Your abdominal muscles support your growing uterus and will help you to push your baby out during the second stage of labor. They also keep your abdomen pulled in, allow you to move your trunk in a variety of directions, support the lower back and abdominal organs, and brace your body when you are lifting.
Here is how your abdominal muscles will help you during your pregnancy:
Making room for your baby – During pregnancy, your abdominal muscles undergo a huge amount of stretching in all directions under the influence of the hormone relaxin. Your waistline can increase from approximately 66 cm (26 inches) to 117 cm (46 inches) and the muscles may lengthen vertically from 30 cm (12 inches) to 51 cm (20 inches). In order for this degree of growth to occur, the abdominal muscles have to stretch away from their central position. This opening out of the muscle bands gives your baby room to grow, it is not painful and you may even be unaware it has occurred.
Reduce back ache & stress– Simple abdominal exercises should be part of your daily routine, and because these exercises can be performed almost anywhere, they can be performed repeatedly throughout the day.
Strong abdominal muscles will help you to maintain a degree of tone in your abdomen and reduce backache by taking the strain of the frontal load away from your back. If you have not exercised these muscles earlier, then you need to start immediately. They do still work during pregnancy and will respond well if exercised. If you previously performed core strengthening exercises, it is not recommended that you continue to do so once the muscles have begun to stretch; they may separate and weaken further. If abdominal exercises make your muscles ache, release them for a moment and try again. The more you practice, the stronger the muscles will become and the longer you will be able to hold the positions.
Easy, everyday abdominal exercise:
These will strengthen those muscles that protect your baby and your back. Pull your clothes firmly across the abdomen, tighten your core and watch as your baby lifts up and in towards you; if your muscles are strong the degree of movement will amaze you.