This 7 minute prenatal ab workout routine is safe to do during the first trimester of pregnancy and was created by a physical therapist. Watch the video below.


prenatal ab workout first timester

This post contains affiliate links. For more information, see my disclosures here.



If you are pregnant, specifically the first trimester of pregnancy, and are looking for expert advice on what ab exercises you can do safely, then you came to the right place.

I’m a physical therapist and a mom of 4, and I want to help you feel confident that your ab workout routine is safe and not harmful to you or your baby during the first 3 months of pregnancy.

It can be difficult to understand which ab exercises are safe and which are not. You want to know the person teaching you is an expert and someone you can trust (such as a medical professional) and not just some random mom on the internet. I want you to feel good about your prenatal workouts and get great results in the end as well. 

In this article you will learn the 7 best ab exercises you can do while pregnant during your first trimester. Let’s get right to it.

Can I Do Ab Exercises While Pregnant?


Can you do ab exercises while pregnant? Yes, of course!

But first, I want you to check with your doctor before starting a new workout routine. Get medical clearance from your OBGYN before doing this routine or any workout routine. Please refer to my disclaimer below.

Now that I got that out of the way, I also want to recommend that you have comfortable workout clothes, a yoga mat and water nearby.

Doing ab exercises, specifically those ab exercises that target the core as a unit, will ultimately help your pregnancy.

Stay hydrated while exercising and get comfy on the floor for this workout routine (a yoga mat will make this a lot easier).

Do you have all that ready to go? Okay, great!

Related: 37 Exercises and Activities to Avoid While Pregnant

I want you to know that these 7 ab exercises are completely safe to do while pregnant in your first trimester.

These are particularly safe because these are stabilizing exercises, no twisting is involved and the entire core is engaged (not just the 6 pack muscles).

We want to safely work the entire core as a unit so your back and your abdominals are strong and ready for the heavy load that is about to grow inside your belly.

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    7 Safe Ab Exercises For The First Trimester of Pregnancy


    Do each of these 7 prenatal ab exercises for a 1 minute duration to total a 7 minute workout. If you need to modify the routine to make it easier for yourself as you get further along in the pregnancy, switch to 45 seconds on and 15 seconds off and then eventually decrease to 30 seconds on and 30 seconds off as you get closer to the second trimester. 

    1. Abdominal Bracing in Squat Position


    While standing in a deep squat position (knees at a 90 degree angle), hold your core tight as you perform a pelvic tilt for 10 seconds, rest and then repeat the pelvic tilt while maintaining the squat position throughout the duration of the exercise.

    2. Single Leg Lowers


    While lying flat on your back with legs pointed straight towards the ceiling, lower one leg at a time. Focus on maintaining a flat back throughout the exercise by performing a pelvic tilt. As you lower one leg, keep the opposite leg pointed up; alternate positions and continue to repeat. 

    3. Double Knee To Chest with Arms


    While lying flat on your back and maintaining a pelvic tilt, bring both knees to chest with your arms wrapped around your knees. As your extend your legs out together to a comfortable position, both arms circle up overhead. Repeat by bringing your knees to your chest and your arms back in. 

    4. Modified Mountain Climber with Squat



    Begin by standing in front of a wall with your feet positioned slightly away from the wall at a comfortable position. Alternate bringing one knee up to your chest, right and then left, followed by a squat. Repeat that sequence while maintaining a tight core throughout all movements. 


    5. Side Planks or Modified Side Planks


    Perform a side plank if you were doing side planks prior to pregnancy or use the modified version of a side plank if you are a beginner. 

    To perform a side plank, lie on your side with your heels on top of one another. Position your elbow under your body so your shoulder is directly above your elbow.

    Gradually lift your hips off the ground as you support your weight through your bent elbow and your stacked feet.

    Place your upper arm along the side of your body. Maintain a tight core as you hold that position, keeping your spine in a straight line from the top of your head down to your feet. 

    To perform the modified side plank, simply bend your knees and push through your knees for support rather than your feet.

    6. Planks and Modified Planks


    Perform a plank if you were doing planks prior to pregnancy or use the modified version of a plank if you are a beginner.

    For a regular plank on elbows the starting position is face down, elbows bent, shoulders directly over the elbows, knees on the floor.

    Gradually lift knees up off the floor as you support your weight on your elbows and toes only.

    Hold your body in a straight line, flat, without your butt sinking towards the ground or elevating it above your shoulder height.

    Your head should be aligned straight, with your eyes looking down.  Hold your core tight and breathe as you maintain that position. 

    To perform a modified plank, position your body on your knees instead of your toes and hold your body up in that position.

    7. Bridge


    To perform a bridge properly, tighten your core muscles first and then push through your legs to lift your buttocks off the ground. Your goal is to lift as high as you can tolerate while maintaining a strong and flat back. Hold position for 2 seconds. Slowly lower back down to starting position and repeat.

    7 Minute Prenatal Ab Workout: First Trimester


    To recap what exercises we did today here is the breakdown:

    Perform each exercise for 1 minute at a comfortable pace with a slow, controlled motion:

    1. Abdominal Bracing in Squat
    2. Single Leg Lowers
    3. Double Knee To Chest with Arms
    4. Modified Mountain Climber with Squat
    5. Side Planks
    6. Planks on Elbows
    7. Bridge

    When you are done with this workout be sure to continue on with our 2nd trimester prenatal ab workout that is perfect for new moms going into their second trimester.

    And if you are feeling like you are just lost when it comes to working out during pregnancy and you need a total body workout plan that you can easily follow, definitely check out the Perfect Pregnancy Plan.

    This post contains affiliate links. For more information, see my disclosures here.

    *It is important to always consult your doctor before beginning any exercise program and get medical clearance. Always warm up thoroughly and stretch after all workouts. and Jena Bradley will be not be responsible or liable for any injury sustained while exercising at home, gym or elsewhere. Perform exercises at your own risk.

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