While pregnancy is often a joyous experience, for a lot of women it can be a real culture shock.
One way that becoming pregnant can really impact your day-to-day life is if you are someone who exercises regularly.
While exercising during pregnancy is perfectly safe in most cases, there is a good chance that you will have to change the way that you exercise during the time that you are pregnant.
A very popular way to exercise at home is through sit-ups. They are an excellent way to work your abdominal muscles and something that you can easily do without needing any additional equipment.
For a lot of people, sit ups are part of their everyday routine, but can you do sit ups while pregnant? The answer is yes... And no.
In short, you will be able to do sit ups at certain times in your pregnancy but unable to do them during other times.
To get a clearer picture, let’s take a further look at whether or not you can do sit ups while pregnant.
What are sit ups?
Before we take a look at when you can and when you can’t do sit ups while pregnant, let’s take a quick look at exactly what a sit up is.
As you will already know, a sit up is a type of exercise that you can complete without needing any equipment.
A sit up uses your own body to perform an abdominal endurance exercise working to strengthen your core abdominal muscles.
A sit up involves you laying down on your back on the floor. Your legs are then bent and cemented firmly on the ground to stabilize your body and your arms are placed across your body so that your hands are holding the opposite shoulder.
Using your stomach muscles you then curl your body up so that your upper body touches your knees. From there you slowly lower yourself back down to the floor and repeat this a set amount of times as a form of exercise.
Over time your stomach muscles will strengthen and tone and eventually your abdominal muscles may become visible underneath the skin on your stomach.
But that’s enough about what sit ups are, let’s take a look at whether or not you can do them while you are pregnant.
Can I do sit ups while pregnant?
As we have already mentioned, the answer to this question can be slightly complex, and depending on how far along you are in your pregnancy it can be both yes and no. So let’s start at the beginning.
In your first trimester, sit ups are generally safe to do. However, as with all exercise in pregnancy, you should only do sit ups if they are part of your everyday routine.
During the time that you are pregnant, your body is under a great amount of stress and so you should not add to this by increasing the amount of exercise that you do or by doing exercises that are not part of your routine.
So if you usually do sit ups, it is safe to continue doing these during the first trimester of your pregnancy.
Once you move onto the second trimester of your pregnancy, we would recommend stopping doing sit ups.
It is during the second trimester that your baby begins to grow significantly and this, for one, can make sit ups incredibly difficult to complete.
As well as just being difficult to complete, laying down flat on your back to complete sit ups after you have exited your first trimester could be risky.
Laying flat during the latter part of your pregnancy can cause your blood pressure to drop which can cause dizziness. So you should avoid sit ups as your pregnancy progresses.
So in short, sit ups are safe during your first trimester if they are already part of your routine. But after that, you should avoid them as they will become difficult and could potentially affect your blood pressure.
If you exercise regularly, the thought of being unable to do your usual routine might seem daunting but there’s no need to worry because there are lots of types of exercise that you can safely do while pregnant.
Exercises that are suitable during pregnancy
While you are unable to do sit ups past the first trimester of your pregnancy, there are a variety of other exercises that you can continue to do as your pregnancy progresses.
If you are very interested in continuing your abdominal exercises, we would recommend introducing yoga into your routine in place of your usual sit ups.
Yoga is not just an exercise that is good for your mental health and for keeping calm, it is also a great way to stretch your muscles.
In particular, two great yoga positions that train similar muscles to sit ups are the cat stretch and the cow stretch.
These positions can stretch your abdominal muscles without putting you in a position that is awkward for your growing belly or could cause your blood pressure to drop.
As well as abdominal exercises, there are lots of other ways you can keep fit during your pregnancy.
While sit ups are not safe, a lot of other exercises are safe to complete throughout your pregnancy as long as you take your time and do not put yourself under any strain.
These forms of exercise include brisk walking, swimming and even cycling as long as it is completed on a stationary bike at home.
There are also a variety of other yoga positions you can complete which are specifically designed with those who are pregnant in mind.
So even though you cannot do your regular sit ups, there are lots of different types of exercises that you can do instead as your baby grows.
In short, you can do sit ups while you are pregnant up until the end of your first trimester but after that, you should avoid them for the safety of you and your baby.
But there’s no need to worry because there are lots of other exercises that you can safely do throughout the rest of your pregnancy if you want to keep fit.