Hug the Baby: How to Strengthen the Core During Pregnancy



“Hug the baby” is a term I 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,’ I 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, I suppose we can call it ‘hug the belly’ until our post baby belly goes away.

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

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.

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)

Before Hugging the Baby Me at 37 weeks
Before Hugging the Baby  at 37 weeks
Hugging the Baby at 37 weeks
Hugging the Baby at 37 weeks

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?

Low-Back Pain is one of the most common complaints of pregnancy. Throughout my pregnancy, I have had zero low-back pain! I attribute my pain-free back to my practice of Pilates before becoming pregnant, and remembering to hug my baby throughout my pregnancy!

If you would like to dig deeper into this concept, I have a manual that details Hug the Baby,

Product 1 Manual Cover
✧Pregnancy Pilates Foundational Workshop Manual✧

plus a Mini Workshop on Lateral Thoracic Breathing. Click here to check that out!  See pic ➢ ➢ ➢ ➢ ➢ ➢


Questions? Comments? Fill out the form below! Please feel free to contact me!

Happy Hundreds!

Alison B. Marsh

One comment

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s