How to Strengthen the Core During Pregnancy – Hug the Baby Free the Baby

“Hug the baby” is a term we use to describe proper posture during pregnancy – supporting the weight of the baby, and protecting vulnerable joints by engaging the abdominals while pregnant, or engaging your pregnant core.

Instead of ‘belly to the spine,’ we say ‘baby to the spine’ or ‘hug the baby.’

The action of hugging the baby or bringing baby to the spine, brings the fetus closer to the body so the extra weight does not compromise posture or add weight onto the spine and surrounding joints.

Safe For All 3 Trimesters AND after (even after a C-section)
After baby, we call it “hug the belly”.

Why Hug the Baby?

By learning to ‘hug the baby,’ we:

1. Strengthen the abs and pelvic floor

2. Prevents and alleviates low back pain by supporting our surrounding joints.

3. Feel stronger and more in-control over what is happening to our bodies.

4. Decrease our succeptibility to Diastasis Recti

5. Overall we keep our posture in tip-top shape!

If you have ever been pregnant, you may know the pains associated with the amazing changes the body goes through to prepare for the growth of the fetus and ultimately the birth. Hugging the baby helps to alleviate those pains!

How to Hug the Baby and Free the Baby

Although Hugging the Baby has been deemed safe by my general OBGYN and my high risk OBGYN, it is a good idea to always check with your doctor before trying hug the baby on a regular basis. 

Hugging the Baby:

1. Stand up tall, lengthening the spine to the ceiling, like you have a string on the top of your head.

2. Inhale deeply, allowing the air to fill down the sides and back of the ribs, (Lateral Thoracic Breathing).

2. Exhale, hugging the baby (pulling baby or belly to the spine), while lifting the pelvic floor. Keep the pelvis neutral (don’t tuck). This action contracts the transverse abdominals and pelvic floor creating a total support system for the fetus.

4. Feel equal weight on your feet, pressing down into the floor. You should feel a vertical, oppositional pull through the spine, up through the top of

the head, and down through your feet. Don’t let the ribs collapse.

5. Continue with lateral thoracic breathing feeling the spine lengthen every time you exhale.

  1. Free the Baby – Relax the abdominals and pelvic floor, releasing the Hug the Baby posture. The ability to completely relax the abs and pelvic floor allows for flexible, strong muscles rather than tight, inflexible muscles, and is an equally important concept.

Poor posture is simply an invitation for life-stopping back pain. No matter where you are, think about lifting your head up and back, as if a string were pulling the top of your head toward the ceiling. As you lift up, you relieve some of the tension in your spine. (YOU Having a Baby, pg. 216)

When to Hug the Baby

On all 4’s when gravity is pulling baby away from your center
When standing for long periods of time and your back begins to hurt – at the grocery store, in the kitchen, etc.
Any time you’re working out
Doing chores
Getting out of bed or into bed
Blow drying your hair
When your laying on the couch and your cat, dog, or kid is about to walk over your stomach
Can you think of any others?

Happy Hundreds!

Alison B. Marsh


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