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The 3 best exercises to prepare for giving birth

We’ve pulled together 3 of the best exercises to help prepare your body for giving birth. Taken from Pregnancy Fitness, some of these exercises may also be beneficial postpartum.


Doing the bridge will help you build strong glutes which helps with optimal pelvic alignment and optimising the pelvic floor.


Mat and a small ball such as a bender ball, or a small cushion or towel


  • Lie on your back with your knees bent, feet pelvis-width apart, and shins vertical.
  • Find a neutral pelvis position where the public joint and the hip bones are in the same plane and you have a small curve in your lower back.
  • Place a small ball, cushion or towel between your thighs.
  • Inhale to expand and prepare.
  • Exhale to engage then press your hips up toward the ceiling.
  • Inhale to expand as you lower your hips back down.


From the second trimester onward, place a wedge or pillows under your head and shoulders to keep your head above your heart.

Increase difficulty

  • In pregnancy, place a small sandbag weighing up to five pounds (2kg) on your pelvis for more weight.
  • In pregnancy you can extend one leg.
  • In pregnancy you you try this with a BOSU ball (with the dome up) under your feet.
  • When doing this exercise in the first eight weeks postpartum, simply do the base exercise and do not do anything to increase the difficulty.

Core breath

The core breath is the ultimate foundational exercise. It trains the core to work with synergy between the diaphragm, pelvis floor, deep abdominals and multifidus. The core breath is done not only on its own but also while performing other exercises to really bring awareness to the inner core unit into movement. You will do the core breath regularly throughout pregnancy; it is also the very first restorative exercise you will do postpartum.

Photo by Yan Krukau


Stability ball


  • Sit on a stability ball with a neutral pelvis (this can also be done lying on your side or on your back).
  • Put one hand on the side of your ribs and the other hand on your belly.
  • Breathe into your hands. Inhale to expand – feel the rib cage expand, feel the pelvic floor expand (you may feel fullness in your perineum) and feel the abdomen expand outward.
  • Exhale through pursed lips and voluntarily contract your pelvic floor.
  • Inhale to expand again and let the pelvic floor contraction subside.
  • Repeat for 10-30 breath cycles.
  • Apply the inhale to expand, exhale to engage practice to any movement to ensure the core is active and ready. Experiment with cures and remember to use a cue every time you exhale to engage.

Do the core breath three times per day for one to two minutes each time to maintain optimal core function. After your baby is born, restart the regular core breath within the first few days postpartum to help increase circulation and regenerate tone, strength and function to the core.

Clam shell

  • Builds strength and endurance in the glutes and lateral hip muscles.
  • Trains your body for a side-lying birth position.
  • Prepares you for recovery. Note that this is also a key restorative exercise.




  • Lie on your side with your knees bent a little less than 90 degrees. Entire your hips and ankles are stacked – top hip directly over bottom hip and top ankle resting on bottom ankle.
  • Inhale using core breath to expand and prepare.
  • Keeping your ankles pressed together, exhale to engage and then lift the top knee away from the bottom knee. This is a small movement of the hip with no movement anywhere else – only the knee lifts with the rotation occurring at the hip joint. Keep the pelvis still and controlled.
  • Inhale and lower the knee back down with control.

Increase difficulty

  • In pregnancy, use a resistance band around your thighs for greater resistance.
  • In pregnancy, increase the length of time you hold your knee up to help build greater endurance.
  • When doing this exercise in the first eight weeks postpartum, simply do the base exercise and do not do anything to increase the difficulty.
Pregnancy Fitness book cover

Adapted from:

Pregnancy Fitness

Julia Di Paolo, Samantha Montpetit-Huynh and Kim Vopni

This entry was posted in: Fitness & Health


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