Fitness Magazine

Avoid the Postnatal Pooch with These Prenatal Abdominal Exercises.

By Heather Murphy @MrsMurphysLOF

Hey party people!

I hope everyone had a fantastic weekend and is enjoying this beautiful May weather!

Today I am going to be showing you some of my favorite prenatal exercises to work the core. I will also fill you in on why it’s super important to keep doing abdominal exercises while pregs!

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I promise all of my posts will not be about pregnancy, but I do want to take this opportunity to delve deeper into prenatal exercise while I’m actually pregnant. I have never understood people who say they are trained in prenatal fitness, but have never been pregnant. There is no way you can be an expert on this unless you have experienced it. Also, exercise can be a challenge when you’re pregnant even if you are a fitness professional, so I want to help you guys out when I can!

A few quick reasons you should still work the core while pregnant:

  1. Keeping a strong core, specifically your transverse abdominis, will help with posture and protecting your back. The lumbar spine is going to be in an exaggerated curve from all the extra weight. this can put pressure on the back and cause lower back pain, so the stronger the abdominal muscles are, the more they can help bring your spine back to neutral, thus relieving some of that pressure.
  2. Your pelvic floor is considered a part of the core, and it’s super important during labor and recovery for obvious reasons! In class, I tell my clients to start every abdominal contraction with a kegal, even if your aren’t pregnant.

  3. Keeping the oblique muscles strong will help in supporting the extra weight and keep pain out of the lower back.

A serious no- no while pregnant (after 14- 18 weeks or so) is doing crunches! Actually, doing any kind of exercise that targets the rectus abdominis is not a good idea because it can cause your ab muscles to separate more than needed (diastasis recti), which can cause a poochy belly long after giving birth.  Robin from The Balanced Life has a great post explaining Diastasis Recti.

Here are a few exercises that have been my go- to’s while pregnant. When doing these exercises, I want you to think about engaging your lower abdominal muscles, pulling your belly button to your spine and starting each core contraction with a kegel!

You can do so many leg variations with this one, just make sure you are in a comfortable position. You can be in neutral with the hips or slightly tucked. Keep the chest open and control the legs from your abs and glutes.

Again, there are many leg variations you can do here. Press the sacrum into the roller and control the legs with the abs and glutes.

I love this exercise for pregnancy because it not only helps you strengthen the entire core, but you get balance work in as well.

You are able to engage the obliques a little more with this one. Remember to roll down and pull the abdominals in. Keep the chest open and shoulder blades down.

I hope you guys enjoy these exercises, and as always, please consult a physician before doing any type of exercise- especially while pregnant.

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