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Core Exercises while Pregnant?

Rather watch? Check it out.

Crunches during pregnancy? Nah, there's a better way.

Hi I’m Katie of Body in Motion Pilates. I'm here to help you have more comfortable pregnancy, efficient birth, and resilient recovery.

I frequently get asked the question “Why would I even want to exercise my core during pregnancy? It's just gonna get bigger anyways.”

First off, I'm not here to teach you core exercises for a smaller waist. I'm here to teach you core exercises for better function and ease that's going to carry you through your pregnancy and for the rest of your life.

Your core is not just your abdominals, that's only part of it. It’s a canister with the abdominals in the front, your diaphragm on top, your pelvic floor at the bottom, and your back extensors in the back. You can read more about each of these muscles and what they do HERE.

When everything is balanced and operating as it should be that core canister maintains constant pressure in your abdomen, whether you're inhaling, exhaling, jumping, sneezing, coughing, the whole nine yards. Basically life! This is why it's really important for this system to operate optimally during pregnancy because it's responsible for a lot of things.

  • It helps you transfer force from one area of your body to another so if you're a pitcher or a runner, it helps you transfer the force through your body from the ground.

  • It helps you keep your balance which we know is shifting as that belly is growing.

  • You’ll have better posture and when you have a confident posture, you download the fact that you're confident you start to believe it in your own brain.

  • There's less risk of pelvic floor issues or diastasis.

  • You have better breathing which we know can be a struggle.

  • You can get more efficient pushing if your core is firing optimally.

  • There's a decreased risk of low back pain.

Now these are all true whether you're pregnant or not, but we know that pregnancy can make those things even harder to achieve.

When we core train during pregnancy, it's to keep that pressure inside your core canister from leaking out where it shouldn't. So for some people, that's extreme heartburn (up). For some people, it could be a diastasis (forward). For other people, it can be leaking (down) and for other people, it can be low back pain (back).

These are all symptoms of a misfiring core system.

Since the core’s job is all those things I just listed before, the best way to exercise your core while you're pregnant is in functional ways. That means we want to move our spine in the four ways that our spine is able to move. When we train in all four of those directions (as opposed to just crunches for a six-pack), then we get that optimal function. We get that resilient core and we get all those awesome things that the core can do for us - pregnancy and beyond.

The four ways our spine can move are

  • Flexion

  • Extension

  • Rotation

  • Lateral flexion (side bending)

When exercising during pregnancy, we want to be sure and include movements in all of those ways. However, that can be challenging, as I'm sure you've already realized!

A birth ball is a fantastic prop to help make those movements more doable even in the later stages of pregnancy.

Check it out!

Want a full Birth Ball exercise class? Be sure to subscribe to my YouTube channel so you’ll be the first to get it when it comes out next week!

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