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Top 5 Exercises for Expectant Mothers

Stay active during pregnancy

To help with staying active during pregnancy, Erika Bloom of Erika Bloom Pilates introduces the Plus Method, combining Pilates with the best of complementary body methods such as yoga, sports conditioning, and Feldenkrais. Erika has used her expertise to compile the following exercises that can be done anywhere, without the use of any props, weights, or additional items!

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1. Pelvic Floor (Kegels): Sitting in a chair, engage the pelvic floor by squeezing as though to stop yourself from urinating. Hold through one long exhale, then release and inhale. Repeat the engagement on each exhale for 10-20 reps. Muscles worked: pubococcygeus muscles.

2. All-fours Opposition Reach: Start on all fours, keeping abdominals lifted against the belly, long spine, shoulder blades down and wide. Reach one leg back and the opposite arm forward, lifting both straight out in line with the torso. Hold for 3 breathes then switch sides, lifting the opposite leg and arm. Repeat for a total of 4 on each side. Muscles worked: abdominals, back extensors, glutes, hamstrings, deltoid, lower trapezius.

3. Side-lying Pushup: Lie on your left side, both knees bent, right leg behind the left. Place the left forearm on the belly so that you are lying on the upper part of the arm. Place the right palm on the ground in front of the breastbone. Press into the right hand to straighten the arm and lift the torso off the ground. Bend the elbow to lower the torso back to the ground. Repeat 7-10 times on each side. Muscles worked: obliques, chest, triceps.

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4. Squat on the Wall
: Start with the back against the wall (or a physioball on the wall), feet hip-width apart, heels approximately one foot in front of the hips. Bend the knees, keeping the knees in line with the feet, sliding the back (or ball) down the wall. Hold at the bottom, not allowing the knees or hips to bend more than ninety degrees or the knees to go past the toes. Press back up to straight knees, keeping the back on the wall or ball. Repeat 10-20 times. Muscles worked: quadriceps, hamstrings, glutes.

5. Side Legs, Butterfly: Lie on your left side with both knees bent and legs stacked so that heels are in line with the torso and the knees are in front. Rotate the right thigh out to open the right knee towards the ceiling while keeping the feet touching. Turn the leg in to bring the legs back to a stacked position to finish. Perform 15 repetitions on each side. Muscles worked: External rotators, glutes, abductors.