We all know that being pregnant can be a "bumpy" journey for your body, creating strains and discomfort while also requiring changes to your normal physical activity.
With her prenatal Pilates routine "The Bump Plan," Pilates trainer and mom Hollie Grant gives her expert insight on how to stay strong, balanced, and healthy throughout pregnancy, and why the bbhugme Pregnancy Pillow can be great tool to help you through this routine.
Below, you'll find a video of Hollie's full prenatal routine, alone with her tips on how to use Kegel exercises to strengthen your pelvic floor.
Get comfortable and calm
“This is great routine to do if you need a bit of downtime,” Hollie says. “If you’re feeling stressed and frazzled, or rushing around with a huge to-do list, this calm Pilates routine can help."
To make yourself more comfortable throughout the Pilates routine, Hollie recommends using the bbhugme Pregnancy Pillow.
“Using the pillow is a beneficial way of getting comfortable in certain positions and helping to add a little bit of resistance or alignment to some of your exercises.”
“The pillow can also help bolster you up so that some of the positions that would normally not be ideal during pregnancy will be completely fine and comfortable.”
Strengthen your hips, glutes, and core while pregnant
The routine involves exercises that activate your pelvic floor and external hip rotators and give you some core work.
“Pregnancy is not a case of 'we just need to let the tummy go, we don’t need to do core work anymore,'” Hollie says. "You still need that support so that your back doesn’t have to take over.”
Medial rotational and internal rotation, both included in her routine, are important exercises to practice during pregnancy.
“The reason it’s a great movement to practice is that sometimes your glutes check out during your pregnancy. So, if the glutes aren’t showing up to do their work, you can start relying on your external rotators at the hip. That can start giving you a bit of tension deep in your bum cheek and in your lower back.”
Grab your pillow and your water bottle and join Hollie for the full routine here:
The benefits of Kegel exercises, with an easy prenatal pelvic floor routine
Several factors can weaken your pelvic floor, with childbirth being the big one. Kegel exercises are great to implement into your daily routine, and can prevent that urine leakage that can affect some women when sneezing or during certain movements.
The great thing about Kegels is that you can do them anywhere - on the bus, during a meeting, or while having dinner - and no one will know. Kegel exercises (also called pelvic floor exercises) are done to strengthen your pelvic floor muscles, supporting the uterus, bladder, small intestine, and rectum.
So, let’s get to it!
“When we think about our Kegel exercises or any exercise that’s engaging the pelvic floor, what we are after is a closing or squeezing off the three holes affected by the pelvic floor,”, Hollie says. “This is the anus, the vagina, and the urethra.”
"When we think about engaging the pelvis floor, we think about closing the holes while squeezing and lifting.”
Hollie’s quick Kegel exercises - 10 holds and 10 pulses
- Breathe in through your nose.
- Breathe out through your mouth.
- On the next exhale, start to lift and close that pelvic floor.
- Squeeze the holes and lift.
- Hold for 10 seconds if you can. Don’t hold your breath; try to keep breathing when you’re holding.
- Let go.
- Do about 10 of these holds.
- 10 quick pulses.
Note: Please consult your healthcare provider if you are unsure about starting any exercise during pregnancy or postpartum recovery.
About the contributor:
Hollie Grant is a mother and prenatal/postnatal fitness expert. Hollie spent many years teaching Reformer and Mat Pilates and teaching thousands of classes across London, before being promoted to the head trainer of two London studios. In 2015 she started her own business, Pilates PT, and began opening her own studios across London.
The Bump Plan was created in 2020 and came from a lifelong desire to help TTC, pregnant, and postnatal women enter into these amazing times of their life strong and prepared for the myriad changes that happen to their bodies along the way.