The glutes, your butt muscles, play an important part in maintaining correct posture during pregnancy and during the labor process. Glute exercises can ease discomfort in your back and hips. They also help you maintain your balance. Exercise with moderate intensity, especially if you haven’t regularly exercised before your pregnancy. You can gradually increase intensity and the number of repetitions and sets as your endurance and strength improve. Check with your doctor before beginning any new exercise program.
Warm up with two to three minutes of gentle bouncing on an exercise ball or by moderate walking for the same length of time. Follow your warm-up with hamstring stretches and back stretches. Lean back over the ball and then face down over the ball to prevent injuries and to increase your range of motion.
Lie supine on a mat with a pillow or folded towel under your head and shoulders. Place your calves and heels on top of the ball or in a chair. Alternate lifting one leg, bringing it perpendicular to the floor and then lowering it to the top of the ball. Switch legs. Repeat 10 to 15 times. Press your heels into the ball as you lift your butt off the floor until you create a straight line between your shoulders and your heels. Lower your hips until they are an inch off the floor and then lift them again. Repeat 10 or more times. Repeat the set again.
Sit erect on the ball or on a straight back chair. Suck in your abdominals and tighten your glutes as you lift one leg until your straightened leg is perpendicular to the floor. Return it to the floor and repeat with the other leg. Do 10 to 15 repetitions. Tighten your abdominals and glutes as you tilt your pelvis forward and then relax. Do 10 to 15 repetitions. Rotate your pelvis in a circular motion on the ball for two to three minutes. Repeat the set again.
Stand with the ball between your back and a wall. Slowly bend your knees into a squat, rolling your back down the ball as you keep it pressed against the wall. Slowly stand as you roll the ball up. Complete five to 10 repetitions. If you have trouble with the wall squat, place the ball in front of you with your fingertips on the ball. Squat, using the ball for balance. Continue to balance with the ball as you stand. Repeat five to 10 times.
Walk briskly for 10 minutes and then slow to a gentle stroll for an additional two to three minutes for your cool down.
- Essential Exercises for the Childbearing Years, 4th Edition; Elizabeth Noble
- Spine-Health: Strengthening Exercises for Back Pain During Pregnancy
- American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists: Exercise During Pregnancy
- American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists: Exercise and Fitness
- Put a stability ring under the exercise ball to keep it in place if it helps you balance better.
- Drink plenty of water as you exercise.
- Stop exercising if you feel light-headed, dizzy or nauseous, or if you experience abdominal cramping or spotting. Notify your health-care provider immediately.
Rev. Kathryn Rateliff Barr has taught birth, parenting, vaccinations and alternative medicine classes since 1994. She is a pastoral family counselor and has parented birth, step, adopted and foster children. She holds bachelor's degrees in English and history from Centenary College of Louisiana. Studies include midwifery, naturopathy and other alternative therapies.