I miss lying on my back. It is advised on such websites as babycenter.com that pregnant women not lie on their backs for extended periods of time after their third month (and in some places of course I’ve read after the fourth month because it’s IMPOSSIBLE to find two bona fide trustworthy sources providing the same information) because doing so can reduce the amount of oxygen reaching the baby.
Although I’m currently about 4 1/2 months into my pregnancy, I’ve been rather uncomfortable in the flat-on-back position for months already. The grapefruit sized uterus in me down there has made it difficult to do crunches (that way I prefer my situps) and bicycles. Lately, I’ve also been having a tiny bit of difficulty breathing. Nothing serious to be sure, but it’s a little harder to get the breath down there with something in the way. This is not uncommon in pregnant women, especially as their uteruses vie for space with their diaphragms. What concerns me is that a healthy woman like me, who’s been doing situps since the day she hit pre-teendom, suddenly is being advised to give them up cold turkey. In fact, she has no choice but to. I’m willing to give up a hard-earned flat stomach but not necessarily the strength of the muscles defining it.
So what is a pregnant gal who wishes to retain her abs of steel to do? Some would say the answer is Kegels. I try to do those on the subway every morning. It’s hard to tell if I am doing them right since I’m not actually trying to hold any urine in. Kegels also use a different muscle group (different muscles) than good old-fashioned sit ups, so that suggestion seems to be skirting the issue.
One move I’ve been known to incorporate on a rather random basis seems to be the answer, at least for now. This move does not require lying on one’s back and it seems to target the lower abs more than anything else, while also giving one’s quads a good work out.
Start out sitting with your back straight up and your legs straight out in front of you, feet on the ground about a foot apart. Bend your legs and slowly bring your knees toward your chest with your feet pointing out until your knees are at a 45 degree angle from your chest (feet still on the ground). Lower your back until it is also a 45 degree angle from the ground, lightly holding your arms out in front of you to provide balance. Lift one foot off the floor until it is parallel with the floor and hold for one count. I do ten of these with the right foot, ten with the left, then ten with both, which is more difficult. After that, if I’m feeling game, I hold both feet in the air together for a count of ten. Then I repeat the whole process.
I feel the work in my lower abs probably more because they are not as strong as some of my other stomach muscles. I am aware of the belief it’s not really possible to isolate one group of abdominals from another. This move probably works all my abs but feels like more work for my lower abs since they aren’t as strong. It also gives my quads a nice workout.
If this move proves to be too much for anyone reading this as I’m sure it will be for me as the months progress, there is one old standby I know we can all count on to assist us in our quest for stronger abs: good posture. Simply sit up straight. By doing so this should not only assist with keeping your stomach tucked in by engaging the abs, but it will do wonders for your aching back and makes you look slimmer to boot!
Author by Jennifer Jordan