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  1. #1
    Registered User woodenshoes055's Avatar
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    ab work while pregnant

    My husband and I just found out we're preggers and completely excited, but when it comes to training the abs is it pointless to do crunches? Does it give an added benefit during the pregnancy process and after, or is it a waste of time?

    From what I've read my training should be just to maint as should my diet, and in the second trimester I should stop doing exercises where I need to lay on my back. But is there anything else I need to know when it comes to training? Any advice or words of wisedom from other peoples experiences?
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    I'm going on 7 months and I have not done any direct ab work. I didn't do any prior to getting pregnant either. I didn't see the point. If I tried to do a crunch after 3 months, I don't think it would be comfortable, either.

    Just my advice after going into pregnancy with a workout "game plan" - just go with the flow because you may find a lot of exercises to be uncomfortable, be too sick or tired, or just feel like sleeping or puking. No need to be overly concerned with this or diet. Just "stay active" (which sometimes just might mean taking a walk) and try to get in your nutrients.
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    deracate chinese frower Mindi912's Avatar
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    Do NOT exercise your Retcus Abdominals Please - THIS IS VERY IMPORTANT. They are being stretched and aren't engaged in anything.

    Please do feel free to work your Obliques and your TVA, these will assist with child birth and the stronger they are the better it will be for you. Also your TVA's work in conjunction with your pelvic floor, so pls don't forget to work your pelvic floor.
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    deracate chinese frower Mindi912's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by woodenshoes055 View Post
    My husband and I just found out we're preggers and completely excited, but when it comes to training the abs is it pointless to do crunches? Does it give an added benefit during the pregnancy process and after, or is it a waste of time?

    From what I've read my training should be just to maint as should my diet, and in the second trimester I should stop doing exercises where I need to lay on my back. But is there anything else I need to know when it comes to training? Any advice or words of wisedom from other peoples experiences?
    Lay on your back - WTF. Pls do not do this. You can exercise all the way through your pregnancy and in fact it will help you with a natural birth. The only thing you can't do is start something new and you have to be careful what exercises you perform.

    Pls do not believe that old wives tale that pregnant women can't train.
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    Originally Posted by Mindi911 View Post
    Lay on your back - WTF. Pls do not do this. You can exercise all the way through your pregnancy and in fact it will help you with a natural birth. The only thing you can't do is start something new and you have to be careful what exercises you perform.

    Pls do not believe that old wives tale that pregnant women can't train.
    Are you saying that laying on your back after 2nd tri is an old wive's tale? Can you provide more info on that. Everything I have read has said that you can't do it and I miss turkish get ups and flat bench press There are sooo many tales that it is impossible to keep them straight.
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    Registered User woodenshoes055's Avatar
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    Yeah that's what I was wondering too. I've read on different websites that laying on your back after the 1st trimester is suppose to be bad, but if it's not then I can go on with my regular weight lifting, and not have to make changes well except for the obvious ones:}
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    deracate chinese frower Mindi912's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by woodenshoes055 View Post
    Yeah that's what I was wondering too. I've read on different websites that laying on your back after the 1st trimester is suppose to be bad, but if it's not then I can go on with my regular weight lifting, and not have to make changes well except for the obvious ones:}
    Ok firstly you shouldn't be working out for the first 6 weeks of pregnancy as this is when the fetus is at it's most vulverable. After than you can do what you've always done. As I said though don't start anything new.

    As for the rules.

    You now have a hormone called Relaxin surging through your body which relaxes the pelvic ligaments ready for birth however hormones will only on the whole body. So all your ligaments are relaxed not just your pelvis.

    Exercises you need to avoid: any exercise that makes you move your body in the saggital plane - i.e: Lunges - the movement is going forward putting pressure through your knees and therefore you can damage them.

    Abdominus Retcus exercises: anything to do with these muscles directly should be avoided all the way through pregnancy and from anywhere between 6 weeks to a year or so after birth (if you have a mid-wife she will explain why, sorry I'm not at home at the moment and do not have direct access to my information) it's to do with the sheath holding your ab's together in the middle and damaging that.

    Other than that always support yourself, so you may need to start sitting down to do certain exercises.

    Be careful of hitting yourself in the stomach with a db - eg: bentover rows etc.

    Anything that is uncomfortable should naturally be avoided.

    The weights themselves may have to decrease.

    Squats are ok, if they become hard do db swissball squats. If they put too much pressure on your pelvis then simply stop.

    A women however can increase her natural level of fitness by 20% on top of what she would normally gain if she were not pregnant.

    There is no reason for you to be sitting on your butt doing nothing.

    At a lady (me) who gives antenatal classes.
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    Registered User woodenshoes055's Avatar
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    Oh thank you so much for the helpful information:} It all makes sense and I'm going to watch the exercises that I do.
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    Oh goodness.


    Op - and any other pregnant ladies out there - TALK TO YOUR DOCTOR.

    I'm not going to waste my time arguing the advice given, but it is COMPLETELY different than what my doctor advised me to do as well as the advice I have been given by several reputable people on this site.

    Talk to your doctor and listen to your body.
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    Originally Posted by RebeccaG View Post
    Oh goodness.


    Op - and any other pregnant ladies out there - TALK TO YOUR DOCTOR.

    I'm not going to waste my time arguing the advice given, but it is COMPLETELY different than what my doctor advised me to do as well as the advice I have been given by several reputable people on this site.

    Talk to your doctor and listen to your body.
    I'm kind of confused by things that I am reading too.

    I suppose the only thing I can offer is just to listen to your body, it will tell you when to stop and what is good or not. I couldn't even work out from 6 weeks to until around 14 from the puking. I did not even know I was pregnant until the 6th week.
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    Originally Posted by RebeccaG View Post
    Oh goodness.


    Op - and any other pregnant ladies out there - TALK TO YOUR DOCTOR.

    I'm not going to waste my time arguing the advice given, but it is COMPLETELY different than what my doctor advised me to do as well as the advice I have been given by several reputable people on this site.

    Talk to your doctor and listen to your body.
    THIS!!!!

    Especially the bolded part.
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    Originally Posted by sonti View Post
    I'm kind of confused by things that I am reading too.

    I suppose the only thing I can offer is just to listen to your body, it will tell you when to stop and what is good or not. I couldn't even work out from 6 weeks to until around 14 from the puking. I did not even know I was pregnant until the 6th week.
    There is a lot of conflicting information out there - training-wise in general, let alone when you start getting specific like training while pregnant. Which I why I say talk to your doctor. S/he should know more of your history, the details of your pregnancy and what should and shouldn't be ok for you to do.

    Listening to you body is a good rule in general.
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    Originally Posted by RebeccaG View Post
    There is a lot of conflicting information out there - training-wise in general, let alone when you start getting specific like training while pregnant. Which I why I say talk to your doctor. S/he should know more of your history, the details of your pregnancy and what should and shouldn't be ok for you to do.

    Listening to you body is a good rule in general.
    True, true. I think the best plan is to not have a plan. We all have grand ideas of staying fit and eating well before being pregnant (or at least before the MS hits), and well, we all know that goes flying out the window :P
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    Originally Posted by sonti View Post
    True, true. I think the best plan is to not have a plan. We all have grand ideas of staying fit and eating well before being pregnant (or at least before the MS hits), and well, we all know that goes flying out the window :P
    I hear ya.

    I went more than a little overboard with my first and swore my second would be completely different. Non-stop puking and nausea really f'd up my plans. lol

    So now I'm just trying to eat something that I won't throw up five minutes later and hope to get back in the gym some time in the next few weeks *cross my fingers* I don't expect to be able to do what I was before - since I've been forced to take the last two months off, but I'll be happy with anything at this point.
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    Congrats on the baby, OP!
    Hard work = Hard body.
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    Originally Posted by Glamorous View Post
    Congrats on the baby, OP!
    Aw why thank you:}
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    Yes talk to your doctor...

    But also be aware that your average family practitioner has zero experience in sports medicine and will always advise on the side of extreme caution...
    So they will tell you to maybe do some walking and/or swimming but that about it...

    I think Mindi actually said "Lay on your back - WTF. Pls do not do this. " ... so after the 1st trimester... lying flat on your back is not recommended...

    There is no reason not to continue to exercise... however now is not the time to take up contact sports etc... you will find that the ammount lifted will drop as the pregnancy progresses...

    Make sure you stay well hydrated and don't over heat...
    Getting there slowly.... and slowlier

    OK... so all my stats are rubbish at the moment...


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    Originally Posted by Mindi911 View Post
    Ok firstly you shouldn't be working out for the first 6 weeks of pregnancy as this is when the fetus is at it's most vulverable.
    Most women don't even know they are pregnant until at least 5 or 6 weeks, so unless a woman has used IVF, or is checking before her period is late she isn't likely to know she is pregnant during this time.

    Around 70% of all pregnancies end before 6 weeks due to natural reasons, and most of the time (30-50%) the woman never even knew she was pregnant. If you miscarry during the first 6 weeks it is likely there is absolutely nothing you could have done. (http://parenting.ivillage.com/pregna...,,n2vm,00.html and http://www.babycenter.com/0_understa...arriage_252.bc)



    Also, lunges are to be avoided but squats are ok....?

    Originally Posted by sonti View Post
    Are you saying that laying on your back after 2nd tri is an old wive's tale? Can you provide more info on that. Everything I have read has said that you can't do it and I miss turkish get ups and flat bench press There are sooo many tales that it is impossible to keep them straight.
    Ok, just to clear something up here.

    There is a very large vein called the inferior vena cava that carries de-oxygenated blood from your lower body back to your heart. It runs along the right side of the spine.

    If a pregnant woman whose uterus has started to expand (ie, you are showing) lies on her back, the uterus can put pressure on the inferior vena cava and affect the blood flow through it. The more pregnant you are, the bigger risk of this happening is.

    This is why women are told to sleep on their side, or sleep with a pillow under their right side, it shifts the uterus to the left, keeping pressure off the inferior vena cava.

    Google Aortocaval compression syndrome for more information. If you are pregnant or plan on becoming pregnant it is important you know about this. Compression of the inferior vena cava can cause fainting, low blood pressure, and even organ damage and fetal death if it lasts too long.

    Originally Posted by RebeccaG View Post
    Oh goodness.


    Op - and any other pregnant ladies out there - TALK TO YOUR DOCTOR.

    I'm not going to waste my time arguing the advice given, but it is COMPLETELY different than what my doctor advised me to do as well as the advice I have been given by several reputable people on this site.

    Talk to your doctor and listen to your body.

    This again, just for good measure.
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    Originally Posted by smdiskin View Post
    Yes talk to your doctor...

    But also be aware that your average family practitioner has zero experience in sports medicine and will always advise on the side of extreme caution...
    So they will tell you to maybe do some walking and/or swimming but that about it...
    My doctor told me to keep doing what I was doing as long as I felt I could. No extreme caution or suggestion of walking or swimming.

    Sports medicine doesn't really have a whole lot to do with what you can and cannot do while pregnant. And most pregnant women should be seeing an ob/gyn, not a family practitioner.

    All these generalizations really irk me. Every woman is different. And each pregnancy she has will be different. Some people say no direct ab work, I know women who crunched right up until 1 week before they were due and had no problems or complications. EVERYONE IS DIFFERENT.

    Your doctor can give you the best advice. Please talk to you doctor.
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    Mine told me to go skydiving for all he cared until the 2nd trimester, LOL
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    Originally Posted by RebeccaG View Post
    All these generalizations really irk me...
    But that's exactly what you are guilty of. Mindi is trained in ante/post natal training. I don't think anyone else here is. Outside of what your particular doctor has told you, she provided the best info. Each doctor will be different, as are their liability concerns and experience in dealing with sports medicine. So their answers can be all over the place. If you're not changing doctors then you really have to follow their advice. Don't like it, change docs or push for explanations.
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    Canadian Bish RebeccaG's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by freebirdmac View Post
    But that's exactly what you are guilty of. Mindi is trained in ante/post natal training. I don't think anyone else here is. Outside of what your particular doctor has told you, she provided the best info. Each doctor will be different, as are their liability concerns and experience in dealing with sports medicine. So their answers can be all over the place. If you're not changing doctors then you really have to follow their advice. Don't like it, change docs or push for explanations.
    How am I guilty of generalizing by saying that everyone is different and each woman should talk to her doctor - the person who knows her medical history and is treating her while she is pregnant - instead of taking general advice from a message board?

    One of the things Mindi said was to not train for the first six weeks a woman is pregnant - most women don't even know they are pregnant before the 6 week mark. So how does that make sense? I had been training the hardest I had been all year during the first 6 weeks I was pregnant. A powerlifter went into labor during a competition and apparently didn't even know she was pregnant. So there are 2 examples that stopping training during the first 6 weeks isn't *always* necessary - or possible if the woman didn't know she was pregnant.

    Also, Mindi is in the UK. Her training and practices may be COMPLETELY different than the advice given in another country. Hell, the practices in my country vary from province to province!

    I fail to see how I am making generalizations.
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    Originally Posted by RebeccaG View Post
    How am I guilty of generalizing by saying that everyone is different and each woman should talk to her doctor - the person who knows her medical history and is treating her while she is pregnant - instead of taking general advice from a message board?

    One of the things Mindi said was to not train for the first six weeks a woman is pregnant - most women don't even know they are pregnant before the 6 week mark. So how does that make sense? I had been training the hardest I had been all year during the first 6 weeks I was pregnant. A powerlifter went into labor during a competition and apparently didn't even know she was pregnant. So there are 2 examples that stopping training during the first 6 weeks isn't *always* necessary - or possible if the woman didn't know she was pregnant.

    Also, Mindi is in the UK. Her training and practices may be COMPLETELY different than the advice given in another country. Hell, the practices in my country vary from province to province!

    I fail to see how I am making generalizations.
    Your first post, eye rolling, and completely different in all caps. After Mindi's replies. You have one particular experience with a particular doctor. No one said getting medical advice was bad. It's mandatory. And yes medical advice varies from country to country. Ever ponder why? Which country has fewer frivolous malpractice suits? Think US doctors are somehow smarter?

    Just because you and other did not know you were pregnant inside of 6 weeks doesn't mean it's always the case. Many are consciously trying to conceive and certainly know or have to be suspicious. Not knowing does not negate the potential consequences.

    Originally Posted by RebeccaG View Post
    Oh goodness.


    Op - and any other pregnant ladies out there - TALK TO YOUR DOCTOR.

    I'm not going to waste my time arguing the advice given, but it is COMPLETELY different than what my doctor advised me to do as well as the advice I have been given by several reputable people on this site.

    Talk to your doctor and listen to your body.
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    Originally Posted by freebirdmac View Post
    Your first post, eye rolling, and completely different in all caps. After Mindi's replies. You have one particular experience with a particular doctor. No one said getting medical advice was bad. It's mandatory. And yes medical advice varies from country to country. Ever ponder why? Which country has fewer frivolous malpractice suits? Think US doctors are somehow smarter?

    Just because you and other did not know you were pregnant inside of 6 weeks doesn't mean it's always the case. Many are consciously trying to conceive and certainly know or have to be suspicious. Not knowing does not negate the potential consequences.
    That still does not show how *I* am making generalizations.

    I said the advice given here is COMPLETELY different than the advice I was given by my doctor, by other people on this site and by articles I have read on this site and from other sources. So my advice is to talk to your doctor. I did not state the advice I was given - other than a later post in which I said my doctor told me to keep doing what I was doing as long as I felt I could - because the advice I was given by MY doctor for MY pregnancy may not be applicable for another woman and her pregnancy.

    I have no opinion on US doctors as I have never seen a US doctor and don't see what relevance that has. Besides, my point was not that doctors from country X are smarter than doctors from country Y.

    I also didn't say that no woman ever knows they are pregnant inside of 6 weeks. I said *MOST* women. Obviously women who are actively trying to conceive or using fertility methods would most likely know before the 6 week mark, but the OP didn't mention that so I don't see the relevance in that point either.

    It seems to me that you are just defending your good pal Mindi because my eye-rolling and saying that the advice I was given is COMPLETELY different than that given in this thread have nothing to do with what you say I am doing.

    I have no beef with you and don't really have any desire to start any. I also don't know why you feel the need to attack me for her sake.

    I stand by my advice of talking to your doctor.
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    Thanx for the advise everyone, and I'm only 7wks along so a long road ahead of me. I just wasn't sure if doing crunches had any benefit since the abs are going to be stretched out anyways during pregnancy.
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    Originally Posted by RebeccaG View Post
    My doctor told me to keep doing what I was doing as long as I felt I could. No extreme caution or suggestion of walking or swimming.

    Sports medicine doesn't really have a whole lot to do with what you can and cannot do while pregnant. And most pregnant women should be seeing an ob/gyn, not a family practitioner.

    All these generalizations really irk me. Every woman is different. And each pregnancy she has will be different. Some people say no direct ab work, I know women who crunched right up until 1 week before they were due and had no problems or complications. EVERYONE IS DIFFERENT.

    Your doctor can give you the best advice. Please talk to you doctor.
    Practitioners of sports medicine have a better knowledge of this than do family practitioners... most of whom couldn't diagnose their ways out of a wet paper bag...
    Examples of what mine has told me...
    I came in with shin splints... stop running for the rest of your life... useful...
    A/C injury... did nothing...
    Torn muscles.... they do nothing...
    Rotator cuff injury... agree with me that that is what it probably is... treatment... nothing....
    Unilateral deafness... tell me I have a cold... after 6 months of it... I had a brain tumour...
    See why I am suggesting the family practitioner may not be the best person... based on my experience... doctors can diagnose a cold... if indeed that is what it actually is...
    However, I believe I suggested the OP discuss things with her doctor... as I remain hopeful that somewhere out there is a doctor that actually knows something... and the advice is there and can be taken on board or ignored...

    In most countries... we don'tget to see an ob/gyn until shortly before the birth or the baby... and it is the family practitioner who does most of teh monitoring... and in many places it is a nurse practitioner...
    And then when I did get to see the ob/gyn for the delivery... (emergency C-section) it was so badly f***ed up that I couldn't walk properly for more than 9 months...

    I agree everyone is different... but there is some general advice that is commonly given to pregnant women, mainly because there is validated research to indicate that in some/high proportion that certain things are contraindicated... hence the no lying on your back... and you are even recommended after the 1st trimester to avoid sleeping on your back...
    Some generalisations have to be made as most of us don't have the medical / educational background to make judgements ourselves... advice from other women who have had a baby can help... but as you say each case is different... and it will depend on a whole range of factors...
    Last edited by smdiskin; 02-22-2010 at 06:52 AM.
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