You abdomen changes a lot throughout the course of your pregnancy and with all that stretching you may be wondering what you can do to stay in shape and speed your recovery after you give birth. Many women are under the impression that abdominal exercises are a no-no when pregnant, but as long as you’re healthy enough to exercise there are some exercises that are perfectly safe and effective for your core muscles. Below are three of Los Angeles personal trainer Lalo Fuentes’ favorite pregnancy ab exercises!
The Benefits of Strong Abs
During pregnancy, a lot of demand is placed on your body. Lower back pain is one of the most common pregnancy complaints, but if you continue to work on your core when pregnant, then it can help to keep back pain in check. Plus, a strong core can help you recover faster after the baby is born – and you’ll need that core strength for all that baby lifting and carrying!
Just remember to have realistic expectations for yourself as your pregnancy progresses. You may not be able to do the same exercises near the end that you did at the beginning. As Lalo Fuentes, CSCS, says, “Pregnancy is not a time to strive for the chiseled abs of your dreams, but you can take safe steps to maintain your fitness during pregnancy.”
A Word of Caution
In order to do exercises safely throughout pregnancy, remember to never lay down flat on your back after the first trimester. Your uterus has become so enlarged by this point that the pressure can impact blood flow. Exercises you do should be done standing upright, on all fours, or standing upright.
Pregnancy Ab Exercise No. 1: Pelvic Tilts
It’s important to keep your pelvis strong and your abs engaged during pregnancy. This is an exercise you can do standing since getting up off the floor as your abdomen grows can be difficult. To do this exercise:
Stand up against the wall with a relaxed spine
Take a deep breath in as you press your lower back against the wall
Blow the breath out as you release your pelvis and finish the repetition
Repeat 15 to 20 times
Pregnancy Ab Exercise No. 2: The Prone Stretch and Tuck
For this exercise, get on all fours and:
Extend your right arm out in front of you and your left leg out behind you
Draw your extending knee and elbow in toward your core, making sure to engage your abs
Release by extending fully again
Switch to the opposite side
Repeat 5 to 10 times on each side
Pregnancy Ab Exercise No. 3: Side-Lying Knee Lifts
For this exercise make sure you lie on your right side as you extend your right arm overhead, resting your head on your upper arm and placing your left hand in front of your chest for balance as you do it. To perform this exercise:
Lift one or both of your knees up off the ground, making sure to engage your core
Slowly release, keeping control as you do
Turn over and repeat on opposite side
Repeat 10 to 15 times per side
Remember, personal trainers just like Lalo Fuentes are trained to work with pregnant women. So if you feel you need someone to help you maintain your fitness throughout your pregnancy, then get a personal trainer!