As a pre and postnatal yoga and fitness teacher, I often answer questions about what types of movement is safe. Specifically, lots of pregnant goddesses want to know if they can train their core, and if so, how? The word core is a great term that was first brought into common language in the 1980’s to make ‘trunk stabilizers,’ sound more sexy. This led to all kinds of fitness contraptions to train the core.
The core is comprised of the rectus abdominus (6 pack muscles), the transverse abdominus (TVA), the obliques, and the lower back. It is totally possible to safely train the core during pregnancy, we just need to modify exercises and focus on stability instead of shortening the muscles (e.g. a crunch). Crunches are not my favorite exercise in terms of the effectiveness when you are not pregnant. For a pregnant woman, they are simply not safe when performed in a full range of motion. So what is a pregnant mama to be supposed to do? Stabilize!
Exercises on the hands and knees like cat and cow, which I prefer to call rainbow and unicorn (I’m a yoga teacher born in the 70’s), are very effective and safe for stretching and strengthening the low back and belly. Plank is also fantastic and can be modified by simply placing the knees on the floor.
Another option to safely train the core is to become more mindful of posture. Imagining that your tailbone is pointed down, instead of back (think Donald Duck), it can help create muscle memory. An additional gentle aid would be a pregnancy support tank top, like the one from Belly Bandit. It has the perfect amount of support so that you are not constricted or constrained. Feels sort of like a bra for your belly.
Please message me directly through my website mothersintolivingfit.com with your questions about safe prenatal core training. You can also find instruction on my ‘Prenatal Yoga Workout,’ by Gaiam on Amazon. Wishing you lots of belly laughs through your pregnancy and beyond.