If you’re reading this then you've probably just been through the most physically and emotionally demanding experience you’ll ever go through – pregnancy & childbirth. Now that your bundle of joy has arrived you may be thinking about getting your body back to its pre-pregnancy condition, however, exercising after you've had a baby isn't necessarily straight forward.
It is vital to re-establish the strength in your mid-section (core) muscles; after all, they've been stretched over a nine- month period so it’s a lot to expect of them to return to ‘normal’ and work like they did before.
Look online and there’s loads of ‘do’s’ and ‘don’ts’, but very little in the way of specific information for what YOU need. For all you know, a ‘do’ on one website may actually cause you harm so it’s wise to find out what you specifically need. What to do also depends on your desired outcomes (weight loss, eliminating that back/hip pain, returning to an active lifestyle or back to competitive sport) before you get your running trainers out to lose those pregnancy pounds you need to address the foundations - your mid-section activation.
Figure 1 - Primary mid-section muscles
Usually, women that are post-partum are given some information about ‘strengthening your pelvic floor muscle’ which of course is important, but it’s time we think bigger than just this one muscle. Over nine months of pregnancy your pelvis begins to tilt forward, adding more pressure to the spine and surrounding muscles and your abdominals are lengthened.
Figures 2 & 3 – Showing the effect of the anterior pelvic tilt obtained during later stages of pregnancy and its presentation on the musculoskeletal system
It is very important that you have your whole mid-section activated; as you can see from the list below, there’s a lot more than the pelvic floor muscle:
- rectus abdominis
- transverse abdominis
- internal/external obliques
- quadratus lumborum
- gluteus maximus & medius,
Once these muscles are functioning correctly only then will you have a solid foundation to rebuild your body.
It is a difficult thing to ‘activate’ your mid-section correctly. Usually, exercises like ‘crunches’ or ‘planks’ are recommended but these are often ineffective and certainly won’t activate all of your mid-section muscles.
Well, our take on addressing these issues is much more holistic – we look at the bigger picture and incorporate mid-section activating ‘ques’ into every exercise, as well as finding that ‘trigger’ that suits you to activate your mid-section (from ‘laughing’, to ‘bracing’, to ‘bringing your belly button through to your spine’). We adopt a whole-body approach to restoring your function. We re-train you to activate your mid-section and make it strong.
This, then, forms the basis of which our Post Natal Exercise & Rehabilitation course is built on. We re-establish mid-section muscles and help the body recover from pregnancy so you can begin to re-build your strength safely with the support of a professional.
If you or someone you know would like to find out more about our Post Natal Exercise and Rehabilitation Course then get in touch today!