Have you ever heard these claims or do you think them yourself?
*Engaging your abdominals can squash the baby
*Ab exercises increase your diastasis (separation of rectus muscles)
*Pregnancy is a time to relax and not exert physical effort
During my last 7 years of teaching pregnant women in Asia I have heard all of these comments and more. The reality is that abdominal exercises (in pregnancy or not) can either make you feel stronger, fitter and more empowered or they can wreak havoc on your midsection over time. Here’s what you need to know to stay safe and strong.
Pregnancy abs are really no different that your non-pregnant belly muscles. The key is to focus on your pelvic floor and transverse muscles before you engage your rectus abdominals. Here’s how:
*Sit comfortably. Begin by relaxing your belly completely.
*Take a breath in and as you exhale engage your pelvic floor. Keep this turned on.
*Take another breath and as you exhale draw up and in from your lower belly as if you were putting on tight jeans. Your belly will visually look smaller if you do this correctly. Keep this turned on.
Your lower abs are now working for you to support any movement you do. This is the first step in finding a deeper ab connection.
I recommend that you start with these actions before you progress. When you engage in strenuous activity (lifting, squatting, yoga, exercise and even walking), pull up and in from deep inside your low belly and start to notice a postural lift and an inner support.
Very important is to let go of the notion that sit ups are the best abdominal work. In fact, avoid traditional sit ups completely in pregnancy and postpartum and whenever you get up from a back lying position always roll to your side first. Never sit upright which stresses your abs.
If you want to learn about how your abs can seriously help push your baby out faster, more efficiently and with less physical side effects join my Preparing to Push program which offers a very effective and revolutionary approach to pregnancy, labor and transitioning safely and strongly into your postpartum body.