By: Lauren Mages

Dear Mama-To-Be,

I see you. Scrolling around through Instagram and TikTok, trying to soak up and save as many reels as you can that show you how to prepare your physical body, not only for labor, but also for your fourth trimester. All of the celebrity personal trainers and other fitness “gurus” show you the same isolated pelvic exercises over and over again. You think, “Great! I will be so ready for my L&D and I know these Kegels will get my pelvic floor back into shape after I deliver.”

I wish that were true. I wish human anatomy were that simple. The fact of the matter is that it’s not. Growing and birthing a child is a complex, integrated experience for our bodies, and the physical preparation for labor as well as fourth trimester recovery is no different. It’s not enough to just sit on a ball and roll your hips around in circles or stop your pee stream when sitting on a toilet (by the way, please don’t do the latter—ever). We have to integrate the entire body! Don’t worry though, because you’ve come to the right blog post to learn some easy and
very effective ways to prepare your body for birth AND start the delicate recovery process in your fourth trimester.

The biggest difference between what you see on social media and what I will teach you here is that we will incorporate various postural positions, rib cage mobility, shoulder stabilizing muscles, and various pelvic stabilizers into our exercises. Why? Because the body works as an entire unit and moves in a plethora of ways daily! It’s not that clamshells, pelvic tucks, and hamstring and hip flexor stretching are inherently “bad,” but they certainly don’t address integrated, neurological patterning that’s ultimately affected during pregnancy.

Stop scrolling, googling, and downloading apps. Look no further!

It’s time for more sophisticated exercises, mama!

Shortened Serratus Press (Modified for Pregnancy)


-Position yourself on your elbows and knees with your elbows just an inch or two in front of your knees 

-Pressing down through your elbows, lift the front of your ribs in order to round your back and slightly hover your hips off of your feet 

-Holding this position, breath into your upper back and exhale holding your position 

Note: you can also rotate your feet out further than your knees for more posterior pelvic floor relaxation

Goal: Prenatal- decompress upper and lower back, relax back of pelvic floor

          Postpartum: decompress upper and lower back, reintegrate abdominals 

Alternating Hip Shifts, Standing


-Find a doorway, pole or counter to grab onto for support

-Standing with your feet about hip width apart and a ball between your knees, bend your knees into a squat and hang away from the object that is holding you up

-Gently round your low back in your squat position

-Holding your squat and gently squeezing the ball inhale as you shift one knee/hip back and the opposite forward. 

-Exhale to shift in the opposite direction

-Perform this breathing pattern 3-4 times before switching to the opposite breathing pattern

Goal: Prenatal: release tension in low back more upright

         Postpartum: release tension in low back, improve mobility in back of pelvis

Apical Expansion


-Lay on your side with a towel, pillow or bolster between the bottom rib cage and hip (soft tissue area). 

-Extend your top arm overhead, fully allowing it to relax. 

-Bend your bottom knee/hip and extend your top leg. Hold and relax into this position as you breath in through your nose and out through your mouth (Focus on expanding the top rib cage out and up as you breathe)

-Perform this stretch about 2-3 times for 4-5 breaths each side.

Goal:  Prenatal/Postpartum: Release low back, shoulder or neck tension. This can also assist with pubic bone or pelvic floor symptoms.

Wall Supported Reach


- Stand with your back flat against a wall and your feet several inches out. Feet hip width apart with a ball/towel between your knees. Raise your arms forward and out below the level of your shoulders and think of slightly rounding the low back so your tailbone curls off of the wall.

- Take a breath in through your nose; as you exhale out FULLY through your mouth start to round your upper back off of the wall continuing to reach forward and down through your shoulders & arms. Maintain the gentle squeeze of the ball between your thighs and feel your midfoot/heels into the floor

- Continuing repeating this sequence 3-4 x with each exhale progressively rounding and reaching further with each breath.

Note: Maintain mid to low back on the wall throughout and discontinue this exercise if and when your belly is too big or causes any sort of discomfort. 

Enjoy the exercises above for relief, release and opening in the body. Please do not hesitate to reach out via email ( with any questions!

Lauren is a mom, wife, entrepreneur, and pelvic floor enthusiast! She specializes in women’s pelvic health as well as neurological respiratory therapies and Functional Medicine health coaching. She runs her own Pilates therapy business in Raleigh, NC and considers herself a constant student of the body rather than an expert of the body. Please check out her website for any upcoming events, both live and virtual, or to contact her
for direct assistance with your body's needs! Also, look her up on Instagram: @mind.body.vitality.


Back to blog

Leave a comment

Please note, comments need to be approved before they are published.