More than kegels: 3 exercises to prep your pelvic floor for pregnancy

A balance in strength and flexibility in the pelvis will keep the body stable during pregnancy.

More than kegels: 3 exercises to prep your pelvic floor for pregnancy

We talked to Solange Ross, a physical therapist, mom of three and owner of Complete Core by Solange, which specializes in strengthening your core and pelvic floor during your childbearing years. Want to prep your body for the babymaking process?

Here’s what Solange shared about how to do it:

Before you get pregnant is the time to understand the foundation of the body and begin to strengthen the muscles that provide support to the pelvis.

Postural stability is essential in pregnancy to counterbalance the laxity in joints and ligaments that occurs from the increase in pregnancy hormones.

There is also increased demand on a woman’s body due to weight gain, increased curves of the spine and postural changes as the center of gravity moves forward. A balance in strength and flexibility in the pelvis will keep the body stable during pregnancy.

It is important to include exercises that stabilize the pelvis into your exercise program. This begins with the deep core muscles that are involved with breathing. When it comes to pregnancy the core is the relationship between the diaphragm, Transverse Abdominus (deepest layer of the abdominal muscles that corsets around the waist), pelvic floor, and Multifidus. This system of muscles gives support to our internal organs, pelvic contents, and growing baby.

Practicing diaphragmatic breathing and learning how to coordinate the pelvic floor and Transverse Abdominus contraction and relaxation with the breath cycle is important for good pelvic floor function during pregnancy.

There are also key muscle groups that attach to the pelvis that provide stability and work together with the breathing system.

Try these 3 exercises to give you a sense of connecting to your deep core and pelvic stabilizers. Add 2-3 sets of 12 repetitions of each exercise into your gym program.

1. Table Top with Yoga Block

Lie on your back with legs in table top position. There should be space on the sides underneath the lumbar curve but not all the way underneath in the center. Inhale breathe into the rib cage and belly. Exhale using a soft “shh” or “haa” sound as you draw the lower belly inward and slightly upward. Squeeze the yoga block to help you connect to the pelvic floor and lower abdominal area.

2. Single Leg Bridge

Lie on your back with one knee bent, the opposite leg lifted. Inhale to prepare, exhale draw the lower abdominals inward, squeeze the back of the thigh and glute, and lift hips off the mat. Place your hands at the bony parts in the front of the pelvis and check that they stays level as you lift. Press evenly through your foot and make sure you are not over-arching the back.

Getting into a good stretching routine and integrating stretches throughout the day is a great habit to get into for pregnancy.

3. Side Leg Raise

Lie on your side with the bottom leg bent, top leg straight and aligned with your torso. Inhale to prepare, exhale draw the lower abdominals inward and lift the top leg up. Hold the leg at the top of the movement and lower with control. Make sure you are not collapsing into your waist or moving the leg forward as you lift. You should feel this exercise on the side of your hip, not in your waist or lower back.

Strengthening the pelvic stabilizers and postural system will help to create a stable base to support a healthy pregnancy. These muscles are typically underutilized without a targeted exercise program. Focusing on these areas will improve posture and body mechanics during daily activities. It will also help postnatally in recovery after birth.

Photos: Luba Grosman Photography.

14 outdoor toys your kids will want to play with beyond summer

They transition seamlessly for indoor play.

With Labor day weekend in the rearview and back-to-school in full swing, most parents are fresh out of boxes to check on their "Fun Concierge" hit list. It's also the point of diminishing returns on investing in summer-only toys. So with that in mind, we've rounded up some of our favorite toys that are not only built to last but will easily make the transition from outdoor to indoor play. Even better, they're Montessori-friendly and largely open-ended so your kids can get a ton of use out of them.

From sunny backyard afternoons to rainy mornings stuck inside, these toys are sure to keep little ones engaged and entertained.

Meadow ring toss game

Plan Toys meadow ring toss game

Besides offering a fantastic opportunity to hone focus, coordination, determination and taking turns, lawn games are just plain fun. Set them up close together for the littles and spread them out when Mom and Dad get in on the action. With their low profile and rope rings, they're great for indoors as well.


Balance board

Plan Toys balance board

Balance boards are a fabulous way to get the wiggles out. This one comes with a rope attachment, making it suitable for even the youngest wigglers. From practicing their balance and building core strength to working on skills that translate to skateboarding and snowboarding, it's a year-round physical activity that's easy to bring inside and use between Zoom classes, too!


Detective set

Plan Toys detective setDetective Set

This set has everything your little detective needs to solve whatever mystery they might encounter: an eye glasses, walkie-talkie, camera, a red lens, a periscope and a bag. Neighborhood watch? Watch out.


Wooden doll stroller

Janod wooden doll strollerWooden Doll Stroller

Take their charges on a stroll around the block with this classic doll stroller. With the same versatility they're used to in their own ride, this heirloom quality carriage allows their doll or stuffy to face them or face the world.


Sand play set

Plan Toys sand set

Whether you're hitting the beach or the backyard sandbox, this adorable wooden sand set is ready for action. Each scoop has an embossed pattern that's perfect for sand stamping. They're also totally suitable for water play in the wild or the bathtub.


Water play set

Plan Toys water play set

Filled with sand or water, this tabletop sized activity set keeps little ones busy, quiet and happy. (A mama's ideal trifecta 😉). It's big enough to satisfy their play needs but not so big it's going to flood your floors if you bring the fun inside on a rainy day.


Mini golf set

Plan Toys mini golf set

Fore! This mini golf set is lawn and living room ready. Set up a backyard competition or incorporate into homeschooling brain breaks that shift focus and build concentration.


Vintage scooter balance bike

Janod retro scooter balance bike

Pedals are so 2010. Balance bikes are the way to go for learning to ride a bike while skipping the training wheels stage altogether. This impossibly cool retro scooter-style is built to cruise the neighborhood or open indoor space as they're learning.


Wooden rocking pegasus

plan toys wooden rocking pegasus

Your little will be ready to take flight on this fun pegasus. It gently rocks back and forth, but doesn't skimp on safety—its winged saddle, footrests and backrest ensure kids won't fall off whether they're rocking inside or outside.


Croquet set

Plan Toys croquet set

The cutest croquet set we've ever seen! With adorable animal face wooden balls and a canvas bag for easy clean up, it's also crafted to stick around awhile. Round after round, it's great for teaching kiddos math and problem-solving skills as well.


Wooden digital camera

fathers factory wooden digital camera

Kids get the chance to assemble the camera on their own then can adventure anywhere to capture the best moments. With two detachable magnetic lenses, four built-in filters and video recorder, your little photographer can tap into their creativity from summertime to the holidays.


Wooden bulldozer toy

plan toys wooden bulldozer toy

Whether they're digging up sand in the backyad or picking up toys inside, kids can get as creative as they want picking up and moving things around. Even better? Its wooden structure means it's not an eye sore to look at wherever your digger drops it.


Pull-along hippo

janod toys pull along hippo toy

There's just something so fun about a classic pull-along toy and we love that they seamlessly transition between indoor and outdoor play. Crafted from solid cherry and beechwood, it's tough enough to endure outdoor spaces your toddler takes it on.


Baby forest fox ride-on

janod toys baby fox ride on

Toddlers will love zooming around on this fox ride-on, and it's a great transition toy into traditional balance bikes. If you take it for a driveway adventure, simply use a damp cloth to wipe down the wheels before bringing back inside.


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