So being pregnant while already having at least one child can be even more challenging that doing prenatal exercises alone. I found that not only did I feel like I didn’t do them because of time constraints, but that I was neglecting the attention of my daughter when I did manage to squeeze them in times when she wasn’t asleep. This meant working to find a solution where I could include her, burn some of her energy, and still get in my stretches for the day.
This post contains links to products I recommend and/or our family uses regularly and we may receive a commission. And as always, I am not a doctor, nurse, or in the medical field. All posts are informative, based off of my experience in labor and birth, with my care providers, and on the Bradley classes that I attended.
Because my daughter loves to play with my exercise ball, and any ball really (and what kid doesn’t?), this was the first step to getting her involved. I was able to find her a hopper ball that was her size and had a handle on it to help her stabilize better. This meant that she was happier and felt included in exercises and there were no fights or power struggles over my ball. $12 well spent.
Pregnancy Exercises on a Yoga Ball
- Do small circles in each direction. Sit on the ball and maintain good posture, making sure that as you rotate your hips, you can feel your pelvis rotating and the muscles in your low back working. Keep your feet on the ground and hands on the sides of the ball. Doing these will help loosen the low back and maintain alignment in the pelvis.
- Do leg-lifts. With one foot planted and your hands holding the ball, stretch one leg out as far as you can. For me, this pregnancy, I have lost a lot of flexibility so it’s not very high. Regardless, doing this will help with your sciatic nerve, keeping ligaments as loose as possible, and overall flexibility. Remember to keep the bet posture you can while doing these.
Check out my online prenatal course!
Other prenatal exercises and stretches that you can do with toddlers
- Stretch like a Cow. (Pelvic Rocks). Place your knees and hands on the ground shoulder-width apart. Take a deep breath and exhale as your stretch looking up and rotating your hips downward. (See #1 in illustration below)
- Stretch like a Cat. (Pelvic Rocks). Same as above but this is the other part. This is where you inhale and arch your back upwards while placing your chin to chest. (#2 below)
- Alleviate Pressure on your low back. This position in #3 below is a great way to alleviate pressure whether you are actually in labor or just experiencing regular pregnancy pain. In fact, this can be a great pain management position because it’s kind of an “anti-gravity” position where the baby is supported, but not by your frame.
- Stretch our your hips. This is a typical position that I like to assume both after cat/cow pelvic rocks and #3. It stretched the hips because you are planting your hands and pulling your body and belly backwards in between your legs. It also is very comfortable and take a load off of your skeletal system. (#4 below)
- Stretch with the butterfly pose. Tension while sitting this way is also great. Doing this will help stretch out your hips and round ligaments. Tailor sitting and sitting in this position can also help reduce varicose veins. (#5 below)
- Squat. Stand with your legs a little past shoulder-width and, with good posture, pull your tailbone down as fair as you can into a deep squat. This is a great birthing position and will help strengthen your legs for birth. (#6 below)
- Stand on each ankle for 30 seconds. Then Do it With your eyes closed. Because the pregnant woman’s center of balances changes a lot, be sure to do this in front of a counter or chair to hold onto if needed. (Just don’t support your weight by holding something). Strengthening your ankles can help prepare for childbirth especially if you plan on birthing in a squatting position.
- Stretch your abdominal muscles. With a chair, you can place one knee up where you sit and the other foot on the ground. The knee is for you to stabilize. With both hands above your head, lean and stretch backwards, feeling a bit of pull in your abdomen.
All of these exercises are stretches and activities that I do with my toddlers. They are good for her to do and is even a great part of our tot school because we implement new vocabulary words, practice moving our bodies, and more. Her favorite stretch is Cow! And while she happily does them with me and tries them all (and has since 18 months), she is not cooperative to take a picture that isn’t blurry. SO the pictures above are our out-takes 😉
For an entire, more intensive prenatal yoga routine, I have included a youtube video below.
How have you managed to stay fit, pregnant or not, with a toddler?
Find more preparing for childbirth and newborn posts!
Kara is an author and advocate for positive, grace-filled parenting. She is homeschooler to her 5 children living on a farm in New England. She believes in creative educational approaches to help kids dive deeper into a rich learning experience and has her degree in Secondary Education & Adolescent Childhood Development. She is passionate about connecting with and helping other parents on their journey to raise awesome kids!
my word! I cant get into like 3 of those 6 poses.. lol
I really should be doing yoga though.. sulk.. huge belly here
hahaha. oh, Nicolette, I am getting there. I gained about 7 pounds in the past two weeks and I have felt more pregnant in the last week than I ever did my last pregnancy.
I always id some basic yoga routine pre-pregnancy and then I found hte Lara Dutta youtube. Been doing that and a few 10 min of Katy Appleton (also on youtube). It has done wonders for me and even though I feel quite pregnant (38 weeks) at this stage I think it saved me from being in a lot of agoney. And I don waddle, I walk like a normal person.
Keep on yoga!!!
Oh! Thanks for sharing the other video too. I love mixing it up a little. I still waddle a little, but I am sure I would e much worse off without all the stretching and yoga. 😉
These were great. Found this post on Pinterest after having some lower back pain. This awesome. Im 26 weeks pregnant and these moves will be a mainstay
So glad to help! I had a lot of low back pain and tail bone pressure in this last pregnancy and these exercises helped so much.
I would love to do the squat your way, but I have bone problems in my right ankle that don’t allow me good posture or to go as low as you do. 🙁 I want to strengthen those muscles the squat is designed for, but I don’t see how. Any suggestions??
Anything that is ankle-strengthening will help. Therefore, standing on one leg for 30 seconds and then again on the other and back to the first with your eyes closed and so on will help. I typically did this while brushing my teeth in the morning and at night because in total it’s 2 minutes. You will be surprised how well it strengthens your ankles and also how wobbly you will be with your eyes closed. If you need to, you can also practice squatting with a chair where you put your arms on the seat. To help work and stretch some of those muscles you can also work with your significant other. Just like if you were sitting in the floor asking for help up, get into a squat and have him hold onto your hands/arms, but have him completely support you and you can squat down/lean backwards to help those muscles feel the pull. Over time you should be able to stretch and squat more and more. Plus, ultimately squatting is for helping align your pelvic floor, so over time as it’s aligned you should have an easier time 🙂 Hope this helps!
I did these exercises about 2 months before my due date plus Some ball hip movements and my total labor and delivery time was an hour and 13 mins. Not sure if it was because of these exercises but I know they didn’t hinder me! Thanks for the great routine and tips!!