To Let It All Hang Out, Or Not...
Jun 26, 2012
5 Reasons Why Pregnant Women Need Strong Abdominal Muscles…
Pregnancy is not the time to be doing crunches or other abdominal exercises that may put more pressure on the already compromised abdominal wall. For good reason, expectant moms take great care in protecting their growing baby bump, especially after it reveals itself. As the pregnancy progresses, the tendency is to let it all hang out because, well, the belly is out there! But moms-to-be need to know that having a strong core during pregnancy helps to:
1) Alleviate Lower Back Pain – One of the most common symptoms of pregnancy, lower back muscles are compromised as the belly grows, pulling and shortening them causing pain and fatigue. The uterus tilts forward and mom’s center of gravity shifts, increasing spinal curves, while the pregnancy hormone relaxin loosens muscles and ligaments, adding even more strain. Having a strong core helps shift the weight back while lengthening the lower back muscles, minimizing and easing discomfort.
2) Improve Pregnancy Posture – The shift in mom’s center of gravity, lax ligaments, sway or hollow back, the added weight mom is carrying in her chest, the head moving forward and the feet rolling in, are all common symptoms that contribute to postural changes during pregnancy. Strong abdominal muscles aid in controlling the angle of the pelvis and support the spine, and fundamental to practicing good pregnancy posture.
3) Prevent Or Minimize Separation in Abdominal Wall – Four sets of muscles make up the abdominal wall. They are arranged on the body like an elaborate corset. A separation of the abdominal wall is called a diastasis recti. The recti are two halves of the abdominal muscle joined together by a band of tissue called the linea alba. The softening of the linea alba, along with the growing baby can cause this separation around the navel area – like a zipper separating under stress. Appropriate abdominal strengthening exercises help prevent this separation or, at least, minimize it and ensure the strength needed to push the baby out.
4) Push That Baby Out – How and where moms-to-be will labor will vary, but unless the baby is born by C-section, the baby will be pushed out! Being the muscles used for force exhalation, ie: coughing, sneezing, elimination, nose blowing, deliberate breathing, etc., pregnant women must practice the voluntary contraction of the abdominal muscles to efficiently push the baby out. Through regular practice of correct belly breathing (as in Maternal Dance and on the Rhythm For Life DVD), pregnant women can train and strengthen their abdominal muscles to work for them during the pushing stage of labor.
5) Get Your Pre Baby Body Back, Postpartum and Better – Not only will having strong abs give moms the strength and support to lift and enjoy their baby, muscles have memory. As expectant moms train their abdominal muscles for the pushing stage of labor, these same core muscles will “remember” as you engage them while easing into your postpartum routine, and who doesn’t want to lose that belly after nine plus months of carrying a baby? The belly breathing can resume within days of delivery, perhaps a bit longer after a C-Section.
In order to efficiently push the baby out, pregnant women must practice the voluntary contraction of the abdominal muscles through appropriate core strengthening exercises. Be mindful in finding a good prenatal exercise program that satisfies these requirements safely, and follows the guidelines of the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists.
What moves you?