While pregnancy is not the time to kickstart a new exercise regime, you might be wondering how you can maintain your existing fitness program if you already work out.
It’s tough when it comes to stomach work since sticking to the same abs exercises you did before you fell pregnant is just not practical. Your body will be undergoing some dramatic changes and you’ll have that ever-growing bump to consider. It might be more hair, feeling cold when pregnant, or a number of other things you’re noticing.
You should always speak with your doctor before undertaking any form of exercise when you’re expecting. While all the exercises we outline today are deemed safe for pregnant women, your doctor will keep an eye out for diastasis recti and any other complications. He’ll also advise you at what stage of pregnancy you should consider cutting back on the workouts.
Generally, static exercises are better than dynamic exercises when you’re pregnant. There’s no need for any explosive movement to give your core a solid workout.
Strengthening your abs is about more than just looking good. By working on your core and pelvic floor, you can mitigate the chance of back pain during pregnancy and give yourself the best chance of swift labour.
Here are five great abdominal exercises that are safe to carry out when you’re pregnant.
5 Abs Exercises Perfect for Pregnant Women
1) Bird Dog
This stability exercise works wonders for your core and will give you some extra strength when you need it most.
What To Do
- Kneel on the floor. Keep your wrists under your shoulders, with your knees under your hips.
- Make sure you keep your back straight and tighten your abs.
- Lift your left leg slowly and extend it behind you in a straight line. You should feel your stomach muscles tighten.
- At the same time, lift your right arm and bring it out in front of you. Pause and hold.
- Breathe slowly as you return to the original position.
- Switch hands and legs and repeat.
2) Core Breath
This is a remarkably simple exercise you can do anywhere with no need for any equipment.
What To Do
- Sit down with your back straight.
- Place both hands on your waist.
- Breathe deeply and open your ribs outward.
- Exhale as you return your ribs to the original position.
- Contract your pelvis and tailbone to relax your muscles.
Kegels are an effective exercise for toning the pubococcygeus (PC) muscle, that performs many roles. Controlling the flow of urine, and keeping vaginal muscles toned, the PC muscle supports your growing baby. A strong PC muscle will also be beneficial when delivery time comes around.
What To Do
- Sit on an exercise ball and inhale fully. As you inhale, allow your tummy to rise.
- Exhale slowly and release all the air. Try to keep the timing of inhaling and exhaling roughly the same.
- Repeat these steps but, as you exhale, tighten your vaginal muscles.
- Relax your face, neck and shoulders so that only your vaginal muscles feel tight. Hold for 5 seconds, then release.
- Aim to start with 20 Kegels daily, and increase this number as you improve.
This classic exercise needs to be performed on your hands and knees while pregnant. Integrating planks into your routine are a great method of strengthening your core.
What To Do
- Lie flat on your tummy with your forearms resting on the floor below your shoulders.
- Rise gradually onto your toes and forearms so your body forms a flat line.
- As you squeeze your hips, pull your belly button inwards.
- Hold for anywhere from 10 seconds to 60 seconds.
5) Side Plank
You can perform a side plank in several ways, but here’s how you do it safely when you’re pregnant.
What To Do
- Lie on your side with your elbow under your shoulder.
- Bend your knees and stack them one on top of the other.
- Focusing on your core breathing, squeeze your hips, and raise your torso so it forms a straight line.
- Make sure your neck and head remain straight.
- Hold the position for 30 seconds while breathing normally.
- Repeat on the other side.
What To Do Next
Strengthening your abs when you’re pregnant is a smart move that can pay dividends when it comes time to bring your bundle of joy into the world.
Before you even think of hitting the gym or the exercise mat, though, get the all-clear from your doctor.