During pregnancy your abs have been stretched beyond recognition! Even if you lifted weights throughout your while pregnancy, your abs will be a lot weaker because of the pressure from the baby.
You will notice your core weakness most when your holding your baby, as your lower back will start to ache after a few minutes as the muscles around your whole core area are weak, this is including your back muscles. This is because your abdomen muscles aren’t giving you support, so your back muscles are working harder to keep your torso up right. It also doesn’t help that your breasts are filled with milk and weigh a ton!
During pregnancy, the growing uterus stretches the muscle in the abdomen. This can cause the muscles to separate; this condition is called Diastasis Recti. Diastasis recti might cause a bulge in the middle of the abdomen where the two muscles separate. In mum terms, this is the frustrating baby pouch that doesn’t go away after the baby is born and can still be there years after the baby is born!
How to check if you have Diastasis Recti?
Lie flat on your back, contract your muscles and gently press your abdominal muscles above and below your belly button. If you can feel a soft gap between the muscles, then you have a separation.
What can you do to fix this?
So, a lot of people think that doing crunches or sit ups will help this, but they are WRONG!
The best exercises you can do are body weight exercises, such as:
- Press ups
- Side planks
- Pull ups (band assisted)
Weighted exercises include:
- Barbell Squats
- Over head press
- Bench press
For those who want to do exercises at home and don’t have any equipment and want to do some core exercises at home, here are some exercises you can do:
Single Leg Raises
Lie on the floor with your knees bent, spine neutral and arms by your side
Lift leg straight into the air with opposite knee bent. Inhale and slowly breathe out when lowering leg to the ground.
Repeat and swap legs. do 10reps each leg, repeat 4x
Belly breathing simply involves allowing your stomach to expand and contract as much as possible while you inhale and exhale deeply. Repeat 10times and have a minute rest , then repeat the process 3 times.
Begin by lying on your back. Tense your abdomen muscles as if you’re preparing to get hit in the stomach. This is your starting position.
From here, preform different movements such as raising your arms above your head and extending your legs while keeping your back flat.
Lie on your back with your knees bent and feet flat on the floor.
Tense your abdomen and tilt your pelvis back by pressing your lower back into the floor.
Hold for 10 seconds
Sit on the floor with your knees bent and tense your abdomen.
Lean your torso back slightly, while lifting your feet off of the ground.
Lift until your shins are parallel to the floor and your back is straight. Your hip should be at a 90-degree angle.
Extend your arms to a comfortable position to maintain balance.
Hold for 30 seconds
Remember that you wont see results straight away but if you do these exercises 3-4 times a week for a few weeks, you will feel your core becoming stronger!