Stand with your legs hip-width apart, hands on your hips. Pull your navel toward your spine to stand tall, tailbone pointing down to the floor. Squeeze your shoulder blades down and back (A). Keeping your body weight toward your heels, bend both knees, lowering hips to the floor as if sitting in a chair; don’t let your knees extend over your toes (B). Straighten legs to starting position, squeezing buttocks at the top of the lift to bring your hips back under your shoulders. Do 2 sets of 15 reps. What it does for you: This move works all lower-body muscles at the same time and tones your thighs and butt. Trimester tip: Hold on to the back of a chair for balance in the third trimester.
5. STANDING HIP LIFT
Stand with your right side to a chair. Hold on to the back for support and place your left hand on your hip. Shift your weight to your right leg so you are balanced without leaning; lift your left foot off the floor and slightly in front of the midline of your body (A). Keeping your hips and shoulders square, and without rotating your hips or shoulders, sweep your left leg up and out to the left (B). Return to starting position and repeat for reps; then switch sides. Do 2 sets of 15 reps. What it does for you: This move strengthens and tones your upper hips and strengthens the hip rotators, which can help to prevent sciatica. It also helps to keep your hips stable as your pelvis expands and loosens in pregnancy (a response to the relaxin hormone).
6. BALLET LEGS
Stand with your right side to a chair. Hold on to the back for support and place your left hand on your hip. Bend your left knee to rest your left foot against your right calf (A). Extend your left leg out in front of you (B), then return to A. Without leaning forward, extend your left leg behind you (C), squeezing buttocks; then return to A. Repeat for reps; switch to other side. Do 2 sets of 15 reps on each leg. What it does for you: This move helps to strengthen and tone your legs and butt; it also teaches you how to maintain balance as your belly grows.