A belly-only pregnancy involves working hard on your fitness game even as your belly grows. Staying fit during pregnancy is super important, more than just for gaining only a belly. It has numerous benefits on mama and baby in terms of health, nutrients and mood. As I get into my second trimester of my fourth pregnancy, I am super excited to really start working out again. I have a lot off fatigue and neausea from about 8-12 weeks, where I literally just eat and sleep. Mentally, it is really depressing for me, but it also reminds me just how important exercise is feeling better during pregnancy.
I’ve talked about how my first and second pregnancies I was less active, and ultimately gained the most weight. My third pregnancy, I was determined to get my steps in every day, workout and be much healthier. It works! I am telling you that staying focused on activity, workouts and a clean diet REALLY works to have a belly-only pregnancy.
My free, clean-eating challenge is going to do amazing things for you, especially if you do it while adding in some of these exercises. I am currently doing a 21-day eating clean challenge with the mamas in my postpartum program (they don’t know I’m pregnant yet!), and I’ve been really feeling so much better. You can even burn off extra fat you’ve already gained by eating clean and exercising.
The Belly-Only pregnancy fitness program is a specific program for pregnant mamas looking to stay as fit and healthy as possible while pregnant. This program is also designed to prepare you for labor, as well as protect your core and pelvic floor for after baby. I’ve had three babies, and I wish I did a program like this! I was able to gain minimal weight during all three of my pregnancies, and lose it all within a few months because of my diet, but I didn’t focus on the repair work my muscles needed to recover and heal! That is why I first created my postpartum program, The Postpartum Cure. After popular demand, and many requests for a pregnancy program, I now created this program for mamas wanting to do some prep-work, eat clean and gain minimal weight while pregnant!
I have a very specific pregnancy ciet plan that is actually super simple, yet the key to gaining minimal weight while pregnant. As a certified Pre/Post Natal Exercise Specialist, I studied the massive benefits of nutrition during pregnancy for both mamas and babies. I included lots of recipes in this program to help you feel motivated and full of ideas to eat healthy.
Why are these exercises smart ones for a belly-only pregnancy?
These exercises are called compound exercises. This means you are working mulitple muscle groups at once. You get a bigger bang for your buck. Rather than just doing squats, you are adding a press at the top to work your arms too. You burn more calories at once, and get more muscle groups engaged. You can save time, yet still do a lot of work.
Related: How To Run Safely During Pregnancy
5 smart exercises for a belly-only pregnancy:
These are hard, which is why they are the first move. All you need is a pair of dumbells. Place the dumbells on your shoulders and squat down. As you come up, stand up then press them straight up. That is one rep. Do 10 total for one set. I want you to go through one set of each move, then circle around and do 2 more sets. Start with light dumbells, then you can progress to heavier as you get into better shape.
Single Leg Dead lift with Row:
This one requires your core, legs and arms, so it is a great one. I want you to grab one dumbell in your hand, hinge at the hips and bend over, lifting the opposite leg as your dumbell. Your leg will lift straight back, your arm straight down. Hold your leg back, row the weight back so your elbow comes even with your side. Come back to standing and do it 10 times on one side. Switch sides for 10 times on the other side. That is one set.
This involves now weights, and it is totally awkward. Start by sitting on your glutes, knees bent and prop yourself up behind you. Lift your hips off the ground and walk with your hips raised. Leading with your heels pulling you, and your arms pushing behind. Choose a distance to walk and walk it 10 times. A full-body workout yes!
Lunge + Bicep Curl:
This involves the dumbells. All you have to do is stand in place with your dumbells in hand, hanging at your side. Lunge forward with one leg, hold position and curl your dumbells up. Face your dumbells parallel to the floor. If they are perpendicular, you will be still working your arms, just different muscles. Do 20 lunges, 10 on each side.
Reverse Lunge + Tricep Curl:
The reverse lunge activates the hamstrings and glutes just a bit more than the forward lunge. You will need your dumbells again. Start standing with dumbells at your side. Lunge backwards with one leg, lift the opposite arm so your elbow is near your head. Hinge so you weight is behind your head, then extend your arm straight, so the dumbell goes towards the ceiling. Bring your leg back in. Do the same side for 10 reps. Then switch sides for 10 more.
Some great pieces of equipment for a prenatal workout are:
This will come in handy as you get farther into your pregnancy. It can help with stabalization as you isolate muscles, and there are a lot of labor prep videos with a ball.
Dumbells or Kettlebells:
I use both. I have a lighter set of dumbells and my kettlebells are heavier. I have found that these come in handy when wanting to do lower reps with heavier weight, and just get it done!
A good mat:
There’s a lot of stretching and floor work you can do that lowers the impace on your joints as you get farther a long. A good mat is super important, with a thicker base to make it more comfortable.
These are a lot easier to keep around the house for strength work. I do a lot of hip and glute work with bands. Many people underestimate the power of small resistance.
I want you to do one set of each move. Then, circle back around for the next set. Three sets total to get you through this belly-only workout!
I love compound moves like these ones because you get more done at once. In my program, we do a lot of compound moves in addition to cardio, so you stay as fit as possible during your pregnancy. Also, I have some awesome recipes, nutrition guidelines, and lot of details on the amazing benefits of exercising while pregnant. I hope you try the free clean-eating challenge too!
In addition to doing strength work, stay active and walk throughout the day.
Strength workouts can be around 15 – 30 minutes, depending on how many exercises you are doing. This should not be your main activity all day. I HIHGLY encourage the mamas in my program to walk at least 30 minutes 5 days a week. Walking will help with swelling, keep your blood flowing and overall help you burn fat. I also tell the mamas in my postpartum program to get 10,000 steps in a day. That usually means staying fairly active cleaning, cooking and wrangling children as well as a 2-3 mile walk. Same goes for pregnancy. Focusing on steps is a great way to get more activity in, without having to carve out time to actually work out.