How to stay fit and strong throughout your pregnancy in 3 steps

Using a Swiss ball can help a pregnant woman maintain balance and stability as her belly grows. (Shutterstock)

Pregnant women who exercise usually have less back pain, more energy, and a faster return to their pre-pregnancy shape post-delivery.

Using a Swiss ball can help a pregnant woman maintain balance and stability as her belly grows, and help keep abdominal muscles strong. The three exercises below can be performed safely through all three trimesters. They will help you stay strong and prepare your muscles for labor, delivery and beyond.

Swiss ball seated row

* sit tall on the ball, feet flat on floor, hip-width apart, and knees above ankles

* extend arms in front of body and take hold of the resistance band

* exhale: pinch your shoulder blades together, then row the resistance toward you

* keep arms close to the sides of the body - do not allow elbows to go past your torso

* inhale: slowly return to start position to complete one rep

* perform two to three sets of eight to 12 repetitions each

(Photo courtesy: Vahdaneh Vahid)

(Photo courtesy: Vahdaneh Vahid)

Swiss ball wall squat

* hold the ball behind you and stand so it is pinned between your back and the wall

* place your feet about two feet in front of your body, wider than hip-distance apart

* keeping your back in contact with the ball, lower your body until your upper thighs are at least parallel to the floor

* lift your arms straight out in front of your chest

* return back up the start position to complete one rep

* avoid bouncing through the movement - keep it slow and controlled, and do not round your lower back

* perform two to three sets of eight to 12 repetitions each

(Photo courtesy: Vahdaneh Vahid)

(Photo courtesy: Vahdaneh Vahid)

Swiss ball upper-abdominal crunch

Training your abdominals while pregnant can be problematic as the inferior vena cava is compressed when the back is in a flat position. That is why it is far safer to execute the crunch on a Swiss ball in an incline position (facing up).

During pregnancy, many women experience a separation of their stomach muscles, which is more likely to occur during the second or third trimester. Performing this exercise focuses on the upper two abdominals - keeping them strong will help with natural birth.

* sit up on the ball and slowly walk your feet forward, keeping them in front of your knees

* continue taking small steps until your mid-back rests against the ball, feet are flat on the floor and knees bent

* your hips should be lower than your shoulders, and your body should be at an incline

* bring your arms up and place your fingers on your temples

* exhale and engage your core muscles as you lift your head, arms and shoulders up and forward

* release and return to incline position

* once you have completed one set, walk your feet back in so you can sit up and rest

* use your leg, back and buttock muscles to stabilize each position

* perform two to three sets of eight to 12 repetitions each

(Photo courtesy: Vahdaneh Vahid)

(Photo courtesy: Vahdaneh Vahid)

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Last Update: 06:47 KSA 09:47 - GMT 06:47
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