Your transverse abdominal muscles -- also known as the transversus abdominus or core muscles -- are located deep in your pelvic girdle. They act like a corset, supporting your internal organs, and are essential for maintaining good posture. According to the Family Education website, strengthening these muscles before and during pregnancy can relieve pressure on your back and thighs and can help support your baby weight.
In most cases, exercising during pregnancy is safe and even recommended. However, it is recommended that you check with your doctor before staring an exercise program -- especially if you didn’t exercise regularly before becoming pregnant or if you have experienced complications during your pregnancy. One of the most important changes to your exercise routine during pregnancy is avoiding lying flat on your back after the first trimester, says the Baby Center website. When pregnant, this position can make you dizzy, nauseous and short of breath because it places pressure on and restricts blood flow through the vena cava, a major vein that carries blood from your uterus back to your heart. Even if you feel comfortable on your back, it is highly recommended that you place a pillow under your hips when lying on your back in order to relieve pressure on the vena cava.
This exercise is good to do while it’s still safe for you to lie on your back -- that is, during your first three months of pregnancy, says the Family Education website. Lie on your back with your legs straight out along the floor then gently lift your head off the floor, angling your chin towards your chest. You should feel your stomach muscles tighten as you lift. Hold for a few seconds then slowly lower your head back down to the floor and repeat five times. Aim to do two sets twice a day.
This exercise can be done at any stage during pregnancy, as long as you do it carefully and feel no pain or discomfort at any time. During your first trimester, lie on the floor with your knees bent and gently contract your stomach muscles, pressing your lower back into the floor for a count of three, says Family Education. Relax and repeat five times, twice a day. During your second and third trimesters, do this exercise standing up with your knees slightly bent and gently press your back against a wall.
If you want to work your abs any time, anywhere, this is the exercise for you. Simply squeeze your stomach muscles for a count of three, relax and repeat five times, twice a day, says Family Education. This exercise can be done sitting or standing -- but, as with any pregnancy abdominal exercise, it’s essential to stop if you feel any pain or discomfort.
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This article reflects the views of the writer and does not necessarily reflect the views of Jillian Michaels or JillianMichaels.com.