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Question
Posted by: Pregnant | 2012-03-15

Abdominal excercises

Hi
I have heard that after 16 weeks of pregnancy one should not do sit ups as the muscles worked in situps separate for the growing baby. I have heard though that other abdomials are okay like core strengh where the back muscles are also worked are okay. Can you give me some more info on this and what excercise I can and can''t do wrt abdominals. I also know from my previous pregnancy that at amount 6 months I am not able to lie on my back as I struggle to breath the baby puts pressure on the aorta.
thanks

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Our expert says:
Expert ImageFitnessDoc

HI there

It can be a little risky, though I haven't heard that as a reason for it. It's more of a practical issue, because your center of mass changes, you have this weight (as you've discovered) and your joints also start to become more lax, so that adds up to discomfort, more than outright danger. The other thing is that if you strain really hard, then the intra-abdominal pressure can rise, not to seriously dangerous levels, but it can cause some complications and discomfort too.

I think the focus then should be on stability exercises, like Pilates would offer (all but the most demanding exercises), because these are a little less "dynamic" and they're improving the control of the muscles more than testing them in movement. Again, here, there is a practical issue in that you don't want to be lying down and feeling terribly uncomfortable in Pilates when pregntant, but as long as comfort allows, it's possible to do these. And then finally, there will come a time when you can't do anything that has any long term benefit anyway, so one kind of just has to accept that there's going to be a period of not training, but it'll be relatively quick to get back post-delivery.

Good luck

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Our users say:
Posted by: fitnessdoc | 2012-03-26

HI there

It can be a little risky, though I haven't heard that as a reason for it. It's more of a practical issue, because your center of mass changes, you have this weight (as you've discovered) and your joints also start to become more lax, so that adds up to discomfort, more than outright danger. The other thing is that if you strain really hard, then the intra-abdominal pressure can rise, not to seriously dangerous levels, but it can cause some complications and discomfort too.

I think the focus then should be on stability exercises, like Pilates would offer (all but the most demanding exercises), because these are a little less "dynamic" and they're improving the control of the muscles more than testing them in movement. Again, here, there is a practical issue in that you don't want to be lying down and feeling terribly uncomfortable in Pilates when pregntant, but as long as comfort allows, it's possible to do these. And then finally, there will come a time when you can't do anything that has any long term benefit anyway, so one kind of just has to accept that there's going to be a period of not training, but it'll be relatively quick to get back post-delivery.

Good luck

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