In early pregnancy, before your body undergoes most of its changes, you might not feel much different than before you found out you were pregnant. In fact, you might not even develop your characteristic baby bump for a few more months. During that time, you might worry about whether activities in your everyday routine, such as certain types of exercise, will cause problems for your growing baby.
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In the early stages of pregnancy, you're safe performing simple, gentle exercises on your stomach. Your pubic bone provides a shield for your still-small uterus, according to OB-GYN Catherine Lynch on BabyCenter.com. That, combined with your pea-sized baby and your increasing amount of protective fluid, makes lying on your stomach a low-risk activity. Avoid strenuous activities and exercises that involve some form of impact with the floor, just to be on the safe side.
Once the Bump Arrives
Your belly will expand rapidly and that means a few changes in your body that don't make exercising on your stomach a comfortable way to spend your time. Aside from your belly simply getting in the way, hormonal changes loosen your joints and increased weight leads to sore muscles. Also, stretched skin might itch and become tender to the touch. "You'd be too uncomfortable to want to do it long before you could ever hurt your baby," says Lynch.
Adapting Your Position
If you're trying to do exercises like pushups or planks, your belly will get in your way at some point. Instead of wrestling with your belly, you can adapt these exercises to make them safer and more enjoyable. For example, if you assume a traditional pushup position with an exercise ball under your legs, you can work your arms, back and core without lying on your stomach. You also can adapt exercises by performing them on your knees.
The Bottom Line
While lying on your stomach isn't likely to cause injury to your baby, especially in the first trimester, it's better to be safe than sorry. Even small, seemingly insignificant stomach injuries can have serious consequences during pregnancy, according to FamilyDoctor.org. Try modifying your favorite exercises or finding new ways to work the same muscle groups instead of performing activities that might make you uncomfortable. Discuss any plans you have to perform potentially risky exercises with your doctor or midwife.