During Pregnancy: Exercises

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Here are some examples of exercises to do during your pregnancy. Start each exercise slowly. Ease off the exercise if you start to have pain.

Your doctor or physical therapist will tell you when you can start these exercises and which ones will work best for you.

How to do the exercises

Neck rotation

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slide 1 of 11, Neck rotation,
  1. Sit in a firm chair, or stand tall. If you're standing, keep your feet about hip-width apart.
  2. Keeping your chin level, turn your head to the right and hold for 15 to 30 seconds.
  3. Turn your head to the left and hold for 15 to 30 seconds.
  4. Repeat 2 to 4 times.

Next stretch to the front

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slide 2 of 11, Next stretch to the front,
  1. Sit in a firm chair, or stand tall. Look straight ahead. If you're standing, keep your feet about hip-width apart.
  2. Slowly bend your head forward without moving your shoulders.
  3. Hold for 15 to 30 seconds, then return to your starting position.
  4. Repeat 2 to 4 times.

Back press

Photo of back press exercise
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slide 3 of 11, Back press,
  1. Place your feet 10 to 12 inches from the wall.
  2. Rest your back flat against the wall and slide down the wall until your knees are slightly bent.
  3. Press your lower back against the wall by pulling in your stomach muscles.
  4. Hold for 6 seconds, and then relax your stomach muscles and slide back up the wall.
  5. Repeat 8 to 12 times.

Full body twist

Photo of full body twist exercise
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slide 4 of 11, Full body twist,
  1. Sit with your legs crossed.
  2. Reach your left hand toward your right foot, and place your right hand at your side for support.
  3. Slowly twist your torso to your right.
  4. Switch your hands and twist to your left.
  5. Repeat 2 to 4 times.

Pelvic rocking

Picture of pelvic rocking exercise
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slide 5 of 11, Pelvic rocking,
  1. Kneeling on hands and knees, place your hands directly under your shoulders and your knees under your hips.
  2. Breathe in deeply. Tuck your head downward and round your back up, making a curve with your back in the shape of the letter C. Hold this position for a count of 6.
  3. Breathe out slowly and bring your head back up. Relax, keeping your back straight (don't allow it to curve toward the floor). Hold this for a count of 6.
  4. Do this exercise 8 times or to your comfort level.

Pelvic tilt

Picture of pelvic tilt exercise
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slide 6 of 11, Pelvic tilt,

This exercise strengthens your lower back and pelvis. It is for use during the first 4 months of pregnancy. After this point, lying on your back is not recommended, because it can cause blood flow problems for you and your baby.

  1. Lie on your back.
  2. Keep your knees relaxed.
  3. Tighten your belly and buttocks muscles.
  4. At the same time, gently shift your pelvis upward. This should flatten the curve in your back.
  5. Hold for 6 seconds and then relax.
  6. Gradually increase the number of tilts you do each day, to your comfort level.

Backward stretch

Photo of backward stretch
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slide 7 of 11, Backward stretch,
  1. Kneel on hands and knees with your knees 8 to 10 inches apart, hands directly under your shoulders, and arms and back straight.
  2. Keeping your arms straight, slowly lower your buttocks toward your heels and tuck your head toward your knees. Hold for 15 to 30 seconds.
  3. Slowly return to the kneeling position.
  4. Repeat 2 to 4 times.

Forward bend

Photo of forward bend exercise
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slide 8 of 11, Forward bend,
  1. Sit comfortably in a chair, with your arms relaxed.
  2. Slowly bend forward, allowing your arms to hang down in front of you. Lean only as far as you can without feeling discomfort or pressure on your belly.
  3. Hold for 15 to 30 seconds and then slowly sit up straight.
  4. Repeat 2 to 4 times or to your comfort level.

Leg lift crawl

Photo of leg lift crawl exercise
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slide 9 of 11, Leg lift crawl,
  1. Kneeling on hands and knees, place your hands directly under your shoulders and straighten your arms.
  2. Tighten your belly muscles by pulling in your belly button toward your spine. Be sure you continue to breathe normally and do not hold your breath.
  3. Lift your left knee and bring it toward your elbow.
  4. Slowly extend your leg behind you without completely straightening it. Be careful not to let your hip drop down. Avoid arching your back.
  5. Hold your leg behind you for about 6 seconds.
  6. Return to your starting position.
  7. Do the same exercise with your other leg.
  8. Repeat 8 to 12 times for each leg.

Tailor sitting

Picture of tailor sitting exercise
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slide 10 of 11, Tailor sitting,
  1. Sit on the floor.
  2. Bring your feet close to your body while crossing your ankles.
  3. Hold this position for as long as you are comfortable.

Tailor stretching

Picture of tailor stretching exercise
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slide 11 of 11, Tailor stretching,
  1. Sit on the floor with your back straight, legs about 12 inches apart, and feet relaxed outward.
  2. Stretch your hands forward toward your left foot, then sit up.
  3. Stretch your hands straight forward, then sit up.
  4. Stretch your hands forward toward your right foot, then sit up.
  5. Hold each stretch for 15 to 30 seconds.
  6. Repeat 2 to 4 times.

Follow-up care is a key part of your treatment and safety. Be sure to make and go to all appointments, and call your doctor if you are having problems. It's also a good idea to know your test results and keep a list of the medicines you take.

The Health Encyclopedia contains general health information. Not all treatments or services described are covered benefits for Kaiser Permanente members or offered as services by Kaiser Permanente. For a list of covered benefits, please refer to your Evidence of Coverage or Summary Plan Description. For recommended treatments, please consult with your health care provider.