biceps. With your toes together, lift your right knee without changing your hip position, and exhale, drawing your abs toward your spine. Slowly return to starting position. Do 10 to 15 reps; then switch sides.
If you’re in your first trimester, start by lying on your back. Otherwise, sit in a chair or lie on the floor with two pillows elevating your upper body. Bend your legs into a tabletop position with your shins parallel to the ceiling (if you’re in a chair, keep them parallel to the wall, feet lifted) and your arms at your sides. Exhale, drawing in your abs, and gently dip the right foot toward the floor; then repeat with the left foot. Do 10 reps per leg.
Pelvic Floor (Kegel) Exercises
Kegel exercises (named after the gynecologist who created them) strengthen the muscles in the base of the pelvis. They can be done sitting, standing, or lying down — and you can do them in your car, at a meeting, or over coffee with a friend because no one can tell!
To do them, imagine you’re contracting the muscles to stop yourself from peeing. Just pull these muscles up, taking care not to use other muscles, like your butt, belly, or inner thighs, to compensate (these areas should remain relaxed and your pelvis should stay still). Then, slowly relax your pelvic floor.
Squeeze the pelvic floor quickly and as hard as you can for one second, rest for one second. Do two sets of 10 each day.
Squeeze the pelvic floor as hard as you can and hold for five seconds. Start with two sets of five, two to three times per day. Progress slowly to 10 reps of 10-second holds, two to three times per day. Ultimately, to keep up your pelvic floor strength, work up to 30 to 45 10-second contractions.
Upper and Lower Body Exercise
Squats With Triceps Extension
Start by holding a pair of 5- to 8-pound dumbbells with your arms at your sides and feet shoulder-width apart. Squat, keeping your weight centered over your heels, and simultaneously do biceps curls with both arms. Do 10 reps.
Lunges With Shoulder Rises
Start with the right leg in front and the left leg back, balancing on the ball of your left foot, hips facing forward. Keep your arms bent at your sides with your body slightly pitched forward at the hips. Bend both knees into a lunge and extend the elbows at the same time. Do 10 to 15 reps; then switch legs and repeat.
Plies With Reverse Fly
Start with your legs turned out at the hips, your feet pointing away from each other. Keep your elbows bent with your arms in front of your chest and your palms facing. Slightly pitch your body forward at the hips, keeping your back straight and drawing in your abs. Bend both knees into a plie and pull back the arms leading with the elbows as your draw your shoulder blades together. Extend the legs and lower your arms back to start position. Do 10 to 15 reps.