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Pregnancy Safe Core Exercises

Six pregnancy safe core exercises that are perfect for mamas to be! This pregnancy core workout was developed by a certified personal trainer and can be done with minimal equipment at home or in a gym. Tips and modifications included!

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We’re on the final series of pregnancy safe movements developed in partnership with my personal trainer Rae Reichlin. This week is all about exercises for your core during pregnancy and I’m so excited to share it as a resource.

Ever since finding out I was pregnant, I felt very confused on what I could and couldn’t do during my pregnancy, but since I started training with Rae, I’ve learned a ton and now feel confident enough to modifying exercises on my own (especially during group fitness).

What I’ve learned is that the ab exercises you should and shouldn’t do are mostly dependent on the trimester you’re in. In your first trimester, you may be able to still do a lot of the ab movements that you were previously doing; however, as your uterus grows during your second trimester and you start to get a belly, doing traditional ab exercises may prove to be difficult and generally are not recommended.

During the second and third trimesters, most women should avoid crunching exercises. Again, this is completely dependent on the person, but in general, pregnant women should talk to their doctors about what’s safe for them and listen to their bodies.

A little more background on my personal trainer

Rae is the owner of Ladies Who Lift here in Chicago and an overall badass chick; we used to train together a few years back, so I knew she was the perfect person to reach out to in regards to exercise during pregnancy. Not only is Rae a certified personal trainer but she’s also certified in pre- and post-natal training.

two women doing pregnancy safe core exercises

A reminder to always listen to your body:

The biggest takeaway from these videos and resources is to listen to your body and do what feels the best for you! What works for me may not be the best for you, so when in doubt be sure to consult your personal doctor and/or trainer before performing any of these exercises.

In this core series, we’ll walk you through six movements that are perfectly safe to do while pregnant as long as they feel good to you. Rae will carefully explain what each move is and why it might be a good one for you to try during pregnancy, but remember, if it doesn’t feel right, then you probably shouldn’t be doing it.

All of the exercise movements Rae and I share with you can be incorporated into your workouts or used as modifications. They are safe, effective and even great for non-pregnant women who are looking for new exercises to try out.

Equipment you’ll need for these pregnancy core exercises:

The best part about these movements is that you need minimal equipment and space. You can do them almost anywhere. Here’s what you’ll need:

Watch our pregnancy core exercises here:

Exercises in this pregnancy core workout:

These six pregnancy core exercises are all about focusing on alignment, breathing & stability while you complete these slow and controlled movements.

  1. Farmer Carry: you can do this exercise in tons of different positions depending on what feels good for your body. Holding a weight in a comfortable position either racked on your shoulder, down by your waist or even overhead, you’ll slowly march your knees up and down to engage your core.
  2. 1/2 Kneeling Dumbbell Chop: on one knee you’ll resist the urge to rotate your core while you bring a weight down below your waist and then above the opposite site of your body.
  3. Side Plank: this exercise is great for balance and stability, plus it’s an easy one to modify depending on your comfort level. You can do a side plank with both knees on the ground, with one leg straightened, one leg in the air, or even with both legs raised.
  4. Slow Mountain Climbers: these are traditionally a conditioning movement but are a great core exercise when done slowly as long as the position on your hands and feet feels strong and safe to you.
  5. Dead Bug Variation: lying on your back you’ll bring your knees to 90 degrees and lift your arms straight up in front of you. Slowly switch off bringing each arm straight up above your head. If this feels good you can add more of a challenge by straightening your opposite leg while your opposite arm lifts back over your head. Options to add weights as well!
  6. Tall Kneeling Pallof Press: using core stability (rather than rotation) you’ll be in a tall kneeling position on your knees. You’ll tuck your glutes, pull your resistance band to your chest and then slowly press it away from your body. A great anti-rotation core exercise.

Looking for my go-to workout clothes & gym favorites? See them in the Ambitious Kitchen shop here!

More pregnancy exercises to check out

Pregnancy Safe Lower Body Movements

Pregnancy Safe Upper Body Movements

I hope you loved these pregnancy safe core movements! If you have any questions for Rae or myself please feel free to drop a comment below and we will get back to you. Enjoy!

Disclaimer: Neither myself nor Rae are doctors. Please consult with your doctor if you have any concerns about working out during pregnancy.

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