Purpose of a prenatal workout.
- Engage in exercise (for health of mom and baby).
- Prepare for the upcoming physical challenges (increasing belly, labor, carrying a baby).
- Avoid movements that are not safe for the ever-changing pregnant body.
- Not be boring (aka sitting around and lightly stretching).
The MOD-Mama class delivers on all levels. Our instructor was Kerri Maskol (who is due in early December) and she was a wealth of knowledge about how to keep your body strong even while there are some exercises not recommended during pregnancy (like crunches, for example).
So let’s talk about how this class helps moms-to-be with things like back pain, kicking the baby out of the womb, and even holding your newborn child. While we did an hour long class with plenty of exercises, there are 5 favorites that I’ll share below.
Favorite Mod-Mama Exercises
NOTE: All these movements were demonstrated and modifications, or scaled versions, were suggested. I always felt confident the instructor had my (and baby’s) best interest in mind and she explained what to do if certain positions or movements didn’t feel right.
Elevator Breathing | Labor Preparation
While engaging our lower abdominal muscles (holding them in) we had to count, out loud, to 30 and take short breathes from our chest. For some reason this exercises made us giggle and smile. This was one of the last things we did in class, but the purpose was eye-opening. When time comes to push out the baby, you have to use those lower ab muscles. You want them strong! But you also want to be able to breathe at the same time. I’ll admit this scares the milk out of me, but I like to know there are simple things I can do now to help D-day go a little smoother.
Bird Dog | Protecting The Back
Starting with both hands and knees on the floor and a neutral spine, we drew our lower bellies in (“hug the baby”) and then relaxed. Then we practiced “hugging the baby” with our ab muscles before a movement, like reaching an arm or leg out. We didn’t do this for very long but it was helpful remember to use my core to support my back.
Marching with ball behind Sacrum | Core Stabilizer
A more-difficult-than-it-looks exercise that requires stabilization as you move your legs. Keeping the hips level and balanced on the pilates ball really made me focus. I liked the challenge and the fact that this felt like a workout (muscle burn) and not simply stretching and relaxing. In fact, as pregnant bodies tend to “get loose” (hips and joints relax and spread), over stretching is a real possibility. I felt this exercise was good for keeping the loosey-goosey hips strong to support my constantly morphing body.
90 Second Squat | Labor Preparation
Another “Are You Serious?” moment. Holding a low squat, keeping your upper body relaxed, for 90 seconds. Why 90 seconds? Contractions can last that long during the most intense (read: painful) part of labor. It was both amusing and horrifying to assume the squat/push position for that long and really think about that. So I didn’t think too much about it.
Rotator with Weights | Handing Off The Baby
Sliding the upward facing palm forward with a light weight in hand. Kerri humorously indicated this exercise was good practice for extending your arms to hand the baby off to someone else! Ha! That might prove to be more of an emotional exercise than a physical one. I enjoyed all the upper body work because I know once the baby de-boards, he/she will be in my arms a lot and my upper body will do all the heavy lifting.
BTW: We will find out if baby is he or she tomorrow!
Join The-Mod Mamas!
Mod Physique is offering this prenatal workout class as a 6 week series or private class. Definitely check their website to see when it’s available so you can increase or maintain your prenatal fitness! Also, Jessa told me they’re going to be offering a post-natal fitness series in 2016 to aid in recovery from labor. Although you can schedule that now for private or semi-private sessions with a group of friends.