Basic Fitness During Pregnancy

The muscles in your lower abdomen, lower back, and around the vagina are under a lot of strain during pregnancy. Here are some simple exercises to help you strengthen the muscles that hold up your growing baby and play an important role during delivery.

Kegel Squeeze

This exercise works the Kegel muscles, the muscles that hold up the pelvic floor. These are the same muscles you use to stop the flow of urine. This exercise is done by tightening, holding, and then relaxing these muscles. This exercise will help keep the vagina, bladder, and rectum in place.

First you need to find the right muscles:

Once you can contract the right muscles:

When you can do 10 to 15 contractions without tiring, gradually increase the time you hold each one, up to a count of 10. Then relax for 10.

Pelvic Tilt

Kegel Squeeze

This exercise relieves back pain and helps maintain and improve abdominal muscle tone. You can do this on the floor or against the wall.

Pelvic tilt variation: You can also do a pelvic tilt against the wall. Stand with your back against a wall. Tighten your abdomen and tuck in your buttocks until your lower back is flat against the wall. Hold it for a count of 5, and then relax.

Tailor Stretch

Tailor Stretch

This exercise stretches your inner thighs.

From the "Birth Day News" series.

Clinical review by Jane Dimer, MD
Group Health
Reviewed 03/01/2014