|I walk regularly and have an exercise ball and resistance bands. Are there any "MUST DO" exercises to prepare for labor late in the game?|
|As for "must do" exercises before labor and delivery, I'd keep up with walking, which helps you to build endurance for the marathon of labor, and I'd add Kegels (pelvic floor exercises) and upper body strengthening (to prepare you for lifting that baby). You can use your resistance bands to do bicep curls, triceps exercises, and shoulder presses. There are lots of great exercise books that can show you how to use the bands for these and more exercises.
One other exercise would be one to strengthen your abdomen. Sit-ups are a poor way to target belly muscles while pregnant (puts too much pressure on your low back and mid-line). Instead, do some isometric abdominal exercises such as pulling in your tummy (think of pulling your belly button towards your back) and holding for 5 seconds, relaxing, and repeating 5-10 times.
The ball is great for pelvic tilts or hip circles, which help reduce hip and lower back soreness.
Catherine Cram, M.S.
Owner for Comprehensive Fitness Consulting LLC
Author of Fit Pregnancy for Dummies (Wiley Publishing, Inc. 2004)