Cat/Cow: The Labor Prep Yoga Move

This common yoga position is the perfect way to tone your abs safely during pregnancy, and prepare for delivery. Plus, it's a great way to guide baby along in labor.

Prenatal Yoga Cow Pose

There are plenty of exercises that will do your body good during the duration of your pregnancy and after but one expert swears by a single move in particular: The cat/cow pose you commonly assume in yoga class.

"This is my go-to exercise throughout pregnancy and post-pregnancy to safely re-tone the deep muscles of the core. I actually recommend all my clients do 30 variations of cat/cow daily to prepare for delivery," Christine Bullock, a pre- and postnatal expert and creator of Christine Bullock's Body Re-born Postnatal Series, tells Fit Pregnancy.

cat pose prenatal yoga fizkes/Shutterstock

You might be afraid to attempt any move that promises to sculpt your abs while you're carrying—but Bullock insists that cat/cow position is an excellent option for pregnant women.

"Cat/cow is terrific during pregnancy to tone the abdominal muscles in a safe position, release the low back, and guide baby in a safe position during delivery," she says. "As you round the belly down into cow position and open the chest, women get a heart opener that boosts mood, increases energy, and can support breast milk production. The cat portion of the exercise where the back is rounded, head and tailbone dropped toward the ground and belly hugged around baby is equally beneficial: It tones the muscles of the core safely hugging them around baby, it release the muscles of the low back, and tones the shoulders and arms as they press into the ground and support the body."

cow pose prenatal yoga fizkes/Shutterstock

But you might want to hold off dropping to all fours and giving cat/cow right after delivery. "I recommend avoiding the 'cow' post-pregnancy until the core muscles are reconditioned," Bullock says.

Here's what she suggests brand new moms do instead: "Guide the body from cat, where you pull the muscles in deeply to a 'neutral' spine that engages the abs, supports the low back and re-conditions the core. It's all about engaging the core muscles of abdomen towards the center line until you have safely reconditioned the entire core."