This thin rubber or foam mat will cushion your back, belly, and tail bone during floor-based weight exercises, Pilates, or yoga classes. It rolls up into a small tube for easy storage and transportation.
Hand and ankle weights
Walking is one of the safest and most convenient exercises, and adding hand or ankle weights will raise the intensity of your walking workout without the high impact joint stress associated with running. They’re also great for toning arms and legs and can be used at home while watching TV.
These inflatable balls are used to promote balance and core muscle (stomach and back) strength, but they can also provide back support for pregnant women who can’t lie flat on their backs in exercise classes. They also pull double-duty as birthing balls: simply sit atop the ball during labor to relive pelvic pressure and hasten cervical dilation.
Bands are a wonderfully portable and inexpensive alternative to free weights. They come in different colors, which denote the degree of difficulty and can be doubled up and adjusted to strengthen all major muscle groups. Not sure what to do with these giant rubber bands? Many band kits come with instruction videos, or you can search the Internet for band exercises to try at home.
A waterproof sports watch that includes a stop watch, timer, lap counter, and nightlight can be purchased at a sporting goods store for as little as $15. These functions help you determine how far you’ve walked or run, how many laps you’ve swum or how many minutes you’ve been exercising at a certain heart rate.
Costing around $30, these devices are worn on your wrist and count the number of times your heat beats per minute. If you have a preexisting condition like hypertension or gestational diabetes, you doctor may advise you to keep your heart rate within a certain range during exercise. Healthy, fit pregnant women are usually advised to stay below 140.
The growing baby puts increasing stress on your back, which can be exacerbated by exercise, so sometimes a girl just needs a helping hand. Belly bands that wrap under your belly and secure with wide Velcro straps across your lower back act like traditional leather weight belts, providing much needed relief to the weaker lower back muscles. There are also spandex camisoles called belly bras that distribute the weight across your entire back and shoulders.
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