The idea of working your abs while you’re pregnant seems a little questionable. I was so afraid I’d hurt my baby with ab work that I had to stop doing pilates during my first pregnancy. My trainer told me over and over again that ab work was safe if you did it right. But I couldn’t get over the idea that I’d somehow smoosh or detatch or otherwise hurt the baby by doing anything remotely involving my midsection.
Well, she was right, and I was wrong. Although traditional ab exercises like sit ups and crunches are not recommended during pregnancy, there are ways of working your core muscles that are totally safe for the baby and you. The goal of these exercises isn’t to change the shape of your midsection during pregnancy (clearly, this is not the time to seek a six pack). But working your deep core muscles can make a big difference in how your body recovers from pregnancy and birth. And working your core can help during birth as well. Those muscles are very much involved in pushing that baby out if you have a vaginal birth. And strong muscles also encourage a smooth C-section recovery.
So how exactly do you work your abs safely during pregnancy? With three step by step exercises from Personal trainer Adrienne Bell. See her video demonstration after the jump.
The exercises Bell shows effectively work the transversus abdominus (core) muscle while protecting it from abdominal diastasis, a separation of the transverse ab muscles that can commonly occur when pregnant women work their abs incorrectly. Abdominal separation can be improved with exercise, but in severe cases, the diastasis will be visible unless it’s surgically repaired. This is why good form and good guidance are so important. If you want to be sure you’re doing things right, you can look for a pro trainer in your area who works with prenatal clients. And then you can listen to her advice, rather than running foolishly away and missing out on the benefits of the work like I did!
You can read more from Adrienne Bell and text based descriptions of the exercises here.