By Glenn McCracken


1. Squat
Improves mobility and strengthens the pelvis and hips. Hormones released during pregnancy prepare the body for labor by loosening the ligaments and joints. Although, this is necessary it can increase the possibility of strain and injury during pregnancy. More strength and stability means less pain and overall better movement.

2. Wide-leg dead lift
Strengthens the back muscles, encourages proper skeletal alignment and provides stability and support for the additional weight of the growing baby. This exercise also strengthens and tones the glutes, hips and pelvic floor. Tone in these areas will assist in a speedier and more effective labor.

3. Farmer carry
Activates and strengthens the core in a safe way. Maintaining abdominal stability is important to prevent tearing in the abdominal wall during pregnancy and trains the body to push more effectively during labor.

4. Overhead press in a half kneeling position
Strengthens the back and shoulders, activates the core, stabilizes the pelvis while stretching the hip flexors.

5. One arm row
Another back strengthener and core stabilizer. Also, builds strength in the arms and unilaterally prepares the body for carrying the baby after delivery.

A few things to be mindful of while exercising: Increased blood volume during pregnancy means an elevated heart rate even during periods of rest. So regardless of your strength training experience, you may need longer and more frequent rests to prevent dizziness, nausea, and over-heating. Drink water constantly through your workout to prevent dehydration and never work to the point of exhaustion. More than anything enjoy the process of caring for your amazing, miraculous, strong body!

*Remember to check with your health care provider before beginning any training program, work with a trained professional and most importantly listen to your body and honor what you need!

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This article was originally published in Ozark Mountain Yoga Mindful Living Magazine.