What are your specific recommendations for abdominal exercise for a prenatal woman in her first, second, third trimester?
I have a client that was told by her OB/GYN to not do any core or abdominal work during her prenancy. I know lying on the back in the second and third trimesters are considered contraindicated due to the weight of the child against the posterior side of the body causing issues with blood flow, however, I've never heard a prenatal woman be told no abdominal work of any kind. My questions are:
1. What core/abdominal exercises do you use?
2. Have you ever heard this before?
Another exercise would be pulling the ABs in & realeasing them with the breath. This is also called Panting Breath or Breath of Fire in Yoga. These can be done seated, standing or on all fours. For varity, while in the all fours position, one can extend the right arm out overhead while extending the left leg back (and visa versa), parallel to the ground to add level of difficulty using the balance factor. Care should be taken to not do them too quickly or for more than 30 counts which could cause hyperventilation.
I hope this info is useful to you!
For my pregnant clients, I like to teach pelvic tilt/pelvic tuck (standing, prone, or elevated supine); elevated plank position; bird dog movement (also called quadripeds), and 'don't move me' style exercises, where your client holds a towel or resistance band, and you firmly try to move it out of their grasp, with their intention to resist the movement.
However, if your client's doctor has contraindicated any kind of abdominal work, then you have to abide by it.
1st tri- can continue doing normal core/ab work as long as it's a healthy pregnancy
2nd & 3rd tri- no more flexion, I work rotation to activate deep core (transverse & pelvic floor)
Think standing rotations with cable crossover (light weight, or on the reformer) be sure to rotate hips with torso.
Cat cow/alternating arms & legs
Modified side plank
Those are a couple standard I teach with my prenatal gals
Think always actively engaging deep core without doing specific ab work :-)
So as a personal trainer I only suggest and give exercises to strengthen the pelvic floor muscles like Keggels and elevators to help with the delivery as well and more breathing exercises that helps to keep the energy going with the whole abdominal region. Strengthening the adductors that help to keep the lumbopelvic area stable! Fit Balls and some pilates exercises specially made for the pre-natal and during pregnancy are the best!
Gurmuk's "Prenatal Yoga" Dvd is excellent, I linked it here where you can get it and others too:
However, stretching during this time is a wonderful thing and I would not consider that an ab workout, but so beneficial to the whole body.
I wonder whether the doctor knows that "the core" is.
It is possible to perform movements like the bird dog standing. This will help strengthen the posterior musclature. She can always perform lateral tube walking. Rotation of her vertebral column might be an idea as well as, rows and chest presses done standing.
The above exercises involve muscles of the core.
Of course it's important to speak with her OB/GYN first.
In general you want to stabilize the pregnant body not mobilize. There is an extra amount of relaxin running through her body that makes diasitis recti and pubis symphisis a threat, especially as the belly continues to grow and the hips widen, preparing for birth.
Examples of core exercises we use can be found on our youtube page
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Fit For Birth offers a Pre and Post Natal Corrective Exercise Specialist Certificate. You will receive an entire exercise library as well as the knowledge to make wise decisions when it comes to core exercises! It is preapproved for 1.9 CEUs for NASM and 6 CEUs for NCSF