Back to articles Is It Safe to Train Your Abdominals During Pregnancy

Categories: Parenting Health & Wellness

Yes! Yes! Yes! Surprised? Read on! Pregnancy is definitely not the time to stop being active. Nor should you ignore the most important muscle group in your body.

In fact, training your core properly during pregnancy will dramatically improve and reduce the instances of lower back pain caused by the natural weight gain of pregnancy and postural changes. A strong core will also improve your ability to effectively push out your baby during delivery. Perhaps most importantly, training your abdominals during pregnancy will also help you 'bounce back' more quickly after the birth of your baby.

The following exercises are easy and effective ways to strengthen your core during all stages of pregnancy and can also be done by any mom after birth! These exercises are also known to reduce the likelihood and/or severity of abdominal separation caused by pregnancy.


Standing Obliques:

With weights relaxed at the side of the body, slowly tilt body sideways while maintaining a strong core and straight body. Focusing on using the opposing side abdominal muscles, slowly pull your erect body back up to the upright starting position.

Trainers Tip: Pull your belly button in towards your spine. Remember to breathe! Repeat 15-20 times/side


Cat/Cow For the Core:

Get onto all fours on a mat or other semi-soft surface. Begin with a flat back with hips and shoulders level, like a tabletop. Using your abdominal muscle contraction to initiate, round your spine into the position of an angry cat and hold for two to three breaths. Slowly release the abdominal contraction and drop your spine in a smooth and gradual motion so that the back enters a mildly swayed position. Hold for three breaths and repeat 10-15 times.


Belly Breathing:

Either sitting cross-legged or standing, place your hands on your belly. Contract the abdominal muscles inward and upwards as if you are imagining four points at your hips and ribs coming together into a point. Hold for 3-5 breaths and then release the abdominals. Repeat 15-20 times

Trainers Tip: Try counting out loud as you hold the transverse in towards your spine. This will help to ensure you are breathing. Relax your shoulders.

Maintaining a strong core during pregnancy is an essential element to every expectant mother's fitness regime. Taking time to perform these simple exercises 3 times/ week will help keep your core strong throughout your entire pregnancy and beyond!

Jennifer Rogers is the owner of FITMOM Durham. A pre and post natal fitness specialist, Lamaze Childbirth Educator and mother of 2 busy boys.