Core exercise while pregnant

Keeping fit during pregnancy is essential for your health, and there are many benefits to exercising your abdominal muscles during this time. But doing sit-ups or crunches while pregnant is probably not a good idea.

It is best to avoid these core exercises after the first trimester or after you begin to have noticeable uterine growth. Fortunately, there are many options or modifications you can try instead of keeping your core strong

Benefits of abdominal labor during pregnancy

Keeping the core strong throughout pregnancy and the postpartum period has several significant benefits, including:

  • Support for your pelvic floor muscles
  • Increased lumbar support to improve back pain caused by the pull of your baby’s skin
  • An easier birth and recovery after birth

Not all types of core work are safe—crunches, in particular, present a few problems.

What you should know about Diastasis-Recti

Crunches can cause the abdominal muscles to bulge, and doing them can contribute to diastasis recti, separating the abdominal muscles at the midline.

If this stretching is excessive, the abdominal muscles can be separated. And the separation can last a long time or become permanent. Avoiding crunches throughout pregnancy can help prevent this.

Best Diastasis Recti Exercises

During pregnancy, lying on your back can compress the vena cava and cause complications for both you and your baby.

The second trimester starts when it becomes unsafe to continue the exercises in a supine position. However, since every pregnancy is different, always check with your doctor.

Pregnancy-safe core exercises

There are several options for safe abdominal work during pregnancy. Some examples include:

Cat cow

On all fours, inhale as you gently bend your spine toward the floor and exhale as you round your spine.

Seated pelvic tilt

While sitting, inhale with your back straight and exhale as you push your pelvis in and up toward your navel. Repeat five or more times.

Bird dog pose

On all fours, lift your right arm and left leg, keeping your shoulders and hips parallel to the floor. Hold for a moment, lower, and switch sides. Repeat approx. Ten times.

Side plank

Support yourself with your right arm (or forearm) and right knee. Form a straight line with your body lifting your hips. Hold for a few seconds and change sides.

When can you resume core exercises?

Immediately after birth, your body will undergo a gradual healing process. After you have your baby, it is still best to avoid sit-ups and crunches until the abdomen is completely healed.

The healing process can take six weeks to six months or longer. Because every woman is different, have your GP check your abdominal muscles to see how they heal.

Getting back to your regular abdominal routine does not have to be immediate either. Start back, stick to exercises like planks that work with stability throughout the core and slopes to help rebuild strength.

Related articles:

The best exercise to do whilst pregnant

How to do kegel exercise during pregnancy

References

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