You often hear people talk of how they can prepare themselves for labour, but what is less often discussed is how you can prepare yourself physically to get ready to look after a new born baby.
Primarily the abdominals and back muscles. New mums often suffer from lower back pain, however, this can be prevented with adequate core strength and awareness.
Stand with your back against a wall & press it into the wall as you inhale. As you exhale, tilt your pelvis to create a small arch between your lower back and the wall. Continue, moving with your breath, to tone and strengthen your abdominals.
Begin on all fours, with your tummy pulled in. As you exhale extend one leg straight out behind you, you can extend the opposite arm at the same time if you wish. Your core strength will work to balance your body, strengthening both your back and abdominal muscles.
Quads & Glutes
You will need extra strength in your quad muscles to deal with carrying your growing child and their accessories around with you.
One of the most effective ways to strengthen your quad and glute muscles is to squat. This is also a great way to burn calories as you are working such large muscle groups. Ensure feet are wide enough to give your bump room, and move slowly, with the breath. Inhale to lower, exhale back to standing. Slow and deep squats will drastically improve the strength in your legs, especially when you have the added weight of your bump.
Get some fresh air, with some hill walking. Walking up hills works your leg muscles that much harder than walking on flat pavements. If you can't get out for one reason or another, you can always make do with going up and down stairs.
Bicep & Shoulders
To assist you in carrying your baby around, extra arm strength is always helpful.
Wall Press Ups
Stand with your hands flat against a wall, and your arms fully extended. Bend your arms as you lower your chest towards the wall and exhale to push your body back up to a standing position.
Focus on lots of repetition as opposed to heavy weights to increase your strength and endurance, without putting too much pressure on your body. Hold a small dumb bell in each hand and perform a full bicep curl. You can alternate sides if it gets too much.
Exercise is fully endorsed in pregnancy; however no one rule fits all applies to prenatal mums. So the key is to listen to your body. If you don’t feel up to exercising, then don’t.
If you previously exercised continue to do what you were doing ( within reason…no contact sports!) Don’t decide to try a new sport or gym routine, stick to what your body knows.
If you only manage to focus on one thing, ensure it is your Pelvic Floor and if you are unsure what is safe to do in pregnancy seek a prenatal fitness instructor.