Your Core During Pregnancy: Your Muscles, What they Do and What Exercises to NOT do
There are so many changes going on in our body during pregnancy and our core experiences the most changes - but don’t stress! Our bodies are designed for this!
Your priority should be on protecting your core and keeping your muscles strong. Your core is made up of many different muscles (not just your abs!) and knowledge is power. Take a look at these important terms and start making those connections to your body :)
TVA (transverse abdominis):
Your TVA is the innermost core muscle and is like a corset. This muscle does a lot of stretching during pregnancy to make room for baby. Making a mind-muscle connection with your TVA will help you strengthen your core and practice proper engagement during exercise. Start by taking a deep breath in letting your belly expand. Then on your exhale, draw your belly button into your spine and focus on your ‘corset’ muscles tightening, pull your pelvic floor up as your belly draws in. Then proceed to perform the exercise.
During pregnancy, it is normal to experience some ab separation. Diastasis Recti is when the separation is more than 2 fingers apart.
This can cause pelvic floor pain, difficulty holding pee, and other side effects. To reduce the amount of diastasis recti, avoid traditional core exercises, engage your core properly during workouts and day-to-day movements that may cause excess stress on your core. If you are noticing some of the side effects mentioned above - reach out to a Women’s Health Physical Therapist and take care of your body, you won’t regret it!
If you notice your belly coning, tenting or bulging down the center of your belly during any exercise or during regular activities such as getting out of bed or leaning backwards, it means there is too much strain on your core. Make sure you are using proper form & engaging your core before attempting the exercise or movement. If coning persists, avoid the movement until after pregnancy. Excess strain and coning can lead to over-stretching - aka further separation of the abs. Watch this IGTV Video where I further explain coning and how to properly engage your core!
Be sure to download my FREE Pregnancy Starter Kit for full modifications, education on core during pregnancy and visuals!