The early weeks of pregnancy are fragile—and confusing. Here, the answers to your questions.
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Reap the benefits: Start now As prenatal exercise becomes more accepted and encouraged, women are finding all sorts of workouts to do. But you don’t need to get fancy: Our back-to-basics workout, designed by Fit Pregnancy fitness editor Linda Shelton, provides everything you need for overall body conditioning. “These moves will help you maintain your muscle tone during pregnancy and strengthen the muscles you most need to bend and carry and handle the fatigue of early motherhood,” Shelton says. “They’re not complicated, and you can do the whole program in a short period of time. These are the kinds of moves you’d find in any solid weight-training program—exercises for your back, chest, abs, legs and arms.”
Anderson was amazed at how she sailed through what was considered a high-risk pregnancy. “I think I had such an easy time because I’ve made exercise a part of my life and just kept it up during pregnancy,” the Utah mom says. So can you.
Workout for a fit pregnancy
l. ONE-ARM ROW AND KICKBACK Facing a chair, place your right knee on the seat, left foot on floor. Place right hand on chair seat. Bend forward, back parallel to the floor. Hold a dumbbell in your left hand, arm extended down and in line with your shoulder, palm facing in. Bend left elbow up (A). Straighten elbow, pressing dumbbell behind you (B). Bend elbow, then straighten arm back to starting position and repeat. Do reps and repeat on other side. Recommended weight: 5–8 pounds. Strengthens middle back, biceps and triceps.
2. CURL AND LIFT Sit erect on the edge of an armless chair with feet on floor, arms hanging down. Hold a dumbbell in each hand, palms facing forward. Bend elbows, bringing dumbbells toward shoulders and rotating palms inward (A). With elbows by your sides, lift your arms to shoulder height, elbows bent (B). Lower arms to your sides and then straighten to starting position; repeat. Recommended weight: 5–8 pounds. Strengthens biceps and shoulders.
3. SEATED KNEE CRUNCH Sit on the edge of a chair with feet on the floor. Lean back so only your upper back and shoulders are supported. (Prop a pillow behind you, if necessary.) Pull navel toward spine; hold this position and bend one knee up toward your chest. Lower foot to floor, maintaining torso position, and alternate with other leg. Strengthens abdominals.
4. CHEST FLY Lie faceup on the floor or on an incline bench, knees bent and feet flat, with your shoulders supported by enough pillows that your head and shoulders are above your belly. Holding a dumbbell in each hand, extend arms directly above your chest, elbows slightly bent in an arc, until knuckles touch (A). Maintaining this arc and without arching back, open arms out and down toward the floor. Stop when you feel a stretch in your chest muscles (B). Return to starting position and repeat. Recommended weight: 5–12 pounds. Strengthens chest, shoulders and triceps.