First-Trimester Abdominal Exercises
Some exercises for your abdominal muscles are not appropriate for all phases of pregnancy. During the first trimester, little change has taken place to affect the abdominal muscles in your body. You are still able to lie freely on your back without compromising your body or baby, and without thinking about it.
Sample Abs Exercise Program
The following exercises can be done during the first trimester. Many can be adapted for your postpartum at a later date:
This exercise should only be done during the first trimester or during postpartum. You begin by lying on your back, knees up (see FIGURE 10-6). With your abdominal muscles pulled in toward your belly button, begin sliding your legs away from your body (see FIGURE 10-7). Stop before you need to move your spine. Slowly return your legs to the starting position. Repeat this exercise ten times.
Remember, this is a gentle movement
This exercise is best for the first trimester only. Lie down on your back with your knees bent. Your feet should be about hip-width apart and flat on the floor. Be sure your abdominal muscles are pulled in (see FIGURE 10-8). Doing a small pelvic tilt will help you achieve this effect. Place your hands on your upper legs. Slide your hands toward your knees as you slowly raise your head and shoulders off the floor (see FIGURE 10-9)
This is not a huge movement and you should keep a space between your neck and chest. Breathing is essential; always remember to inhale as you release backward. The key to this abdominal exercise is a slow, steady pace. Jerky, bouncing movements will only cause you to injure yourself. You can do two or three sets of ten crunches.
Remember to inhale as you release the hold.
Lie down on your back with your spine elongated. Pull your knees up, feet hip-width apart and your feet flat on the floor. As you inhale, bring your left shoulder off the floor toward your right knee (see FIGURE 10-10). Be careful not to come farther than your shoulder blade. This does not provide you with any more exercise, as at this point you cease using your abdominal muscles. Exhale and slowly lie back. Switch sides, bringing your right shoulder toward your left knee. Repeat ten times for each side.
You will need your birth ball to aid you in this exercise. Lie down on your back, while placing your calves and feet on the birth ball. For support, place your hands at your sides. As you contract your abdominal muscles and your buttocks, lift your lower body from the floor (see FIGURE 10-11). Press your feet and calves into the ball to prevent it from rolling around. Hold this pose for a few seconds and then slowly lower your body back to the floor. Breathe normally and repeat ten times.
Abdominal Stabilization on the Ball
So when exercising your abdominal muscles, remember that the benefits will affect everything from your posture and how you move each day to the birth of your baby. It will even affect how quickly you recover after the birth of your baby. Remember to check for separation of the rectus muscles and alternate your supine positions with other positions to avoid maternal supine hypotension syndrome. With hard work and dedication, it will pay off. The results will be an amazing middle section!