13 Best Abdominal Exercises During Pregnancy

Pregnancy is one amazing journey. Though it brings a lot of changes to your body, all those discomfort and changes are worth it when you hold your baby in your hand. Pregnancy does not demand your fitness, but if you feel good after a little workout. You should continue with it even in your pregnancy. Doing some good exercise helps you to stay fit and active during pregnancy. We have brought to you the 13 best abdominal exercises during pregnancy, which helps tone your muscles and prepare you for delivery.

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Benefits of Abdominal Exercises

The reason you should do the following abdominal exercises are as follows-

  • It strengthens your core muscles.
  • Boost your energy and keeps you active throughout the day.
  • Helps to make your body flexible.
  • Improves your posture and also relieve you from back pain.
  • It helps to improve your ability to bear the labor.

13 Abdominal Exercises

1. Sitting Knee Lift-

This is a very easy exercise to perform. You can perform it, just by sitting on a chair. It helps you to strengthen your core.

How to perform:

  • Take a good sturdy chair and sit down on it.
  • Your feet to be flat on the ground and in line with your knee.
  • Palms facing downwards and should be below your hip.
  • Slowly contract your abdomen by bending left knee.
  • Bring your knee to the chest.
  • Relax your foot
  • Repeat it with another leg.

2. Side-Lying Crunch-

Well, you can perform this exercise in all your trimesters. It is the safest exercise.

How to perform:

  • Lie on the floor.
  • Bend your knees and your hands holding your head.
  • Move your body to the left side and knees at 30-degree angle to your hips.
  • Now, roll your body towards right side and rise your knees till 6 inches.
  • Your body weight should rest on the back of your shoulder.
  • Doing the above steps, your shoulder should rise from the floor.

3. Seated Ball Stability Hold-

For this, you will need a stability ball. Performing exercise on the ball during the second and third trimester is very good as it helps to provide you comfort and also tones your muscles.

How to perform:

  • Sit on the ball with a good posture.
  • Your hands on the side, to maintain the posture.
  • Inhale and lift up your foot from the ground.
  • While lifting the foot, lift the opposite arm above your head.
  • Hold your breath for 1-2 seconds and return to initial position.
  • Do the same with other arm and foot.

4. Standing Crunch-

Just the way you use to perform a crunch, this is the same but just in a standing pose. One of the safest exercises for all trimesters.

How to perform:

  • Stand straight with your legs hip-width apart.
  • Your hands interlocked and behind your head.
  • Slightly bend your knees.
  • Inhale and pull your belly button in.
  • Exhale and crunch forward squeezing your abdominal muscles.
  • Repeat it for 15-20 times.

5. Side Plank-

This exercise can be done in many ways. It is best to choose the way safest for you. This will help to increase the space in your abdomen, which is good for the baby.

How to perform:

  • Lie down on mat with your side.
  • Your elbow under your shoulder supporting body weight.
  • Legs to be folded and on top of one another.
  • Focus on your breathing.
  • Squeeze your hip and raise your body, so that it is a straight line from head to hips.
  • Keep your head and neck straight.
  • Hold the position for 20-30 seconds.
  • Repeat it on other side.

6. Standing Toe Touches-

This abdominal exercise helps to relieve any strain on your back muscles and also increases flexibility.

How to perform:

  • Stand straight with your legs hip-width apart.
  • Your hands to be straight and right above your head.
  • Inhale and bring your hands forward. Bend your body and try to touch the toe.
  • Do not exert pressure on your stomach, bend as much as you can.
  • Repeat it for 10 times.

7. Kegels-

Kegels is one amazing exercise, which helps to tone your uterus muscles, controls your urine flow and supports the growing baby. This exercise is very helpful in delivery.

How to perform:

  • Sit down comfortably either on a chair or on a ball.
  • Inhale deeply, such that your belly rises up with air.
  • After you have inhaled, slowly exhale the air out.
  • Now, next time you inhale, you need to tighten your vaginal muscles.
  • Slowly exhale out the air.
  • Your neck, shoulder and face should be relaxed. But pelvic floor muscles should be tightened.
  • Do this at least 20 times a day.

8. Cat Cow Pose-

This is the best pose that everyone should do, whether you are pregnant or not. The cat-Cow pose helps strengthen your core muscles and increase the flexibility of your spine and back, which is very much needed during pregnancy.

How to perform:

  • Be on the floor on all your fours, your hand and knees.
  • Inhale and look upwards. Your spine will make an arch.
  • Exhale and look down, also draw your belly inside.
  • Repeat the process of Inhaling and Exhaling for 2 minutes.

9. Squats-

This is the best exercise to perform in your first trimester. After you have reached the second trimester, you might find it difficult to squat. At this point, always keep your partner with you, to support you doing exercise. Squat helps you with the pushing stage during delivery.

How to perform:

  • Stand straight with your feet hip-width apart.
  • Your hands straight to be in front.
  • Now, bend your knee as if you are going to sit on a chair.
  • Your knees should be in line with your toes.
  • If you feel, you are losing balance hold your partners hand.
  • Stay in the squat position for few seconds.
  • Slowly, get back to initial position.

10. Hip Hiker-

Not many of you have heard about this exercise. But Hip Hiker helps to strengthen hip muscles and glute.

How to perform:

  • Lie down comfortably on the mat on your side.
  • If you feel uncomfortable, you can place a pillow under your head.
  • Your legs to be on top of each other.
  • Bend your lower leg and keep the upper leg straight.
  • Raise your upper leg to about 2-4 inches from ground.
  • Make sure the leg is straight, now pull the abdomen muscles.
  • Hold the position for 5 seconds.
  • Repeat it with other leg.

11. Scissor Kicks-

Scissor Kicks really helps to work on your abdomen. This exercise is safe only in your first trimester, from the second trimester it is good to avoid it.

How to perform:

  • Lie flat on the ground with your hand under your hip.
  • Your back should be as flat as possible.
  • Raise your one leg bring it up till 10 inches from ground.
  • Now lower your leg and raise the other leg.
  • Keep doing this, it is like scissor working.
  • Do 10 sets of it.

12. Single Heel Drop-

This exercise helps to strengthen your glute muscles during pregnancy. It will help in strengthening your legs and reducing the pain.

How to perform:

  • Lie on mat with your back and arms sideways.
  • Fold your both legs at 90 degrees.
  • Straighten out your one leg and let the other be folded.
  • While straightening out, tighten your abs.
  • Touch the ground and then again fold it back.
  • Do the same with other leg.

13. Standing Pelvic Tilt-

During pregnancy, as we start to gain weight our posture starts to change. This exercise helps to improve your posture and also strengthen your abdominal muscles and back.

How to perform:

  • Stand straight near wall.
  • Your hips and back should be touching the wall.
  • Heels should be around 12-18 inches away from the wall.
  • You will notice there is a gap between your lower back and wall.
  • Contract your abs and also tilt your pelvis. You will feel your lower back touching the wall.
  • Stay in this position for 5 seconds.

Safety Measures Before you start Exercise

The above exercises are completely safe and also help to increase your flexibility. But take care of the following things before doing the abdominal exercises-

  • You can perform the exercises very well during your first trimester. In second and third trimester it is better to let go of some exercises.
  • Always keep yourself hydrated by drinking water and fresh juices.
  • Wear loose clothes, to let the air pass properly.
  • Do not exercise in hot and humid condition, it can dehydrate your body.
  • Stop exercising as soon as you feel uncomfortable.
  • Do not lie on your back while doing exercise after first trimester.

So, above are some of the best abdominal exercises which you can perform during pregnancy. These exercises are very helpful in dealing with the pregnancy problem. But before you start performing them, always consult your doctor.

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