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, wife, and mother of 3 children living in Boston, MA. She has her degree in Secondary Education & Adolescent Childhood Development and is passionate about connecting with and even helping other parents on their journey to raise awesome kids!