As you embark on the journey of pregnancy, continuing a modified and appropriate exercise program is important not only important for your own health but also for your future little one’s health. Lucky for pregnant New Yorkers, there’s a new prenatal exercise class in town, PROnatal Fitness.
Founded earlier this year by Brittany Citron, a certified personal trainer with a specialization in prenatal and postpartum exercise design, PROnatal Fitness is an hour-long class that follows this breakdown: warm-up, 5 cardio/strength circuits, core and cool-down/stretch. Brittany provides modifications for most exercise moves to welcome all levels.
While we realize that such a class is not available to everyone, finding time to exercise can truly have a positive impact on your body during pregnancy, labor and even afterwards. Below find Brittany’s top 5 moves for incorporating into your own prenatal exercise routine, no matter where you work out.
- TVA Holds
Muscles worked: Your innermost abdominal muscle – your transverse abdominis (TVA) – AKA, your body’s inner “girdle.”
Why they’re good for you: Your TVA is the most critical muscle to focus on to help you have an easier pregnancy, delivery and labor. It wraps around your entire mid-section from your spine to the front of your abdominal wall, and is primarily responsible for “holding everything in,” supporting your back and keeping excess pressure away from your external abdominal wall. It is also the muscle you use to push the baby out!
Muscles worked: Pelvic Floor muscles
Why they’re good for you: The muscles of your pelvic floor are critical deep core muscles responsible for holding up your pelvic organs (including your growing uterus), and controlling when you urinate. Your growing uterus places a lot of pressure on your pelvic floor muscles, which can weaken them. This can lead to incontinence, hip and sacroiliac joint pain, and bladder or rectum prolapse. Learning to activate these muscles now will help you to be able to rehabilitate your pelvic floor faster and easier following delivery.
Muscles worked: Almost every muscle (abs, back, butt, upper and lower legs)
Why they’re good for you: Squats are one of the most beneficial exercises you can do (pregnant or not) because they work so many muscles at once. The other reasons they are so beneficial for pregnant women are 1) they keep your pelvis in a stable position so there is less chance for hip or pelvic irritation, and 2) they help to prepare your body for the demands of early motherhood when it is best to squat vs. bend over due to the strain that bending over puts on your weak abdominal muscles.
- Floor Bridges
Muscles worked: Glutes, hamstrings and low back
Why they’re good for you: Glute exercises are great during pregnancy because these muscles work with your core muscles to support your back and stabilize your hips, which means less low back and hip pain! These exercises strengthen your glutes while keeping your pelvis in a stable position.
- Swimmer Strokes (i.e Breaststroke and Butterfly arm movements while seated, hinging forward)
Muscles worked: Upper and lower Why they’re good for you: The weight of your growing breasts can often pull your shoulders forward into a rounded, slumped position, which can become exaggerated if you breastfeed. These exercises strengthen the opposing muscles to counteract, prevent and/or correct the forward pull – improving your posture and reducing pain.
** Note: You can also perform this exercise standing, and bending forward at the hips so that your torso is parallel to the ground. Though if you are in the later stages of pregnancy, this may put too much pressure on your back.