Feel Better Now! Prenatal Exercises to Ease Aches and Pains

Don’t think of this as exercise. These pregnancy-safe moves ease back and leg pain and help you sleep.
ByElena Donovan Mauer
Updated
Mar 2017
Arrangement of exercise gear, a water bottle, sports bra, shoes and free weights.
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Photo: Alexandra Grablewski

Leg roll

This maneuver will give you a nice calf massage and promote circulation, which could reduce swelling. Sit and put your arms down at your sides. Bend your right leg so your foot is flat on the floor. Straighten your left leg, placing it over your roller. Push down with your arms and right leg, rolling your leg back and forth over the roller. Do it one to two minutes per muscle area, then switch to the other leg.

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Photo: Alexandra Grablewski

Walking the dog

More relief for aching calves. Get on your hands and knees and push yourself up into an inverted V so your legs are straight. Push up and back with your arms so your legs get a nice stretch. Relax your neck and head. Hold for 30 seconds. Then alternate bending each knee for five breaths.

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Photo: Alexandra Grablewski

Variation

If your wrists are aching because of carpal tunnel, do these stretches standing against a wall.

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Photo: Alexandra Grablewski

Spinal extension

Some moms-to-be find it tough to work out their back, because you need to lie on your stomach for many back exercises—but this yoga-based pose is totally doable. Just get on your hands and knees, with your hands directly under your shoulders and your knees directly under your hips. You can put your hands flat on the mat, but if your wrists hurt, make fists instead. Then, extend the opposite arm and leg at the same time and hold for several seconds. Do 10 reps on each side.

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Photo: Alexandra Grablewski

Cat and cow pose

Got backaches? On all fours, curve your back up (like a cat) and drop your head, then do the opposite, arching your back down and looking up. Repeat 5 to 10 times.

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Photo: Alexandra Grablewski

Reverse fly

Prevent further back pain by strengthening your back muscles with this move. Holding dumbbells, stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and knees bent. Bend forward from your hips and raise both arms out to the side, squeezing your shoulder blades together behind you. Do 3 sets of 20.

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Photo: Alexandra Grablewski

Wall-assisted lunges

Your belly throws your center of gravity off, which makes it much easier to lose your balance, so use the wall to keep yourself stable. With one hand on the wall, step forward, extend one leg in front of the other and bend at the knee. Be careful not to extend beyond your ankle. If you’re having a tough time keeping your balance, take stepping out of the equation: Stand still with your feet apart, knees facing forward and simply bend down and then up. Do 3 sets of 10 on each side.

The benefit? It works your thighs and butt. Plus, working your muscles helps your body settle down to “repair” at bedtime — and that translates to a better night’s sleep for you.

NICOLE’S TIPS

Drink up: Drink lots of water to prevent dehydration and help with those aches and pains.

Eat bananas: They will replenish your potassium levels and help prevent muscle cramps.

Do walking workouts: The Slimnastics Anti-aging Walking Workout DVD is a safe, effective way to get cardio during pregnancy.

Thanks to Nicole Glor, creator of NikkiFitness Baby Bootie Camp and The Slimnastics Workout, who put together the moves and showed us how to do them.

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