to ask if it is OK or not to do stomach exercises in pregnancy?

(20 Posts)
dirtyface Sun 01-Sep-13 10:57:59

i am only 6 + 4 atm but i really want to keep my tummy muscles strong (basically, to attempt to make it easier to get back in shape after blush ) and, before getting pg, had regularly been doing several sets of planks a day

i am also intending to go swimming twice a week (when the sickness subsided), plus i walk dcs to and from school and back most days, so will be keeping up a decent level of fitness anyway, plus my job is quite physical

so wanted to ask, does anyone know if its ok or not to carry on doing this? or if not, is there anything else i could do to help keep my midsection strong?

but the last thing i want is to cause any damage to either the baby or myself!

ps-sorry for posting in aibu, have posted for traffic tbh

melliebobs Sun 01-Sep-13 11:06:33

To a point. It'd be better to do more deep core work rather than planks/crunches. The plank in particular is a static contraction so makes blood pressure rise as you do it. (Not good for baby) Plus later on with added weight of a baby/fluid etc it will be nye on impossible to keep perfect form so would be pointless anyway not to add that in the third trimester you should avoid work in a prone position. Deep core work (ie sat on a ball perfect form, engaging deep core muscles, balance by liftin one foot off the floor/closing your eyes etc) will be a lot more appropriate

dirtyface Sun 01-Sep-13 11:38:34

do you think it would help in the beginning though mellie as i don't have a bump yet

good idea to get a balance ball though

and thanks for the nhs link frankie

i'm just dreading what this is going to do to my body, i was bad enough after the first 2 dcs and they were in my 20's. now i am 33 and pregnant am worried about the state i will be in after sad

melliebobs Sun 01-Sep-13 11:47:09

Sometimes u just cant avoid it though. I did my normal ab routine (crunches/plank/leg raises/jack knifes etc) till about 20 weeks ish. Then it became too much like hard work and then i did more Pilates/controlled deep core work. I was very lucky in that even at 42 weeks I wasn't very big. But my abs still split. 18 months later they still are

gnittinggnome Sun 01-Sep-13 11:48:47

My PT has nixed crunches, but suggested planks as a safe exercise. As you progress you can make them easier by using straight arms, as though at the top of a push-up, which can lessen the stress on your lower back, and be prepared to ease off the time held and repetitions as you get further along. Also be careful of too much side-plank - listen to your body.

Also, as mentioned above, if you have any problems with high blood pressure, don't do any planks - it will raise your blood pressure and if you've already got an issue with that it won't be helpful.

Can I suggest antenatal pilates and yoga? Both are designed to be safe for a healthy pregnancy, and if you have a class nearby the instructor will help you maintain correct form / not push too far. Both will work on your core strength, as well as toning limbs, and the stretching/relaxation will probably be very welcome later on.

gnittinggnome Sun 01-Sep-13 11:51:10

Oops, sorry, also I forgot to add, you can also perform an effective but much less intense plank on your knees, keeping on your elbows. This takes down the pressure, but still works on those muscles. Everything I've read about working out when pregnant suggests using lower weights but more reps, and this applied to isometric poses like planks as well.

DropYourSword Sun 01-Sep-13 13:07:06

Just listen to your body. If it feels OK then do it. If it feels like you're pushing yourself too far just slow it down. As long as you're sensible you'll be fine.

PollyIndia Sun 01-Sep-13 13:36:23

I did crunches and boat pose in yoga until about 16 weeks when my abs split and I realised I shouldn't have been. Carried on doing plank etc throughout though which was ok, and other exercises for my TVA muscles. My abs knitted back together pretty quickly. I didn't really do any exercise for 12 weeks after birth though and then did reformer Pilates which is very effective on the old abs.

utopian99 Sun 01-Sep-13 15:21:07

I carried on the cross trainer until 38 weeks then swam until the birth at 12 days late.. Didn't do lots of focussed ab stuff after about 5 months but instead spent ALL my standing time consciously pulling my stomach in (within reason) and doing kegels.
It took about 3-4 weeks to get back into pre-pg jeans and 2 months before I felt myself again, but not too dreadful and ds is utterly fine and perky. I think the key is just to not suddenly ramp up exercise when you get pregnant really. I am 31 and he was first DC, so might be harder for no2!

dirtyface Sun 01-Sep-13 18:25:42

thanks all

i have been looking at pregnancy pilates classes near me. they are £££££££££s though sad

feel so fat already sad

melliebobs Sun 01-Sep-13 19:50:15

Tbf I wouldn't pay over the odds for a class just cos it says pregnancy in the title. Any half decent instructor at any bog standard class will be able to adapt/offer alternatives for a pregnant woman

bolshieoldcow Sun 01-Sep-13 19:59:13

You're not fat, you're pregnant (congratulations, btw). So be kind to yourself. Do the exercise that feels right, but your body's got something much more important to do right now - creating a whole new person. Getting back into shape afterwards is something to think about, well, afterwards!

dirtyface Mon 02-Sep-13 08:08:29

yes i suppose they would mellie ...i just thought pregnancy pilates would maybe mostly target the bits that need it most, ie abs / core / back.

i am not even 7 weeks yet and i am already bloated. last time i didnt even have a bump till about 20 weeks. so am just so worried about just being completely ruined after this pregnancy. as i said my others were in my 20's and i am worried that at 33 i will never go back to any semblance of a decent body. i know it sounds shallow and awful sad

i suffer from low self esteem anyway, not that its an excuse

If you are bloated, have you tried taking probiotics? I'm 14 weeks with my first and was suffering with horrendous bloating. Various people on here recommended getting some probiotics and changing my prenatal vitamins - turns out too much iron can bloat you/block you up! I was on the Pregnacare tablets which have very high iron levels, so have switched to the Sanatogen ones. I've also started taking one of these a day and the changes have made a huge difference!

Personally, I'd rather go to a specific pregnancy orientated class too, just for the reassurance that everything is designed for pregnant women.

dirtyface Mon 02-Sep-13 09:10:14

ooh i never thought of taking probiotics, will give it a go

do they really help?

its not helping with the bloatedness as well that i am feeling so sick. as all i am craving is salty, carby snacks and rubbish hmm although am trying to make sure i stay under 2000 cals a day and trying to throw in the odd bit of fruit and veg as well lol

catinabox Mon 02-Sep-13 09:32:33

Hi Dirty, I think the advice is not to introduce anything new and strenuous during pregnancy. How about lots of gardening, walking, ditching the car if you use one for short journeys.

I had to stop during my pregnancy as i wasn't very well. I felt like a blob!! When i was better at 34 weeks i got stuck into the garden and started doing lots of walking. Even walked to the shops and did my weekly shop with my rucksack, felt like a hardcore mama walking home with a few pints of milk in there!

I felt great in a really short time. I think as your pregnancy goes on you will love your bump. Get a birthing ball too they are great for core stability.

Congratulations by the way!

catinabox Mon 02-Sep-13 09:35:09

and don't worry about food too much, as long as you get a bit of everything you need. You'll have plenty of time to exercise and get your figure back when the baby is born and crying all the time requiring long long brisk walks pushing a pram

The probiotics have deflated me massively - a colleague even commented that my "bump" had shrunk! I still get a bit bloated from time to time, but the tablets have helped a lot.

As for eating rubbish, if that's what helps you stop being sick/feeling rough then go with it. Your body will prioritise the baby over you anyway so no need to worry about him/her not getting everything they need.

dirtyface Mon 02-Sep-13 15:37:06

oh i hope the prebiotics works for me as well, i will definitely try

from what i have been reading as well, i really do think i may have diastasis recti (sp?) as well, left over from the last pregnancy

is it worth trying to fix it while preg with this one, and indeed CAN it be fixed ? sad

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