Advice For Safe Ab Training During Pregnancy
After finding out that you’re pregnant, you’re likely going to start researching all the different things you can and can’t do during the months ahead.
You want to ensure your baby stays safe and healthy during its nine month journey.
Part of what you may now be questioning is your workouts.
Can you still do the workouts you did before? More specifically, can you still work your ab muscles?
You may have read that having strong core muscles can help prevent back pain during pregnancy, as well as possibly help with the delivery process.
This said, it seems illogical to be doing crunches when a baby is developing inside you.
What’s the verdict?
Let’s look at some points to know about core strengthening during pregnancy.
Work On Your Breathing
First things first, no matter what core exercises you are going to perform, breathing properly is paramount.
You want to practice breathing through your diaphragm, which in turn is going to help prevent diastasis recti (see below) and issues related to your pelvic floor.
It will also help keep your blood pressure at a safe level and prevent you from getting dizzy and passing out.
Many women have a tendency to hold their breath while performing core work, but this must be avoided.
Know Whether You Have Diastasis Recti
Next, you’ll also want to look at whether you are at risk for or have diastasis recti.
This is the natural separation that occurs in the ‘six pack ab’ muscles as your stomach begins to grow to accommodate your developing baby.
This is a natural process that happens to some women (not all women however) and is treatable with proper rehabilitation.
That said, if it does occur, you’ll want to stay away from crunches of all kinds as well as any front loaded exercises such as front planks and push-ups.
These moves can make this situation worse, which is obviously something you want to avoid.
Focus On Non-Crunch Related Moves
While you can still perform crunch based exercises very early on during your pregnancy (first trimester only), by the time you get to your second and third trimester, sit-ups along with any other exercise that has you on your back, are best avoided.
Instead, perform moves that have you balancing your body such as the side planks or front plank (if not diastasis recti).
Other good exercises to perform include an opposite leg and arm raise along with a standing cable rotation.
All of these moves will help hit the transverse abdominis, which is the muscle that helps keep your spinal column in proper position.
These will all be safe for you and your baby, provided you have your doctor’s approval to perform exercise.
Note that if at any point you do experience pain or discomfort however, you should stop immediately and ask a medical professional if it’s safe to continue before doing so.
Don’t Forget Your Pelvic Floor
Finally, as you go about putting together a core workout program to do during pregnancy, don’t forget to include exercises that will help work your pelvic floor muscles.
Many women forget that this is an extension of their core and that it’s one of the areas that you need to work most during and especially after, pregnancy.
Your pelvic floor is responsible for preventing urinary incontinence, so it can help ensure that you are not experiencing issues related to this after giving birth.
In addition to that, keeping your pelvic floor strong can also help with the delivery process as well as help you regain your pre-pregnancy form faster once again.
So keep these tips in mind as you go about your pregnancy training.
Avoiding core strengthening moves is not recommended as the right exercises can be very beneficial throughout pregnancy.
As always, seek out the appropriate medical advice and approval before beginning any pregnancy exercises.