Many people assume your core is only your abdominal muscle or “six pack”. In reality, your core is more like a soda can. Your abdominals only make up the outer shell of the “can”. The bottom part of your “can” is your pelvic floor and the top part of the “can” is your diaphragm. It’s vital when you work on your core that you work all parts of it. These three simple exercises can be used to stabilize your core in a safe manner while pregnant.
1. Modified Planks at a Countertop
- Begin the plank position, with hands placed at the edge of the counter. Your elbows are directly under your shoulders. Your head is relaxed and you should be looking towards the counter and NOT down at the ground.
- Engage your abdominal muscles, drawing your navel toward your spine. Keep your torso straight and rigid and your body in a straight line from your ears to your toes with no sagging or bending. This is the neutral spine position. Ensure your shoulders are down, not creeping up towards your ears. Your heels should be over the balls of your feet.
- Begin with 15-20 second holds performing 5-10 times.
2. Diaphragmatic Breathing
- In a seated position place one hand on your upper chest and one at the part of your torso where your ribs meet your belly.
- Breathe in through your nose slowly. As you breathe in you should feel your lower hand rise and fall as you “belly breathe”. The hand on your chest should remain still.
- As you breathe out, breathe through pursed lips to slow your breathing.
- Repeat for 5-10 minutes.
3. Supine Hook Lying Hip Adduction With Ball (only to be performed in the 1st or 2nd trimester)
- Begin by laying on your back with your knees bent.
- Take a small ball or pillow and place it between your knees.
- Push your knees together squeezing on the ball; hold for 5 seconds.
- You will feel your adductors (inner thighs) contracting as well as your pelvic floor.
- Try to maintain and perform a slight abdominal contraction as well.
- Perform 30-40 times.