Pregnancy pushups are safe to do, and you’ll benefit greatly from the exercise. You’ll strengthen your upper body, including your arms, shoulders and chest. You’ll also strengthen your abdominal muscles, which will help to support your growing belly and assist you through labor and delivery. Strong abdominal muscles will also help you bounce back to your sleek self after your baby arrives. Pushups are quick and easy to do even for beginners and don’t require any equipment. If you’ve never done them before, it’s fine to start with one single pushup per set of three, and work your way up to 20 as you feel able.
Get on your hands and knees. Position your hands directly below your shoulders and point your fingers forward. Set your knees squarely below your hips. Draw your belly button upward toward your spine to engage your abdominal muscles. Your shoulder blades will drop toward your waist.
Keep your abdominal muscles engaged, stretch one leg backward and draw the toes forward to rest your weight on the ball of the foot. Repeat with the other leg, keeping abdominals engaged. Put your feet together and align your head with your spine. Your body should form a straight line from your head to your heels.
Drop to your knees and raise your hips up to modify the basic pushup if you think your growing belly might hit the ground before your chin. This will take the strain off of your lower back and make plenty of room for your belly. Your body should remain straight and aligned from your head to the top of your butt throughout the exercise.
Bend your elbows and ease your body downward. Keep your elbows close to your body and pointing outward slightly to work your triceps. Keep your neck and spine straight and your head aligned with them. Don’t let your abdomen or hips drop downward. Continue lowering your body slowly until you touch the floor with your chin to complete the downward phase of the pushup.
Push your body upward. Use your arms to elevate yourself away from the floor and slowly begin to straighten your elbows. Keep your abdominals engaged and your body stiff and straight. Don’t let your hips or abdomen drop below your straight body stance. Continue upward until your elbows are straight to complete the upward phase of the pushup.
Take a short rest if you need it. Repeat the pushup slowly. Stop doing them when you can no longer do them correctly.
Knee (Modified) Pushups
Get on your hands and knees with your eyes on the floor directly below you. Set your hands directly under your shoulders and scoot them each a few inches to the sides. Point your fingers straight forward. Position your knees directly below your hips.
Stretch your feet straight out behind you with the soles facing upward. Raise your feet until the soles are about level with the top of your butt.
Draw your belly button upward toward your spine to engage your abdominal muscles. Keep them engaged throughout the knee pushup. Straighten your back and drop your chin toward your chest. Keep your feet positioned above your butt and your neck aligned with your back.
Bend your elbows slightly outward. Ease yourself downward slowly. Keep your neck and spine straight and your head aligned with them. Don’t let your abdomen or hips drop downward. Lower your body slowly until your chin touches the floor to complete the downward phase of the pushup.
Push yourself back up slowly to return to the starting position. Keep your abdomen engaged, and keep your head, neck and back aligned to complete the upward phase of the pushup.
Rest briefly if you need to. Slowly repeat the pushup as many times as you can do so correctly.
Stand up straight and face the wall to do wall pushups. These will work the muscles in your chest and the backs of your upper arms. You may find them more comfortable to do as your belly increases in size.
Extend your arms out in front of you at shoulder height and place your palms flat on the wall, slightly wider apart than shoulder width. Stiffen your back and neck. Step forward or backward until you’re standing perfectly straight and your palms remain flat on the wall.
Set your feet slightly wider apart than shoulder width. Lean forward a bit and inch your feet backward until both heels just lift off the floor.
Bend your elbows as you slowly lower yourself toward the wall. Keep your back and neck straight and your head aligned with them. Continue until your chin touches the wall.
Push yourself back up slowly to return to the starting position. Keep your head, neck and back aligned to complete the wall pushup.
Slowly repeat the pushup as many times as you can do so correctly, up to 15 repetitions.
Items you will need
- Exercise mat or carpeted floor
- If you’re considering any exercise regimen or program, discuss it with your physician before beginning. This is particularly essential if you’ve never exercised prior to your pregnancy.
- Do your pushups on an exercise mat or carpeted floor for the sake of your knees.
- Wear comfortable loose-fitting clothes. Exercise in a cool area and drink water every 15 minutes to avoid dehydration.
- If doing push-ups causes you any discomfort or pain, don’t do them until after you have your baby.
- American Council on Exercise: Push-Up
- Get Fit and Yummy: Pregnancy Push-Ups
- Mayo Clinic: Slide Show: Pregnancy Exercises -- Wall Push-Ups
- Mayo Clinic: Video: Modified Push-Up
- YouTube -- aspirept1: Wall Push-Ups During Pregnancy (Aspire Personal Training)
- YouTube -- TotalMommyFitness: How to Do a Proper Pushup and Modify for Pregnancy
- Stockbyte/Stockbyte/Getty Images