Pregnancy is an incredible journey that brings forth countless changes in a woman’s body. One area that often undergoes significant transformation is the abdominal region, with the growing belly taking center stage. It’s a common misconception that you can’t train your abs during pregnancy, but the truth is quite the opposite. Engaging in core training during pregnancy can be not only safe but also highly beneficial for expecting moms. It can prevent the development of severe diastasis recti, support the body during pregnancy, and even speed up recovery after childbirth.
Diastasis recti, the separation of the abdominal muscles, is a common occurrence during pregnancy. When your belly grows to accommodate your growing baby, your muscles thin and stretch a lot, so the tissue holding abdominal muscles together in the middle, linea alba.
By actively engaging and taking control over the core, expecting mothers can minimize the severity of diastasis recti and potentially avoid long-term complications. Contrary to popular belief, engaging in appropriate core exercises during pregnancy can be a proactive step toward maintaining core strength and stability.
So, what are some of the core training secrets for moms-in-progress? Let’s explore some safe and effective exercises that can be incorporated into a pregnancy fitness routine while adapting as the pregnancy progresses.
Learning diaphragmatic breathing techniques during pregnancy is highly beneficial. While you can’t take a too deep breath due to your baby pushing against your diaphragm, you can still benefit from it. When you learn how to take a deep breath into your chest and your belly, you can also learn how to relax your pelvic floor muscles, which will help you during the birth of your baby. When you exhale, you can learn how to connect with your pelvic floor muscles and engage your deep core muscles. It will help with strength and self-awareness, which will help with your postpartum recovery.
Make Every Exercise a Core Exercise
As your pregnancy progresses, focus on the quality of your movements. Now is not the time to chase your PRs at the gym, but rather a time to prepare your body for the most challenging event: birth. Incorporate special exercises to challenge your core safely so that you keep control of your muscles even in the last weeks of pregnancy. And, of course, you can make every exercise a core exercise! How? Engage your core when you exhale and relax when you inhale.
Make Adjustments When Needed
As your pregnancy progresses, adjusting your core exercises to accommodate your changing body is essential. In the later stages, exercises performed while lying flat on your back may be uncomfortable or unsafe due to the weight of the uterus pressing on major blood vessels. Instead, opt for exercises in a seated or side-lying position.
Additionally, listening to your body and consulting with your healthcare provider is crucial throughout your pregnancy fitness journey. They can provide personalized guidance based on your unique circumstances and any potential risk factors. If you work with a trainer, make sure they have experience with working with pregnant women and are actually educated on what they are doing.
Remember, the goal of core training during pregnancy is not to achieve six-pack abs but to maintain strength, stability, and support for your changing body. By engaging in appropriate core exercises, expectant mothers can mitigate the severity of diastasis recti, support their bodies during pregnancy, and potentially speed up the recovery process after childbirth.
Embracing core training during pregnancy empowers moms-in-progress to stay active, maintain their fitness levels, and foster a strong foundation for the incredible journey of motherhood. So, embrace the power of your core and embark on a fitness routine tailored to your pregnancy needs. Belly and beyond, your strong core will carry you to new heights as you navigate the beautiful adventure of motherhood.