Thursday, July 13, 2017

7 Easy & Safe Core Exercises for Pregnant Women

One of the first things that I learned during this pregnancy is how important having a strong core is for not only relieving back pain but also in preparation for labor. Having a strong core also helps out significantly with postpartum. I'll be the first to tell you that before I got pregnant I hated doing core exercises. Honestly, it was mostly because it's been my biggest weakness. I knew I had a weak core going into this pregnancy and it really showed as soon as the first trimester. This lead me to quickly start doing a bit more research on safe exercises to do while pregnant to strengthen my core. I figured it could only help right?

Each pregnancy is different so please consult with your doctor first before starting any exercises while pregnant.  I received approval from my doctor early on and just recently got confirmation once again that I am still healthy and able to continue exercising. While doing my research on safe core exercises, I found these to be some of the benefits:
  • They increase flexibility and provide better joint mobility which allows for different birthing positions while in labor.
  • Core exercises can prevent abdominal separation during pregnancy.
  • It's easier to regain fitness back after pregnancy.
  • It creates a strong spine and back muscles that will ensure good posture, even as your belly continues to grow.
  • Can decrease back pain.
Throughout this pregnancy, I have really tried to listen to my body in order to feel what's right and wrong. I've taken great pride in trying to be as healthy and active as possible not only for me but my my growing bump. Who would have thought that just a few simple exercises would have such a huge impact on my posture and ensure a pretty smooth pregnancy (knock on wood). I still have a few more weeks to go (give or take six weeks) but taking the time early on by strengthening my core has significantly helped me  Here are 7 easy (pregnant safe) exercises you can do to alleviate back pain and strengthen your core:

  • Heel Slides: Lie on your back with your upper back, neck and head propped up above your heart with your palms on the ground along your sides for support. Bend both knees to bring your feet in toward your butt. Keeping the heel above but close to the ground, extend one leg at a time. Then bring it back in to starting position. Alternate sides.

  • Single Heel Drops: Lie on your back with your upper back, neck and head propped up above your heart with your palms on the ground along your sides for support. Bend both knees at the hips to 90 degrees and lift both heels up off the ground so that the feet are in-line with the knees. With control, engage your abs to lower one heel. Touch the ground gently before you raise it back up to starting position. Repeat on the opposite side and continue to alternate legs.

  • Pelvic Tilts: Stand with your back against a wall and relax your spine. Inhale as you press the small of your back against the wall. Exhale and release to complete one repetition.

  • Triangle Pose: Stand with feet wide, right foot turned out and right heel aligned with arch of left foot; raise arms to shoulder height and out to sides, palms facing floor. Bend forward from the hips over right leg, placing your right hand on your shin or ankle, as you extend your left arm toward the ceiling, palm facing forward; turn head to look up at ceiling. Hold for 10 to 30 seconds. Repeat on opposite side.

  • Stretch and Tuck: Start on all fours. Extend your left arm straight out in front of you and your right leg out behind you. Engage your abs as you draw the extended elbow and knee in toward your core. Release to full extension and continue. Complete the same number of repetitions on the opposite side.

  • Cat/Cow Pose: Kneel on all fours and draw your abdominals in. Inhale and gently arch your back. Tip your tail bone up and look towards the sky. Exhale, round your back and tuck in your chin towards your chest. Repeat sequence 10 times. 

  • Child's Pose: Sit on your heels and reach forward elongating the spine. Rest your forehead and breathe deeply into your back. As your belly grows, keep your big toes together and spread your knees apart to create space.

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I am linking up with Amanda from Running with Spoons

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