As a mom-to-be, you have some experience carrying around extra weight. Your expanding baby bump is proof of that. But you’ll soon be faced with the daily task of toting your growing newborn—and all her gear. To help prepare your body for the constant lifting and holding to come, now is the time to strengthen the muscles you’ll use most as a new mom.
According to prenatal and postnatal fitness expert Lindsay Brin, B.S.E., creator of momsintofitness.com, the most important muscles for expectant moms to strengthen are the core (primarily the abdominals and back), biceps, shoulders and quadriceps. “Simple movements like standing up from a chair or the floor with your baby in your arms require a powerful core and quadriceps,” she explains.
Plus, having a new baby means doing the same things over and over (and over!) again. “Just think about how many times you’ll mimic a bicep curl by lifting your baby’s car seat,” says Brin. “You can protect your neck and upper body from the strain caused by nursing or holding your baby by strengthening your shoulders and upper and lower back.”
The following workout was designed by Brin exclusively for Fit Pregnancy as a way to get in top shape before your baby is born. Try to do the exercises three times a week, and some cardio on days in between. Always check with your doctor before beginning this or any exercise program during pregnancy.
Nuts & Bolts Warm up with shoulder rolls and knee bends, or take a 5- to 10- minute walk. Do 10 reps of each exercise, building up to 15. To start, do not use weights. As you become stronger, use 3- to 5-pound dumbbells. Breathe in through your nose and out of your mouth throughout the workout. Cool down with light stretches.