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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I talked to my OB yesterday about strengthening my abdominal muscles during pregnancy and she said thats not necessary at all? <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/confused.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="Confused">: I know you're not supposed to lie down and do crunches but I somehow thought its still important to strengthen those muscles? I'm going to talk to my midwife at my next appt (3 more weeks) but thought I'd check to see if anyone has any info on this. Thanks!
 

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I am certainly no expert but here is my take on it:<br><br>
I work out quite a bit, and have basically kept to my same routine since i've been pregnant. Prior to becoming preg, I did cardio (running/walking or bike or slide board) 2-3x/week. Yoga 2-3x/week. Strength training 2/week. I incorporate a LOT of core (which includes a lot of ab work) work in my workouts. Since becoming preg, I no longer do strenuous cardio (don't want to elevate my heart rate above 140 or 150 or so). Recently, I have stopped doing exercises and yoga poses that require me to lie on my belly. Until 20 weeks, I have NO problem lying on my back to do crunches and I can't find any referencs that say otherwise.<br><br><br>
From what i've read, you can basically do anything except activities that have a risk of falling (biking, skiing) or being hit (soccer, other contact sports). And don't elevate your heart rate too high, and use common sense and listen to your body. Finally, don't start any new exercise programs. If you have a chance, check out an issue of FitPregnancy at a bookstore.<br><br>
Crunches will become difficult once my belly is really big, so i'm doing as many as possible now! Sometimes I do them on one of those big fitness balls, which would be a good option if you don't want to lie directly on the floor on your back.
 

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Stengthening your ab and back muscles is an excellent idea and will help prevent the PG waddle and the aches and pains that it causes.<br><br>
You can do ab exercises on an exercise ball (as mentioned above), or on somehting like the AbDoer. You can also do isometric exercises (standing in yoga's Mountain Pose, holding your tummy in a lot) and that will help, too.
 

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Much like yogamama I worked out quite a bit prior to becoming pregnant, and have continued so far throughout my pg.<br>
I think ab exercises are an excellent thing to be practicing! You will most likely have less back pain and get your abs back into shape quicker after the baby.<br>
I have continued doing cardio for 30-45 min 4-5 days a week, ab exercises 4-5 days a week, strength training 3-4 days a week, and yoga 2 x a week.<br>
for ab exercises I do crunches on an exercise ball or I do crunches on an ab weight machine, followed by ab stretches.
 

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well, when I mentioned wanting to strengthen my abs at my last appt, my mw said "this is not the time to do that!" Like I could really strain my muscles or something. Not that she thinks I shouldn't do anything, I think she just meant not to work hard at toning those muscles right now. Instead, she handed me a prenatal yoga tape to check out. I haven't done it yet b/c my inner thighs have been KILLING me, but I hope to soon. All exercise has been halted for me (was going to "curves" 2-3x/wk) b/c of my stinkin legs. It hurts to just walk, so I think exerting myself is out of the question.<br><br>
But anyway, exercise is SO subjective during pregnancy. It's definitely case-by-case. All I can say is you *definitely* don't want to strain any abdominal ligaments b/c it's super painful and remains tender for a long time. I didn't even know I had strained mine at the time--not till the next day when I thought I was having contrax! No fun. So be careful, but do whatever you're comfortable with.
 

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I did ab crunches for awhile, like for the first 16 weeks or so. Then I started doing the kneeling on the floor and lifting the stomach muscles in that way. I think the Shelia Keitzinger book has some ab exercises that you can do. One of them involves lying on the floor and alternating stretching one leg out while bringing the other leg up, sole on the floor, but your knee will be bent, if that makes sense. From what I remember, she does recommend strengthening those muscles, but you have to be careful if you've already strained them so they are separated, which can happen once they are really stretched out from the size of your expanding uterus. There is a test to feel for that, but you can still do certain exercises to help them get back in shape.
 

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I separated my abs quite badly with my first pregnancy and have been working my butt off repairing them ever since, I now have the strongest abs I have ever had. I am very anxious to keep them strong next pregnancy and spoke to my yoga teacher about what I can safely do during the next pregnancy. She was quite adamant that strong ab work risks increasing separations occuring during pregnancy making it too risky. She recommends lots of yoga standing poses to strengthen the abs but no strong floor work (crunches, pilates, etc) 6-8 weeks post partum.
 

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Do you all mind if I drift for a sec, to ask Phoebekate, what are you doing to repair your separation? I've not been able to find as much as I'd like about what to do about mine, which is pretty bad (about 3 fingers wide).<br><br>
If anyone would prefer that I don't drift this here, then could you send me a PM? TIA!!
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Thanks for all the responses. I'm doing prenatal yoga using a tape right now, but should be joining a class next month. I'll talk to the instructor about ab strengthening poses. With dd, my abs separated some (probably due to the fact that I stopped doing all ab exercises after 8 weeks preg (my dr.'s recommendation). I'll look into the exercise ball too.
 
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