5 Prenatal Core Exercises

Your core is an important part of your prenatal exercise routine.  Earlier this week we shared five reasons to strengthen your core during pregnancy.  Among them, we discussed the importance of back strength for supporting your growing belly, and how core exercises can prepare you for labor and help you return to your pre-pregnancy body faster.  Today we’re sharing five amazing prenatal core exercises that will help you achieve core strength.

  • 5 Prenatal Core Exercises

    Pelvic Floor Kegels: Sit upright on an exercise ball or any other surface if you don’t have one.  Start doing a regular kegel by pulling your pelvic floor up.  Hold this position and squeeze in your lower belly to engage your transverse abdominals.  You can think of this as your muscles cuddling your baby.  Hold for 5 seconds and slowly release.  Repeat this exercise 8 to 10 times per session.  This is a great one to do while you’re on the phone or watching TV since you can be sitting almost anywhere to do it.

  • Donkey Kicks: Start in a neutral position on your hands and knees – kind of like a donkey.  Your hands should be directly under your shoulders and your abdomen should be pulled up.  Lift one knee and extend it backwards until it is parallel with the floor.  Repeat 15 to 20 reps per leg.  Do not bring your knee in past its original position and do not crunch your abs.  By doing this simple leg lift, you are strengthening your abdominal muscles and back.
  • Pelvic Rocks: This is sometimes called the “cat and cow” stretch.  While on hands and knees, slowly draw your abdominals inward and curve your back upwards.  Fold your chin into your chest.  Hold stretch for 5 seconds.  Then reverse the pose by releasing the abs and curving the back the opposite direction while lifting your head and gazing at the ceiling.  Hold for another 5 seconds.  Repeat 10 to 20 times.  This stretches out both the back and abdominals.
  • V-Sit with Leg Lifts: Sitting on a cushioned surface, lift one or both legs off the ground and raise your arms to create a “V” with your body.  Hold for 5-10 seconds and repeat.  Alternatively, sit with both legs on the ground and simply lean backwards for a modified version.  In the same set-up, hold your “V” position and bend and extend one leg at a time for a more intense move.
  • Side Plank: Lying on your side, fold one elbow into a 90 degree angle with legs extended outward.  Lift up on your arm to support your entire body – only your arm and bottom foot should be touching the floor.  Repeat 10 times.  For modification, do the exercise with bent knees and allow your bottom knee to remain on the floor.  This works the side abdominal muscles called the obliques.

In just 10 minutes a day, you can strengthen your core during pregnancy with these prenatal core exercises.  Cheers to a stronger core!!

*Always consult your physician regarding your individual health and fitness practices.