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  Pregnancy Fitness Plan

Doing Abdominal Exercises During Pregnancy

The first and most important thing to remember in the case of pregnancy exercises of any kind is that any and all exercise programs should be cleared with your doctor. They’ll best know of any special circumstances that may impact you and your baby.

The other thing to remember is the goal that you’re shooting for – you and your baby’s health. Any other ideas – like weight loss, for example – should be set aside. Exercise programs – really, your whole pregnancy regimen – is closer to athletic training than anything else. That’s why abdominal exercises are such a good thing.

The muscles of your abdomen will have to stretch to accommodate the growing baby. The better tone they have, the better they’ll be able to stretch and recover. You are training for both the birth and the recovery afterwards. Getting into a training mentality will help you to have an easier time while pregnant and a smoother period of recovery.

Sadly, isolating the abdominal muscles isn’t really practical when you’re pregnant. However, the pelvic floor is just as important – perhaps even more so. After all, it’s the pelvic floor, along with the lower abdominals, that will support the baby and assist you in the delivery. With that in mind, check out the following exercises that will not only strengthen the abs but add to the flexibility and strength of the pelvic floor.

Number 1: Rocking the bowl - good for the lower abdominals and the pelvic floor. Stand up in a comfortable position with your back against a wall. Now, imagine your pelvis is a bowl with the open part of the bowl facing up toward your head. Tilt the bowl back, moving the front of the bowl up and flattening your back against the wall. Tighten your abdominal muscles as you do this. Hold everything tight for about five to ten seconds, then relax and repeat. Do about ten to fifteen repetitions of this exercise at a time.

Number 2: Side crunches - for the side of the abdomen and pelvic floor support. To begin, lie on either side with your upper leg straight and your bottom leg bent. You can rest your head on either your bottom arm or you can use a pillow under your head. Now, raise your upper leg about two inches and hold it in this position. Then, using your abdominal muscles at your side, pull your upper hip toward your shoulder. Be sure to keep your top leg straight as you pull. Hold the pose for about 5 seconds and repeat 10 times. Remember that your bottom leg won’t move during this exercise. Finally, roll over and do the same on the other side.

Number 3: Pelvic lift - for the upper abs. Start by lying on your back and then bend your knees up. Place your hands behind your head, across your chest or wherever is comfortable. Lift your bottom off the floor until the only things touching the floor are your shoulders and the soles of your feet. Tighten your glutes and hold the position for about five seconds. Do this ten times every day.

A word of caution – as your pregnancy progresses, there will be a separation in the abdominal muscles. You or your doctor can feel this separation. If the separation is one inch or more, you may want to reduce the number and intensity of these exercises.

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