Ready, Set, Push! Prenatal Workout

Strengthen your abs and pelvic floor to prepare for delivery.

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1. Belly Breathing

Strengthen your abs and pelvic floor now for an easier delivery and a lower risk of incontinence later.

Sit with your legs crossed and lower back supported, hands on your belly. Keeping your back and shoulders still, slowly inhale through your nose as you expand your belly. As you exhale through your mouth, draw in your abdominals, bringing your navel toward your spine.

Benefits: Strengthens abdominals.

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2a. Belly Dancing on All Fours

Get down on your hands and knees, wrists under shoulders and knees hip-width apart. Keeping your back flat, draw your abdominals up and in, bringing your navel toward your spine; hold, breathing normally. Tilt your pelvis under, bringing your pubic bone toward your navel [A].

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2b. Belly Dancing on All Fours

Hold and count to 5. When you complete the final rep, stand up by stepping one foot forward and pushing off your thigh with both hands [B].

Benefits: Strengthens abdominals, back and upper body.

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3a. Elevators

Sit with your lower back supported, one hand on your upper belly and the other near your navel [A].

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3b. Elevators

Imagine your transverse is a horizontal elevator with six “floors.” Inhale, then exhale, drawing your abs toward your spine to the fifth floor [B]. Hold and count out loud to 30. Do 5 squeezes from the fifth to the sixth floor.

Benefits: Strengthens abs, especially the transverse.

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4a. Squat Combo

Holding a fixed object, such as a post or a sturdy chair, stand with your feet farther than hip-width apart [A].

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4b. Squat Combo

Lower your body into a deep squat, keeping your weight over your heels [B]. (If your heels do not touch the floor, place a towel under them.) Do a Kegel (see “Most Important Muscles”), then draw your abs in as you exhale. Repeat combo 5 times.

Benefits: Strengthens abs, legs and pelvic floor.

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