Is It Safe To Sit-Ups Or Crunches While Pregnant?

Physically, a lot of changes occur in your body when you get pregnant. There is a stretch in your abdominal muscles to make space for your baby. Because of these changes, pregnant women engage themselves in physical exercises to help keep their body in good shape. Physical exercises during pregnancy come with a lot of benefits. However, you need to speak with your doctor to ensure that you are doing the right exercises.

Sit-ups and crunches are common abdominal exercises done during pregnancy. These two exercises are usually not recommended to pregnant women. This article explains if sit-ups are safe to do during pregnancy and if it affects you or your baby.

Do Sit-ups Affect You or Your Unborn baby?

Pregnant women are usually advised not to do sit-ups not because it affects their baby, but because it affects them. Babies are usually protected as they are surrounded by amniotic fluid [1] in the uterus. The abdominal peritoneum also shields the uterus and this serves extra protection for the baby.

How does it affect pregnant women? Sit-ups increase the outward pressure on the abdominal muscles as well as downward pressure on the pelvic floor. This outward pressure on the abdominal muscles can lead to a condition known as diastasis recti [2] which means separation of the abdominal muscles. The downward pressure on the pelvic floor can make one lose the ability to control the bladder.

Lying in the supine position when trying to perform sit-ups increases the pressure in the inferior vena cava [3]. This is bad, because your body most likely thinks it’s a raise in blood pressure, so it performs a mechanism that lowers the blood pressure.