Mama's New Workout
Stay strong and vigorous throughout pregnancy. Model Kathy Ireland shows you how.
Keeping balanced Your body starts producing relaxin (the hormone that causes the pelvic ligaments to relax during childbirth) months before you give birth, so use caution with jarring activities, since your joints are more vulnerable to injury than ever. As your baby’s increasing size starts to affect your balance, limit activities, such as tennis or racquetball, involving sudden moves. Take your step routine down a notch and trade your road bike for a stationary one.
The easiest way to make sure you’re not working too hard is to take the talk test: “If you can’t carry on a conversation without gasping for breath, slow down,” says Mottola.
You’ll feel the payoffs of prenatal exercise while you’re doing it, and your baby will benefit as well. One of the greatest gifts you can give a child is to be fit enough to welcome her with unlimited energy into the world.
1. Sit squat Place a chair on carpeting to keep it from sliding. Sit squarely on the edge of the chair, placing your feet at least 12 inches away from it. Separate feet to hip width, knees and ankles aligned; place hands on thighs just above knees. Keep torso erect and abdominals lifted. Keeping head up (focus on something in front of you), exhale and stand up, contracting buttocks as you straighten legs (without locking them). As you complete the movement, drop tailbone toward floor to minimize overarching of the lower back. If necessary, press hands against thighs for slight assistance to lift you upward. Inhale, and sit back down. Repeat for 1 set of recommended reps. For second set, repeat the sit squat, lifting one knee up to hip height at completion of movement. Continue to squat, alternating knees for recommended reps. To modify: First trimester: If you’re accustomed to weights, hold 5- to 8-pound dumbbells, arms hanging by sides. Strengthens quadriceps, hamstrings and buttocks.
2. Split lunge Stand with your left side to a chair, holding the top of it for balance. With feet hip-width apart, take a step forward with left foot so torso is balanced between legs, chest lifted and shoulders relaxed. Lift right heel. Bend knees so left knee is directly over left ankle and right knee points toward floor. Your right knee, hip and shoulder should be in line. Straighten both legs, keeping heel lifted, and repeat for reps; then switch legs. To modify: First trimester: Don’t use the chair, and do rear lunge instead, holding 5- to l0-pound dumbbells if you wish. Second trimester: If balance is OK, do split lunge without the chair. Strengthens quadriceps, hamstrings, buttocks and calves.