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Experts Corner

Fitness

Ab Exercises in the 2nd Trimester
By Lisa Stone, ACE

Q. What kind of ab exercises can I do in my second trimester?

A. Here are two to get you started . . .

  1. Start in a quadruped position (forearms and knees), exhale as you tighten the abs pulling the belly button in toward the backbone, inhale as you release.

  2. You can work the obliques by starting in a side-lying position with knees bent and at a 45 degree angle, exhale as you lift the rib cage toward the hip bone, squeezing in the waist line, inhale as you lower.

  3. Crunches on the fitness ball - The fitness ball is a wonderful accessory for pregnant women because you can adjust yourself on the ball to avoid compressing your vena cava which restricts blood flow; just get yourself in a position where the ball is resting under your shoulder blades instead of under your back - you'll get a great glute workout at the same time you work your abs! If you start to notice a ridge forming down your torso as you crunch, then you could be developing some separation of your main abdominal muscle.

You should also combine these exercises with pelvic floor or Kegel exercises to get maximum benefit. Once you are past your first trimester, traditional crunches are a no-no. You shouldn't do any exercises in a back-lying position because your heavier uterus could compress your vena cava (the main source of blood return), causing abnormally low blood pressure and restricting the amount of oxygen getting to the baby.

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