Is it safe to do abdominal exercise during pregnancy? It's a common question, especially in light of medical advice that recommends regular exercise during pregnancy.
But many women fear that exercising the abs will harm their baby.
Medical experts say mild abdominal exercise is fine for mother and baby, and in fact, strong abdominal muscles can make pushing easier during delivery. Working your abs during pregnancy can help to prevent diastasis recti, a separation of the abdominal muscles during pregnancy, while reducing back pain and aligning the spine.
As with all exercises during pregnancy, consult with your doctor and let him know exactly what abdominal exercises you're doing.
Abdominal Exercise in the First Trimester of Pregnancy
Pregnant woman can continue doing regular abdominal exercises during the first trimester, including crunches, reverse curls and leg lifts. Be aware of any pain, strain or strenuous breathing during your workout, and stop if you feel any signs of strain.
Do all abdominal exercises slowly and smoothly, and avoid jerky and overly strenuous movements.
Abdominal Exercise in the Second and Third Trimester of Pregnancy
Beginning in your fourth month of pregnancy, you can still do abdominal exercises, but with some modifications.
Don't do crunches or any exercise that requires that you lie flat on your back. A back-lying position causes the heavy uterus to put pressure on the vena cava and can restrict blood and oxygen supply for the baby.
Focus on side-lying exercises and continue to do Kegel exercises during the second and third trimesters of pregnancy.
Recommended Abdominal Exercises During Pregnancy
Lie on your right side, keeping your legs bent and your right arm extended for stability. Put your left hand behind your head. Raise both feet, your left elbow and your head as high as you can. Hold for one second and release. Repeat 25 times and then switch sides and repeat.
Sit on the floor with a stack of pillows behind you. Lean back with your knees pointing up to the ceiling, your feet flat on the floor and your palms flat on the floor at your sides. Using your arms to aid you, contract your lower abdominal muscles and try to tilt your pelvis forward slightly. Hold the position for 1 second and release. Repeat 25 times.
Prenatal yoga can help you release stress and discomfort while teaching breathing and relaxation techniques that can be helpful during delivery.