Can I do sit ups during pregnancy?

The answer to this is yes and no!

You can carry on working your tummy muscles doing sit up style exercises up to around 16 weeks (or after the first trimester if they become any way uncomfortable). These will keep your rectus abdominis muscles (the top-most layer of abs) strong during early pregnancy. However, from the start of your pregnancy you should also be working your deep, core muscles (your transverses abdominis or ‘TVA’) and this is safe to continue for the whole of your pregnancy. You do this with moves like ab squeezes and superman raises (see the 3-Plan for loads of ideas), keeping your tummy muscles pulled in tight.

After 16 weeks you should avoid doing sit ups for two reasons.

  • Firstly, your bump will be growing and laying on your back for a prolonged period of time may make you feel light headed or restrict blood flow to your baby.
  • Secondly your rectus abdominis muscles will become thinner and weaker as your pregnancy progresses and your bump gets bigger. There’s nothing you can do about this! They may separate (diastasis recti) and doing sit-ups will make this worse and may cause a hernia.

You are much better of during trimester two and three focussing on working your core muscles and pelvic floor muscles using exercises which are stable and safe (again see the 3-Plan for loads of ideas). There will be plenty of time to do crunches until your heart’s content once your baby is born, although you need to wait until any abdominal separation has closed to less than two-fingers width.

I have seen a few web sites which recommend doing the plank during pregnancy. I would strongly advise against doing planks during pregnancy as the moves quickly raises the blood pressure and is pretty intense for most women with a bump (or without!) If you really want to continue then do a modified plank standing against the wall or on your knees.

Remember working your tummy won’t ‘squeeze’ your baby, give them less room or bring on labour. It will help your regain your shape more easily after the birth. Remember to try to do ab squeezes to work your floor and pelvic floor exercises most days; you’ll be glad you did!

Complete pregnancy and postnatal fitness plan on your ipad

I haven’t talked about it for a while but don’t forget you can buy The 3-plan: your complete pregnancy and postnatal exercise plan for your ipad for just £4.99!

Click here to buy from the apple bookstore

The 3-Plan is a comprehensive exercise plan with over 75 exercises and exercise combinations for pregnancy and the 9 month postnatal period. Flexible and easy to follow, the 3-Plan will have you feeling fab in just 3 hours a week! The only book you need from the first days of your pregnancy to slipping back into your pre-pregnancy wardrobe. Enjoy your pregnancy, embrace your changing shape, get your body strong and healthy for a smooth labour and delivery and become fit, toned, healthy and full of energy as new mum.

Cheap | safe | effective | flexible | fun | for all levels | real results | flat tum – what more could you want from a pregnancy and new mum exercise plan?!

If you don’t want an ipad version and prefer good old fashioned paper then there are lots of other places to buy the book.

My app PregnancyFit 250 is live on the apple App store!

I can’t believe it – after months of hard work writing and developing the app it is now live for everyone to buy around the world! I wrote the app to be a useful tool for women in pregnancy; not just about exercise (although there are tons of tips about exercise!) but also about making sure you are getting all the right elements in your diet, you know what is going on with your (often strange) body and are mentally and practically prepared for the challenges ahead. I hope you like it and share it with your friends. More detail below…..

All the information you need for a fit, healthy pregnancy.

This pregnancy app gives you a daily tip, fact or snippet covering EVERYTHING you need to know about exercise, diet, staying sane, lifestyle and your body during pregnancy. You can view one a day, read them all in one go, search for something you are interested in or browse by category. Most tips are related to that point of your pregnancy, some are just plain interesting!

Includes:

  • what types of exercise are safe during pregnancy, including classes, types, equipment and how much you can do safely
  • exercise ideas
  • what you should and shouldn’t eat
  • common ailments and advice
  • what to expect from your changing body
  • lifestyle tips
  • recommendations for health, fitness and nutrition
  • postnatal advice
  • ideas to calm your mind
  • tips about labour and birth
  • practical tips
  • five myths busted

Tips are divided into five categories:

  • Body and common ailments
  • Exercise and fitness
  • Diet and nutrition
  • Headspace and wellbeing
  • Lifestyle and practical

You can read what a Midwife of 20 years said and see some example tips on the app page.

Trimester 3 pregnancy exercise tips – thanks Reese!

What a great role model Reese Witherspoon is! (Daily Mail) It’s great to see celebrities setting a good example and keeping fit and healthy during pregnancy. This is why so many of them get back into shape so quickly – not magic! Just a sensible consistent exercise plan (and probably very healthy diet) during pregnancy! Reese is in the later stage of her pregnancy now so would have gradually reduced the duration and intensity of her workouts over the last few months. Here’s a few other pointers for trimester 3 exercise:

  • It’s really important not to stop exercising in trimester 3; all those hard earned benefits to you and your baby will be lost!
  • be mindful of your changing body and growing bump
  • Keep moves slow and controlled
  • Avoid standing or laying still for long periods
  • Keep transitions (from standing to floor) slow and measured
  • You may want to consider some lower impact alternatives if your normal moves are becoming too hard
  • Remember you should be able to hold a conversation while working out – you are not training for a personal best!
  • Always listen to your body and stop exercising if anything doesn’t feel right
  • Try and continue with a combination of light cardio and resistance training to keep your muscles fit and strong
  • Try and work your core and pelvic floor daily
  • Not long to go now! Try and find some time to relax too and mentally prepare for the exciting events ahead. Good luck x
For an exercise plan developed for all 3 trimesters of pregnancy and 9 months after you have had your baby (to get you looking even better than before!) check out The 3-Plan: Your Complete Pregnancy and Postnatal Exercise Plan.

Trimester 3 pregnancy exercise: safety and advice

How you might be feeling

Chances are you’ll have a pretty impressive bump by now! You will probably get out of breath and tired at times and may well have some pregnancy related aches and pains as your body changes to accommodate your growing baby. You may find you are going to the loo a lot and getting practice contractions.

Your exercise plan matters more than ever now – keep your muscles, joints and circulation as healthy as possible for both you and your baby. As crazy as it sounds, doing your 3-Plan exercises and some moderate cardio activity a few times a week will give you more energy than if you do nothing at all! If you miss a session, don’t give yourself a hard time; just stick to doing what you can as regularly as possible.

Remember, not long to go now until the big day and you need your body to be in tip-top condition – one of the most physically demanding things it will ever go through. All your hard work will make you much more able to deal with the birth.

Enjoy these last few weeks! Your baby will soon be here.

Trimester 3 safety

Be mindful of your growing bump and changing body. Don’t transition too quickly and keep moves slow and controlled. Perhaps think about choosing low-impact alternatives for your cardio sessions. Don’t stop exercising, though, otherwise those hard-earned benefits to you and your baby will be lost.