Working with post and prenatal women is such a gift. I love seeing the transformation of a women's body before bringing a baby into the world, along with the strength and determination with the transformation after. Women are superheroes. We freaking rock. You go girls.
As you may already know, exercising while pregnant reaps so many benefits. It is highly recommended by doctors and health professionals all over the world. If you were active before baby, it is great to keep the activity up. If you weren't active, no worries- your body wants you to move, so it's never too late to start. It's important to remember that when you are pregnant, you are exercising to prevent aches and pains, keep muscles strong, avoid excessive weight gain and have peace of mind. You are going to gain weight, end of story. So try not to stress about burning hundreds of calories and getting your heart rate up, and focus on just feeling good. You are doing this for yourself and the miracle growing in your belly!
Even if you aren't pregnant, having a strong core is very important. Many people think the "core" is just your abs. The core is the center of the body, and consists of the abdomen muscles, the hips, the spine, and back muscles. It's the foundation of your body where your arms and legs stem from. Your core rotates and helps give it momentum to move in any direction, it helps maintain posture, balance, and alignment of the body. A strong core helps you sit up straight at your desk, helps prevent injury when you pick up your toddler or a heavy box, and takes away low back pain by keeping you standing upright.
Now, if you're pregnant, I want you to think of those "six pack muscles." Okay. Now let's forget about them. We want these muscles to relax and soften, let them do their thing. Now think of your obliques, transverse abdominis, and pelvic floor. YOUR WHAAAT? Your Obliques run along the sides of your body. These help you exhale, and rotate. Your Transverse Abdominis runs deep in your body behind your "abs" and along the spine, and assists in bending and rotating (and much more!) The Pelvic Floor supports your bladder, uterus, and colon. Today, I'm going to show you a variation of a side plank you can do while pregnant. This will help strengthen your core, more specifically, your obliques. Below is a modified side plank. If you are feeling strong enough, feel free to stack your feet or stagger your feet.
Of course, with any exercise, please don't do these moves without getting the okay from your doctor!
- Step 1: Prop yourself up on one arm (forearm or hand) making sure the elbow/hand is directly under your shoulder.
- Step 2: Drop the bottom knee and hold.
- Step 3: Option: Lift the top leg and extend the arm.
- Step 4: Option: Bring the top knee and extended arm together to add movement for an extra challenge.
Hold this side plank for 20 seconds, rest for 10, and repeat it 3 times. If you added the movement, do 10-15 reps, rest and repeat it 1-2 more times. Remember, depending on how fit you were before or during pregnancy is how you will gage on your time intervals and rep range. Listen to your body.
Depending on how you feel and how your body has been changing, side planks are safe to do during your entire pregnancy. Always remember to listen to your body, if something doesn't feel right, stop! Always remember to breathe and take things slow. Prenatal exercise is meant to be relaxing so you and your baby are feeling good! Happy side planking!
"Happy and healthy parents make happy and healthy children."