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Pregnant? Tips for Exercising- What you need to know!

Getting Up & Getting Down- Use SAFE and proper technique!
Always practice safe technique for getting up and getting down when pregnant- especially when you are exercising! This will help you maintain your balance, as well as protect your abdomen from excessive strain.
Getting down:
1. Stand with feet shoulder width apart.
2. Bend forward at hip with straight back and bend knees. Place both hands on both knees.
3. Slowly shift both hands to one knee and lower down onto one knee.
4. Lower down onto all fours and gently roll onto hip, shoulder to ground, head on ground, then slowly roll onto back.
Getting up is the reverse:
1. From back, roll onto side and come to hip then to all fours.
2. With one knee forward, place both hands on bent knee and gently push up with both hands.
3. Come to bent standing position with both hands on knees, and slowly straighten to standing.

When pregnant, we must protect the rectus abdominus muscles that are strained as the baby grows. By practicing "belly breathing" we protect and strengthen the transverse muscle which wraps around the abdomen like a girdle. The transverse is a supportive muscle which helps to reduce the strain on the ab muscles in the front.

Belly Breathing:
1. On inhale gently inflate abdomen like a balloon- this will push the belly button out slightly.
2. On exhalation, pull your naval in towards your spine.
Notes: to practice technique, place hand on belly and focus the movements. Do NOT push out on inhale to distend your abdomen! This breathing technique can be practiced anywhere, and every day!
Splinting the Abdomen:
There is a natural split between the abdominal muscles. As these muscles are strained with the baby's growth, this split can open up into diastisis. It is essential to practice belly breathing and keep the transverse muscle tight for support, to reduce the pressure on the rectus addominus muscles. Splinting the abdomen from the 2nd trimester on is recommended.
Splinting provides support to your abdominal area during targeted exercise. There are 2 ways to splint:
1. With hands, cross your body and gently push the 2 muscles towards the center for support.
2. Fold a towel into a wide band- do NOT twist it into a rope! Wrap the band around the waist with an overhand grip and gently pull in.
To splint: Belly breathe, retract naval, the constrict with hands or towel gently. Avoid all movements that push the abdomen out.


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