You're uncomfortable, exhausted and wondering if you'll ever fit into your skinny jeans again. Ladies, we've got your back (and butt)! These total-body exercises will prime your pregnant-woman chassis for labor and delivery.
Research continues to show that exercising while pregnant relieves aches and makes you more likely to return to your pre-pregnancy weight. Plus, babies of fit moms have a lower risk of being overweight than kids of sedentary moms. This workout addresses every aspect of your changing body—from your increasingly wobbly stance to that annoying lower back pain. Plus, doing the exercises as a circuit workout increases your heart rate, making this sculpting session a cardiovascular workout, too.
What to Expect: Two or three times a week, do 1 set of 12 to 15 reps of each move in order without resting in between. Then repeat the entire circuit once (if you're a beginner) or twice (if you've been exercising regularly) more. Try to squeeze in 30 minutes of extra cardio, like walking, on the other days. You'll need a pair of 3- to 5-pound dumbbells.
Pregnancy hormones relax the joints in your pelvic area, shifting your alignment. A strong core will help keep your balance in check and prevent poor posture (which can exacerbate back pain). Plus, the stronger your abs are prebaby, the easier it will be to lose the pooch later on. This is a must-do move for your middle:
Get on your hands and knees with wrists aligned under shoulders and knees under hips
Slowly extend your right leg to hip height behind you, then extend your left arm to shoulder height in front of you
Hold for 2 to 5 breaths
Return to starting position and repeat on opposite side to complete set
Do 1 set of 12 to 15 reps, then go right into the next move.
As your breasts and belly get bigger, your shoulders may round forward and your lower back will arch, causing aches. To prevent pain, and keep you standing tall, strengthen your back and shoulders with this move:
With your feet a stride's length apart, left foot in front, bend your left knee and lower your right heel to the floor
Hold a dumbbell in each hand, arms extended and palms facing each other, and bend forward slightly from your hips
Bend your elbows straight back behind you, drawing weights toward your lower ribs [A]
Lower arms to starting position, then raise them to shoulder height out to your sides [B]
Return to starting position to complete 1 rep.
Repeat for 12 - 15 reps, then go right into the next move.