The Best Ab Exercises During Pregnancy

Curious about core work during pregnancy? Join us on our app, Studio Bloom, and follow our curated programs like Master The Foundations (15 days dedicated to the core and pelvic floor) or The Bump Code (a 28-day core-focused workout program).

Building and maintaining a strong core during pregnancy can help you avoid pelvic and back pain and positively impact labour and recovery. Abdominal work during pregnancy is less about esthetics and more about functional, pain-free movement. The work you do throughout your pregnancy can aid in pushing during delivery, prevent injury-based diastasis recti, and create strength results that outlast your pregnancy. Let’s hit the mat, Mama!

Is It Safe To Train Abs While Pregnant?

Training your abs while pregnant is safe for mom and baby, but must be done with proper core engagement. How you perform an exercise is more important than what that exercise is. 

Whether intentional or not, core work is a part of everyday life. Common movements like getting out of bed, squatting to pick something up off the floor, or lifting a toddler into a car all use core strength. If we don’t learn to recruit the right muscles and engage properly, we could unknowingly cause injury. 

Important Considerations 

Your body will provide feedback on what you can and cannot do during pregnancy; we just have to know what to look for. As you progress in your pregnancy and your belly grows, it will become more challenging to connect with your deep core muscles and regulate intra-abdominal pressure. When we lose that connection or struggle to control the pressure, we can attempt a modified version of the move, swap the exercise out for another, or stop. 

Signals that an exercise is too advanced:
  • Leaking
  • Pelvic pressure or heaviness
  • Pain
  • Coning or bulging down the midline
  • Loss of mind/muscle connection

Ab Exercises We Love During Pregnancy

1. Bird Dogs

The Bird Dog exercise is a full-body move that will challenge the abdominals, back, hips, and glutes. Perform this exercise by getting on all fours and finding a tabletop position where your hands are stacked under your shoulders and knees under your hips. While maintaining a neutral position with your head, neck and back, extend one arm in front of you and the opposite leg behind you. The most challenging aspect of the Bird Dog exercise is finding balance, keeping your hips square, and not arching your lower back. 


2. Modified Side Planks

You can get into a Modified Side Plank position by laying on your side propped onto either your forearm or hand with your knees bent. Engage your core and press through your bottom arm to come up onto your bottom knee with your top leg extended. Check that your body is aligned from your head to your extended leg.

3. Bear Holds

The Bear Hold exercise begins in an all-four position with wrists stacked under shoulders and knees under hips. As you lift and wrap your core, maintain a neutral spine and lift the knees an inch off the ground. 


4. Seated Lean Back

The Seated Lean Back core exercise begins from a seated position with feet firmly planted on the floor with a flat back position and your head in line with your spine. Engage your core and lean back until you find your challenge point. Hold for 10-30 seconds.


5. Standing Pallof Press

The Standing Pallof Press is a dynamic anti-rotational core exercise that requires a resistance band. Secure your band by looping it around a heavy piece of furniture or a weight rack so it lines up to your chest or shoulder height. Stand beside the anchored band with enough distance that you have to fight to keep your body from turning. Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and your ribs stacked over your pelvis. Clasp your hands over the resistance band, push it forward from your chest to a fully extended arm position and hold for 10-30 seconds. Perform the desired repetitions facing both directions.


Pregnant or postpartum, there are so many impactful exercises available to you. Empower yourself with the knowledge of proper breathing mechanisms, how to effectively engage your core, and what to watch for by joining our app, Studio Bloom. We will help you discover the full collection of exercises available to you and give you the confidence to use them throughout your pregnancy. Sweat alongside our skilled trainers and other pregnant mamas just like you!

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