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Strengthening Exercise During Pregnancy

Each pregnancy is different, and every woman should be specifically advised by the health care provider who is caring for her during her high risk pregnancy.

The following exercises should be performed slowly and with focus. The number of repetitions is only a guide, so if you feel stronger go ahead and increase repetitions, if you feel weak try to do 8-10 repetitions taking as many breaks as you need. You will find yourself getting stronger and being able to complete more repetitions with time. Listen to your body and take advantage of the times when you feel strong. Start with no more than three to four of the strengthening exercises per day.

Wall Push-Up
Push-ups are an excellent way to build strength in your chest, shoulders, triceps and biceps. This exercise is easier than the traditional push-up but still uses the same muscle groups.

  • Put your hands against the wall at shoulder level and a few inches wider than your body.

  • Take a few steps back from the wall so your body is at an angle to the wall.

  • Slowly lower yourself to the wall as you flex your elbows and inhale.

  • Exhale and push yourself back to the starting position.

  • Repeat 8-10 times.

Tricep Counter Dip
This exercise helps strengthen your tricep muscles and can be challenging if you haven't exercised those muscles prior to pregnancy. You can modify it by slightly bending your elbows.

  • Put your hands behind you on the countertop with your palms down.

  • Place your feet in front of you; be careful with your balance.

  • Lower yourself slowly by bending your arms and bending your knees.

  • Keep most of your weight in your upper arms and push yourself back up to the starting position.

  • Repeat 6-8 times.

Bicep Curl
Improving the strength in your biceps is important since you will soon be carrying your baby along with a diaper bag. Gaining strength in the biceps will make this transition much easier.

  • Sit in a chair and put your feet flat on the floor. Your back should be straight.

  • Hold a dumbbell in each hand with your palms facing forward down by the side of your thigh.

  • Slowly exhale, and squeeze your biceps while bringing your hands towards your shoulders. Your elbows should stay stationary.

  • Slowly inhale and return to starting position

  • Repeat 8-10 times.


Side Arm Raises
Increasing shoulder strength is great to prepare yourself for many of the activities that occur during and after pregnancy.

  • Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and hold a dumbbell in each hand.

  • Bend elbows slightly and face palms down.

  • Lift both hands out to sides up to shoulder level.

  • Repeat 6-8 times.

Arm and Leg Reach
Keeping a strong back during pregnancy is essential since you will be carrying extra weight. This exercise will help maintain and/or improve back strength.

  • Place your hands and knees on the floor with a pillow under your knees.

  • Keep your back parallel to the floor and do not allow your back to arch too much.

  • Exhale and slowly lift your right arm while lifting the left leg so they become parallel with your torso.

  • Inhale and repeat by with opposite arm and leg.

  • Repeat 6-8 times.

Walking Lunges
This exercise improves the strength of your thighs and your gluteals. These muscles are very important during labor.

  • Stand up straight with arms at side.

  • Take a big step forward with your right foot and slowly bend both knees as you go down.

  • At the bottom of the exercise your right thigh should be parallel to the ground and your right knee should be in line with your toes.

  • Your left knee should only be a few inches off the ground and your left foot is flexed so the heel is off the ground.

  • Rise and step forward bringing your feet together.

  • Step forward with your left foot and repeat the above steps.

  • Repeat 8 times with each leg.


Side Leg Lift
Since your leg muscles are required to carry more weight during pregnancy it is important to keep your legs and buttocks strong.

  • Lie on your side and use your elbow to prop yourself up. You can also relax your body and head on the floor. For added comfort, place a towel under your hip.

  • Place your top arm in front of you using your hand for support and balance.

  • Lift the top leg up slowly while squeezing your thigh and buttocks and then lower to starting position.

  • Repeat 8-10 times per leg.

Hip Extension Lift
This is another great exercise for strengthening the hamstring and butt muscles.

  • Place knees and elbows on floor.

  • Lift your left leg up so that it makes a straight line with your body.

  • Do not arch your back to lift your leg higher.

  • Focus on squeezing your buttocks as you lift your leg up.

  • Repeat 8-10 times per leg.

Side Adductor Lift
This exercise helps tone your inner thighs.

  • Lie on your side and use your elbow to prop yourself up. You can also relax your body and head on the floor. For added comfort, place a towel under your hip.

  • Place your top arm in front of you using your hand for support and balance.

  • Place your top leg behind your lower leg with your knee bent and foot flat on floor.

  • Slowly lift your lower leg, keeping your foot flexed. Lower.

  • Perform 8-10 repetitions per leg.

Wall Sit
Beware: Your knees should not extend past your toes since this can cause stress to the knees.

  • Lean against a wall with your feet hip-width apart and about 12-14 inches in front of you.

  • Slide your back down the wall, bending your knees, until your thighs are parallel to the floor.

  • Try to hold this position for 10 seconds, then slide back up to starting position.

  • Evenly distribute your weight to both legs.

  • Gradually increase the amount of time you hold this position as tolerated up to approximately 20 seconds.

  • Do this exercise 8-10 repetitions.

Not all exercises or diets are suitable for everyone. Before you begin this program, you should have permission from your doctor to participate in vigorous exercise and change of diet. If you feel discomfort or pain when you exercise, do not continue. The instructions and advice presented are in no way intended as a substitute for medical counseling. The creators, producers, participants and distributors of this site disclaim any liability or loss in connection with the exercise and advice provided here.

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