As the baby develops in the womb, the abdomen of the expectant mother progressively bulges forward. The increasing load in the abdomen creates tension in the muscles of the back and the waist. It is this tension that is responsible for the usual bolt upright appearance. To enable the mother to carry the additional weight without strain, it is necessary to strengthen these muscles.
The cartilage between the bones in the joints and the tendons attaching the muscles to the bones tend to soften after the delivery. Strengthening the muscles will help to maintain the elasticity and strength of these connective tissues, and minimize the softening. Exercises have been devised to strengthen the muscles that are involved, thus reducing the possibility of the consequent pain. Some exercises are safe during pregnancy for toning up the muscles of the abdomen; back and waist are described here.
The mother-to-be must start performing these exercises just as soon as she learns that she is pregnant. She would of course be well advised to observe moderation in the matter, should not be such as to cause undue fatigue. The benefits of these exercises will become apparent in the later stages of pregnancy when the abdomen begins to sag forward.
During the initial stage of pregnancy exercise should be performed for strengthening the waist muscles. Stand with the two feet slightly apart. Place the palms on the waist. Without shifting the feet, turn the upper torso 90 degrees to the right, and then to the left. Repeat ten times for each side alternately.
Second exercise is for strengthening the muscles of the back and the waist. Stand with the two feet planted slightly apart. Open the palms bend sideways to the right, keeping the left hand raised vertically upwards, and try to touch the right leg at as low a point as possible with the right hand. Return to the initial position. Perform the same movement on the left. Repeat ten times for each side alternately.
Third exercise is for strengthening the abdomen. Kneel on the floor, with the knees slightly apart. Raise the arms vertically upwards. Now turn on your waist towards the right and touch the right foot with the left hand and the left foot with the right hand. Return to the initial position. Perform the same movements towards the left. Repeat ten times for each side alternately.
Fourth exercise is for strengthening the back. Lie flat, face up, on the floor. Bend the legs at the knees, thus bringing the feet nearer to the torso. Press down with one foot so as to raise the back off the floor. Maintain this position for six seconds. Return to the initial position. Now do the same with the other foot. Now press down with both feet simultaneously so as to raise the back off the floor. Maintain this position for six seconds. Return to the initial position. Repeat the whole sequence ten times.
Fifth exercise is for relieving backache. Lie down flat, face up, on the floor. Bend the legs at the knees. Now raise the back off the floor, with arms extended forwards and reach for the knees. Keeping the back thus raised, impart a rotatory motion to the hips. Keep this up for six seconds, without lowering the back. Let yourself down gently to the initial position. Repeat the entire sequence of movements ten times.
Thus, the above exercises are safe during pregnancy period. The pregnancy woman will be benefited greatly by choosing from among these exercises those that she feels to be necessary and convenient for herself, and performing them regularly.