Exercise before, during, and after pregnancy can be vital to a woman's health and wellbeing. In fact, some experts believe staying physically active during 40 weeks (more or less) of gestation can make labor and delivery easier. With that said, it's critical you know what should, and shouldn't, be done during your pregnancy. So, are sit-ups safe during pregnancy? Depending on your trimester and fitness range, maybe. After all, no two pregnancies are the same, so it's best to take a few things into consideration and in regards to your personal experiences and health conditions, before singing up for that (probably overpriced) gym membership.
While sit-ups can be tricky enough without a growing, probably-being-punched-from-the-inside pregnant belly in the way, there's definitely some rules when it comes to utilizing the move while growing a human being. Parents says doing sit-ups through the first trimester is OK, but you should probably discontinue this go-to workout move as you transition into the second and third trimesters. Lying on your back after 12 weeks gestation leads to a drop in blood pressure and can be dangerous for both you and your unborn baby. Parents does say, however, that it's safe to choose a modified version of a crunch in which your knees are elevated. This decreases the risk of abdominal wall separation when the uterus expands.
The Mayo Clinic echoes the sentiment of not lying on your back for sit-ups after the first trimester. They clinic also cites that if you're new to working out, regardless of what you choose to do, you should ease your way into it workouts by only engaging in physical activity in short increments. Even those who were active beforehand should heed any warnings your bodies might send. Pregnancy can change the way you do even the most menial of tasks, including how you exercise.
If you're still set on doing abdominal work outs to tighten your core while pregnant, fitness expert Joselynne Boschen of health app Lifesum offers some tips for doing a "crunch-free third trimester." Boschen notes the importance of keeping your tummy "functional" and "strong." Moves that use gentle elongation, stretching, and mindful breathing while also engaging the core are great alternatives to your usual sit-ups.
No matter your fitness level before pregnancy, if you choose to partake in activities while with child, take it easy. It's also a good idea to continuously check in with yourself to be sure you're not doing more than you should. Regardless of how to take care of your body, the bottom line is to avoid standard sit-ups after the first trimester. If you're unsure of how safe other methods are for core strength, talk to your doctor before trying them on you own.