ABOUT PRENATAL EXERCISE
What Are the Benefits of Prenatal Exercise?
The benefits of prenatal exercise include improved level of physical conditioning creating strength, flexibility and stamina during the pregnancy term, labor and delivery, and the postnatal recovery period. Exercise during pregnancy can also help reduce meconium aspiration, which is when the fetus makes a bowel movement while inside the womb during labor. If meconium is swallowed by the baby when he takes his first breath it can lead to breathing problems. Exercise during pregnancy can also shorten the length of labor, and possibly reduce the risk of cesarean section. For the top 10 Benefits of Exercise in Pregnancy, go to: www.whattoexpect.com. Always consult your physician or midwife before doing any kind of exercise program, especially while pregnant.
by Kimberly Lou, California Beach Mommy
“People who say they sleep like a baby usually don’t have one” (Burke)
Being pregnant can feel much like standing on the edge of cliff, getting ready to jump, without a parachute. Your whole life is about to change. Even though it’s a good change, it can still feel scary and no amount of research can or will prepare you for what you’re about to go through and the emotions you will experience as a result of having a baby. California Beach Mommy is here to help you manage both extreme ends of the emotional spectrum, so you can appreciate such a miraculous process and conquer the anxiety and tension through a very powerful weapon: Exercise.
“Feeling the Burn” while exercising can be exhilarating, however, this is not the time to push through your workout. This is supposed to be fun. In addition, your body is going through some major changes right now, the biggest one being that it is secreting a massive amount of hormones, which aid in loosening up your hips and inner thighs to help prepare you for the birthing process. It is in your best interest to honor your body and ease into everything you do, because if you are not mindful then you may pull a muscle or injure yourself.
Don’t try to be supermom. Do what can; what you can’t, save for another day. A suggestion: Pick five of the following exercises each day and gradually add more as your routine progresses. Another suggestion: add more reps to your favorite exercises.
Sometimes exercising can be too much for you and you may just need to sit still and breathe. If you’re feeling light-headed or out of breath, stop. Your body and unborn baby will tell you exactly what they need, as long as you quiet your mind enough to listen.
Today we will give you some tools to help prepare you for the changes that are about to take place in your life and in your body. It’s about everything that happens before, during, and after birth. But remember this is not a race. This routine is focused on helping you slow down, connect with your unborn baby, strengthen your core and legs and visualize your perfect birth to prepare you for this pivotal moment. Birth will require that you use every square inch, of every muscle, in every part of your body.
So let us help you prepare for your rock star moment! It’s your time to shine.
The following visioning technique will help you soak in positive energy from the earth, which will allow you to ground yourself, surround the toxic thoughts and energy and send them to the core of the earth where they will disintegrate and evaporate, never to be seen again.
Let’s begin with 5 minutes of visualizing. Close your eyes and be still. Breathe deeply until you can envision the most beautiful place that you have ever been. The most calming moment you’ve ever had. The most enjoyment that you have ever experienced. What does it look like? How does it smell? What does it taste like? How does it feel? Is there a texture to it? Take another deep breath and let it envelope your whole entire body.
Now, imagine roots growing from the base of your tale bone, penetrating the soil and grounding themselves to the core of the earth. Draw up the rich nutrients of the pure healing soil to energize your body. As the nutrients are infusing you, imagine those nutrients gravitating towards all the toxics thoughts and negative energy in your body and channel it back down to the core of the earth, where they will never be seen again.
Now journey to the center of the sun and feel the warmth of the rays bathing your skin. Lift your hands and soak in the sun through your fingertips and allow it to travel through your whole entire body. Feel your heart expanding. Take a deep breath and hold it, for 5, 4, 3, 2, 1 and exhale through your mouth slowly. Again, Take a deep breath and hold it, for 5, 4, 3, 2, 1 and exhale, and lastly Take your breath and hold it, for 5, 4, 3, 2, 1 and exhale.
While breathing set your intention of what you want from this exercise and from your entire birthing process. Imagine connecting with your unborn baby, and sending him/her love. Visualize and hold these intentions throughout your entire workout. For example, positive energy, a calm peaceful birth, smoother contractions/birthing waves, or whatever your intention is. It may be something completely different like reducing the swelling in your ankles or better yet, seeing your feet again.
OK… Let’s begin by taking the pressure off of your back.
Cat Stretches – Kneel down and place your hands on the floor, in front of your knees, and directly underneath your shoulders, keeping them straight to support your back. Knees shoulder width apart. Roll your shoulders forward. Flex the spine by hunching your back up like a cat, chin to chest. Hold your stretch and release.
When you’re ready, slowly stand up. I emphasize slowly, because standing up too quickly, especially while being pregnant, can cause you to feel light-headed.
Now let’s focus on loosening your hips. Once you’re warm we will begin with 5 minutes of dancing. You can either dance slow or fast, but most importantly, move your hips. This is a really great way to lighten your mood and to get warm. Your baby will enjoy this too, because we all know if momma’s not happy… Nobody’s happy.
Slowly begin to do a figure 8 with your hips for 26 repetitions. This gently loosens your inner thighs and hips (this is also good to do while in labor, it worked wonders for me to move me through each contraction)
Now let’s strengthen your back and legs.
Stand with your legs, slightly bent and shoulder width apart. Move your hips in a clockwise motion, 10 repetitions one direction, and then switch and do the other direction. After you’ve finished, lift your toes 10 times.
Basic squat. Standing with your legs shoulder width apart and squat down as if you are going to sit in a chair, then come up. Do this for 5 repetitions.
Complete 5 lunges by slowly stepping forward, allowing both knees to bend so that the thigh of the forward leg is parallel to the floor and the knee of the rear leg touches the floor. Then, slowly push off with the forward leg to return to the standing position. If this movement is too difficult to perform due to weakness, do not perform the full movement. Standing Kick Backs; holding onto the back of a chair, kick your right leg back and up; hold for 1 second for 10 reps. Switch leg and repeat.
Hip Flexors; holding onto the back of a chair, Bring your knee up in front of you and move it in a clockwise motion for the count of 10, switch directions and do 10 more. Now switch legs. Seated leg squat. Squat down, like you’re sitting in a chair, with your legs just a bit wider then shoulder width apart. Stay there for 30 seconds to 1 minute.
Side leg lifts; Lie on your side with legs parallel to the ground. Bring your top leg up and then extend it toward the wall, making it appear longer then the bottom leg; this targets a different muscle group, one that will enhance your birthing process. Lift for 10 reps.
Next rotate your top leg in a clockwise motion for ten reps. Switch directions in a counter clockwise motion for 10 repetitions. Then bring your leg directly in front of you, so that you are in the shape of an L, life your leg for 10 repetitions.
Lastly, come back onto your side, bottom leg bent and bring your top knee to your shoulder for 10 repetitions.
Inner thigh stretch; kneel on your hands and knees come down to your elbows, Make sure that you are up far enough to ensure that your baby has plenty of room. Then gently spread your knees apart stretching your inner thighs; your toes touching each other, breath into your stretch; for 1 to 2 minutes. (This is meant to feel good, if it doesn’t, then stop.
Child’s pose; Spread your knees as wide as your mat, keeping the big toes touching. Bring the belly to rest between the thighs and the forehead to the floor. Make sure that you are up far enough to ensure that your baby has plenty of room and breath.
Sit silently and breathe deep. Deeper then you’ve ever breathed in your life. Put a smile on your face, place your hands on your stomach, and send loving thoughts and energy to your unborn baby.
Until next time my beautiful, beautiful mommies. You are perfect, you are supported, and I love you.
Kimberly Lou, Life Coach and Fitness Instructor
Exercises to Relieve Common Discomforts of Pregnancy
This page contributed by Kimberly Lou of California Beach Mommy, Fitness Instructor and Life Coach. For questions about prenatal/postpartum exercise or for group exercise classes and/or private training sessions during pregnancy and after the baby arrives, contact: