As the mother of a 9-year-old, I can look back on my pregnancy with fondness. (Candidly, the gestation period wasn't super easy for me, and I suffered from fluid retention, among other things—but I digress.) As someone who has always loved exercise and kept fairly fit, I was keen to continue the same regimen into pregnancy, but I quickly learned that as my body changed, so too did my energy levels and ability to do the same workouts as before. Every pregnancy is different, but the key is to pay attention to your body and tune into what it can (and can't) handle.
Admittedly, navigating what exercises will keep you in shape but are safe for pregnant women can be challenging. To find out more, we tapped LEKFit owner and super-fit mom of two Lauren Kleban to show us a few safe but effective pre- and postnatal moves we can do without leaving the house. Just follow the GIFs and simple step-by-step instructions below.
"As a new mom, you will spend a lot of time lifting some pretty heavy items—stroller, car seat, diaper bag, and of course your growing baby—so now is a great time to start strengthening your biceps."
1. Stand with your feet hip-width apart, shoulders down, core engaged, elbows at your waist, and arms slightly to the side, with palms facing up.
2. Lift and lower your arms doing a bicep curl. Keep your elbows at your waist, and avoid moving them so you can isolate your biceps. Try this 20 times.
Note: Arm workouts can be done with three-pound weights, five-pound weights, two water bottles, or no weights at all.
"Because your biceps will get so much use as a new mom, it's crucial to focus on engaging and strengthening your triceps."
1. Stand with your feet hip-width apart, shoulders down, chest lifted and core engaged, elbows at your waist, and your palms facing in.
2. Extend your arms straight back, squeezing the backs of your arms, and return to the start. Try this 20 times.
"As expecting moms, it's also very important to focus on your deltoid muscles as you'll notice your shoulders get out of whack from slouching while breast or bottle feeding."
1. Stand with you feet hip-width apart, knees soft, shoulders down, chest lifted, and core engaged.
2. Bring bent elbows to your waist, palms facing in, then rotating your arms out to the side and returning to the start. Try this 20 times.
"When we get ready to deliver a baby, our bodies produce a hormone called relaxin. This hormone allows necessary parts to soften and widen. Because we continue to produce this hormone postpartum, I like for my expecting clients to focus on lifting and toning their glutes, inner thighs, and backs of the legs during pregnancy and for a few months post, too."
1. Stand with feet hip-width apart, tap your foot back in a parallel position, lift your leg slightly off the ground, squeeze the glutes, and return the foot.
2. As your belly gets bigger and your equilibrium becomes off, use a chair for balance.
3. Be sure to keep pressure out of your lower back by just lifting your leg enough to engage the glutes. Try this 20 times on each leg.
"I don't advocate anyone do crunches, but I am adamant that expecting moms stop all crunching and, oftentimes, planking in the second trimester. However, continuing to engage your core is crucial for your post-baby body."
1. Standing with your feet hip-width apart (or on your knees resting on a very supportive mat), wrap your arms around your belly and on an inhale, engage your lower abdominal muscles, hold, and release everything on an exhale.
2. You will notice your pelvis lift up and tilt forward as you engage the lower abs, but be sure not to thrust it forward allowing the core to do the work. Try this 10 times, rest, and then repeat 10 more.
For more free workouts, check out the LEKFit YouTube channel.
How do you keep your body healthy during pregnancy?