Easy Exercise Moves for Moms-to-Be

Simple exercises that prevent weight gain, soothe aches, and strengthen your muscles for a speedy labor. Wahoo!

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Pretty soon, you'll have a new 7-pound weight to lift (aka your baby). In the meantime, try these toners from fitness pro Tracey Mallett, author of Super Fit Mama. They'll strengthen your bod for carrying Baby (and labor!), and are recommended for all pregnant women who get their doc's OK. You'll need a set of 3- to 8-pound dumbbells, a pillow, and a mat. Aim for two sets of 12 reps per exercise (except for the Birthing Squat), three to four days per week. As pregnancy progresses, decrease the weights, take breaks, or do fewer reps. Also, go for 20 to 30 minutes of moderate cardio, like speed walking, a few times a week. What to wear while doing all this?

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Amy Saidens

Standing Biceps Curl

What it does: Strengthens arms and shoulders for holding Baby and improves posture

How to do it: Stand with legs hip-width apart and knees bent into a half-squat, holding dumbbells in front of thighs. Curl weights up to chest and slowly lower back to start.

As your belly grows: Take a wider stance and straighten your legs a bit; this will help stabilize you.

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Pregnancy Workouts: Easy Beginner Exercises

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Birthing Squat

What it does: Tones legs, butt, and pelvic floor

How to do it: Stand with legs wider than hip-width apart and bend knees into a deep squat until you hover several inches above the mat or floor. Place hands in prayer position in front of chest and use elbows to gently open knees wide. Hold for 30 seconds.

As your belly grows: Lower your tailbone to a pillow or do it against a wall.

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Amy Saidens

Side-Lying Clam

What it does: Tones abs, buttocks, thighs, and pelvic floor

How to do it: Lie on right side with knees bent, head on right arm. Open leg so knee points up; hold for three seconds; lower. Do one set. Repeat on left side.

As your belly grows: Do the move with your back against a wall.

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Amy Saidens

Leg Extension

What it does: Improves lower-body strength; tones abs and pelvic floor

How to do it: Start on all fours. Slowly straighten right leg and lift up to hip height. Hold for three seconds. Lower and repeat with left leg; continue alternating.

As your belly grows: Do the move on a soft surface to protect knees.

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Celebrity Pregnancy Workout: Stand Tall

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Pelvic Pillow Bridge

What it does: Strengthens pelvic floor, hips, and inner thighs

How to do it: Lie with knees bent, feet flat, arms at sides, pillow between knees. Lift hips about six inches; squeeze pillow for three seconds; lower.

As your belly grows: Sit up or lean back against a bed.

Originally published in the October 2011 issue of American Baby magazine.

All content, including medical opinion and any other health-related information, is for informational purposes only and should not be considered to be a specific diagnosis or treatment plan for any individual situation. Use of this site and the information contained herein does not create a doctor-patient relationship. Always seek the direct advice of your own doctor in connection with any questions or issues you may have regarding your own health or the health of others.

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