During a pregnancy, your body will go through many major changes. Many active women strive to maintain an active lifestyle throughout the entire pregnancy, including abdominal exercise. Your ab region changes more than any other physically, and while you can still do ab work while you're pregnant, certain precautions should be taken. Check with your physician if you plan to include abdominal exercise in your pregnancy routine.
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Performing a standard lying-on-the-back abdominal crunch is okay during the first trimester of your pregnancy. The baby is still in the early development stage and risks are minimal. As you progress to the second and third trimesters, it is not recommended to lie on your back for abdominal work, and you should explore other avenues if you wish to exercise your midsection.
Effective Ab Exercises
Once your pregnancy begins to move along and basic crunches are no longer an option, you can still work your abs effectively. Perform side crunches by lying on your left side with your left leg bent and arm extended on the floor in front of you to help stabilize your body. Place your right hand behind your head, then bring your right knee and elbow together to meet in the middle, contracting your abdominals. Another effective move is to stand with your back to a wall and your feet roughly 12 to 18 inches away. Pretend your hips are a soup bowl, with the top of the bowl facing up. Tip the bowl back toward the wall as you tighten your abs. Hold the contraction for five seconds and repeat 10 times.
Exercising your abdominals and the rest of your body during pregnancy offers you several different benefits. Diastasis recti, or separation of the abdominal muscles, can be prevented by keeping the muscles strong. Exercise will also reduce back pain, result in an easier labor and delivery and help you feel more fit and confident during your pregnancy, says Progressive Parent. Exercise also lessens leg cramps and constipation and improves sleep.
If you choose to exercise your abdominals from a supine, or upward-facing position after your first trimester, you may endanger the baby. Moving your body in that motion can create pressure on the umbilical cord and disrupt the oxygen supply to the baby.
Keep your physician up to date and informed about any type of exercise you want to perform during your pregnancy. Ask for suggestions that are suitable for your overall health and fitness level. Popular choices during pregnancy include walking, swimming and light water aerobics.