If you’re already worrying about your post-baby bod and you haven’t even picked a name for your unborn child, there’s no harm in starting early with some simple and safe prenatal exercises that will help with your overall health and wellbeing through all stages of your pregnancy.
We spoke to physiotherapist Susan Cottrell of Brisbane Pilates Studio The Body Refinery about how expectant mothers can incorporate an easy 10-minute exercise into their week to stay fit.
Please note, all of these exercises can be performed at home, but in a studio environment being taught by physiotherapists to use the equipment correctly ensures expectant mothers are well supported throughout all exercises. Susan says as pregnancy is a time where the body changes very quickly, which is why it's always best to exercise under the supervision of a professional who has experience in pregnancy. Always check with your medical professional before undertaking a new exercise regime to ensure it is safe for you to perform.
1. Pelvic floor awareness
For this exercise, sit crossed-legged with the focus on growing tall. Breathe in through the pelvic floor and exhale while maintaining the contraction. Aim to maintain the contraction for five breaths. At the end of the five breaths, use their exhale breath to gently release the contraction. Repeat this five times.
2. Spine twist
Sitting with legs outstretched and arms out to the side, twist to the right as you inhale, making sure you keep reaching legs long. Then exhale on the return to centre and repeat to the left, aiming for six spine twists for each side.
3. Quadruped (on all fours)
Thinking about a long spine, get down on all fours. Inhale to prepare and on the exhale, stretch out your left arm and right leg long both in front and behind you. Inhaling again, return to all fours then exhale to reach your right arm and left leg long. Inhaling again, return to all fours. This exercise should be repeated six times on each side.
Susan says to imagine you have a cup of tea balancing on your pelvis and to not let it spill!
4. Pilates push up (modified)
This exercise is performed on all fours, with an inhale as you bend your elbows and lower your face towards the floor, and exhale to push your arms back out to straight. This exercise should be repeated 10 to 15 times.
5. Standing Roll Down
Start this exercise by standing with feet shoulder-width apart and knees soft. Inhale to prepare and as you exhale, roll your head down toward the ground, vertebra by vertebra. Once at the bottom, inhale and use your exhale breath to roll up vertebra by vertebra until you're standing shoulder-width apart again. For expectant mother's worried about balance, this can be done against a wall to give some guidance and stability.
Susan says growing bellies may prevent you from getting very far down on this exercise, but it is a lovely way to articulate the spine.
The Body Refinery run pregnant-specific classes on Wednesday and Friday mornings for expectant mums using a variety of equipment in classes of four to five with a physiotherapist. However, The Body Refinery’s studio or clinical classes can all be catered to pregnant women as physiotherapists will adjust the moves specifically to the changing bodies and needs of pregnant clients.
Just 10 minutes of gentle movement while pregnant can increase your health and well-being, so get those bodies moving!
The Body Refinery
85 Commercial Road, Newstead
P 3358 3915 www.thebodyrefinery.com.au