MOVE YOUR BODY! SOFTLY

HOW TO KEEP PREGNANCY FIT.

Start exercising now, you will be grateful later when you will be able to get your post-pregnancy body back into ship shape in no time at all.

Kegel exercises

Start with the most simple but also most effective workout. Kegel exercises are named after Dr. Arnold Kegel and involve contracting and relaxing the muscles that form part of the pelvic floor. The aim of Kegel exercises is to fortify the muscle tone of the pelvic floor. They are popularly prescribed for pregnant women to prepare the pelvic floor for the physiological stresses of the later stages of pregnancy and childbirth.

Squeeze the muscles that you use to stop the flow of urine. Hold for 10 seconds, then release. Do this between 10 and 20 times in a row, at least three times a day.

Overhead wall stretch

This exercise improves your posture. Stand with your back against a wall, arms out and palms facing forward. Take a deep breath, exhale and slowly raise your arms until you feel resistance. Hold for 15 seconds. If you can't keep your hands on the wall, lower your arms until you can. Hold the position and then try to stretch up.

The back-lying pelvic tilt

Lie on your back with your knees squared with your shoulders. Place one hand on your belly and the other just under the small of your back. Take a deep belly breath, expanding your abdomen as you do so. Tilt your bottom up, hold and then press your back to the floor as you exhale. Do a set of 10 tilts daily.

Don't lie on your back for more than three minutes or you run the risk of compressing your vena cava, a major blood vessel from your heart. If you start to feel dizzy or lightheaded at any point during these exercises, roll onto your side immediately

The head lift

If you are feeling fit, you can add head lifts to your pelvic tilt.

Wrap a long scarf around your middle and pull the two ends across your belly. Lie on your back with your knees squared with your shoulders. Rest your elbows on the floor and hold the ends of the scarf together on top of your belly. Bring your belly button back towards your spine, hold it there and press the small of your back to the floor (essentially, the pelvic tilt described above). Then pull the two halves of the scarf together as you gently lift your chin to your chest (not too high) and push your belly button further toward the floor.  Release the belly button as you lower your head again.

Start with one set of 10 head lifts a day. Work up to three sets of 20 and then three sets of 30. Remember, don't stay longer than three minutes on your back and if you start to feel dizzy, roll onto your side.

Download this poster for a step-by-step illustrated guide on how to do these exercises.

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