While your body is incredibly smart – it makes all the pregnancy adaptations without you even asking of it – you should modify your workouts for pregnancy, specifically your core workouts.
One of the biggest questions I hear during pregnancy is can I do core exercise? And which ab exercises are safe for pregnancy? To answer all of your pregnancy exercise questions, before beginning exercise, download our Prenatal & Postnatal Starter Pack.
Try these 4 Core Foundation exercises from our pregnancy workouts. Perform 30-60 seconds of each exercise with rest in between.
TRANSVERSE ABS BREATHING
Set Up: Sit on the floor with your legs crossed, back straight, abs tight.
Take an inhale, as you exhale pull your belly muscles in like you are “hugging your baby” or wrapping the baby with your ab muscles. Do 60 seconds.
BENT KNEE FALLOUTS WITH CORE BRACING
Set Up: Lay flat on your back, legs bent with your feet flat on the floor. Place your hands on your belly.
Slowly lower one knee to the side, as low as you can, keeping your back flat on the ground and your body centered. Raise your knee back up and then lower the opposite knee.
Do 30 seconds.
CORE BRACING ARM SWITCH
Set Up: Lay flat on your back with your knees bent, feet flat on the floor.
Raise one arm straight over your head and lower the other arm to be straight down by your side on the floor. Keeping both arms straight and your abs braced, switch arm positions so the opposite arm is now up above your head and the other arm is lowered down by your side.
Alternate back and forth for 30 seconds, then take a break!
HIP HIKES WITH CORE BRACING
Set Up: Stand with your feet together, hands on your hips, facing forward.
Bracing your abs, raise your left foot slightly off the floor. Lower your hip back down so your foot just taps the ground. Then, push your hip up again, using your core. *This takes core balance so make sure you have a stable surface nearby to regain your balance if needed, and don’t lift your foot too high!
Repeat 5-15 times and then switch sides so you are raising your right hip and foot for 5-15 more reps.
You might be wondering “is it safe to lie on back and do ab exercises during pregnancy?” While one study published by ACOG once recommended that a pregnant woman shouldn’t lie on her back after the first trimester, recent ACOG suggestions advise against lying on your back for extended periods of time during your entire pregnancy. This is due to the fact that, as the baby grows, the venous return to the heart decreases. This decrease can cause hypotension, or low blood pressure. So, please avoid lying on your back for too long. The same rules apply to some motionless postures found in yoga.
There are so many good core exercises for pregnancy in which you are not lying on your back. Keep in mind your core is more than just your abs; it comprises all the muscles of your core including the glutes.
One key core muscle is the transverse abdominis. This muscle supports your baby during pregnancy. The fibers act just like a corset, pulling the core in from all angles (front and back). The pelvic floor and TA keep your belly from dropping to your toes. The TA and PF, together with the uterus, work to push your baby out during delivery. Having these muscles be strong during pregnancy is so important, which is the focus of this prenatal core workout!