Prenatal Abdominal Exercises
Abdominal exercises done while lying on your back aren't recommended after the first trimester. The reason for this is that when you lie on your back, your enlarged uterus presses on one of your major blood vessels, reducing the amount of blood pumped around the body and to the baby. However, you can strengthen abdominal muscles without lying on your back by using gravity and your body to strengthen and tone the torso. In pregnancy, you can tone your abdomen with exercises where you adopt an all-fours position or an upright sitting position. Try to do these exercises around 2-3 times a week.
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Get down on all fours with your hands on the floor, feet apart, and arms straight. Keep your back flat in a neutral position, being careful not to arch your back. Imagine your abdominal muscles as a sling holding your baby. Take a deep breath, then slowly pull your abdominal muscles (the sling) in toward your back, pulling the baby closer to you, and gently release, returning to the starting position. Repeat at least 20 times. Remember to breathe properly while doing this exercise, breathing in to start and breathing out as you pull in your belly.
Next: The Superman Pose
Excerpted from Pregnancy Day by Day.
Copyright ©2009 Dorling Kindersley Limited.
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