Your stomach muscles are stretched and abused beyond recognition through pregnancy and getting back into shape is often a big worry for Mums- but don’t worry these simple and gentle exercises will strengthen your core!
The first sign of complete lack of core strength comes when your back starts to ache after holding your baby for just a few minutes. Because your abdominal muscles are giving you no support, your back is working overtime trying to keep your torso upright.
This occurs when the connective tissue between your abdominal muscles thins, causing your muscles to separate. This is a common pregnancy condition, but some women may have a more severe case. You need to check this before you start any exercise- speak to your GP about how to spot it.
These following exercises target the transverse abdominals as well as the pelvic floor muscles, which are the keystone for a strong core.
1. Belly Breathing
Belly breathing simply involves allowing your stomach to expand and contract as much as possible while you actively inhale and exhale as deeply as possible.
2. Abdominal Bracing
Begin by lying face-up on the floor. Brace your abdomen by contracting your entire abdomen as if you were preparing to get hit in the stomach. This is your starting position. From here, perform different movements such as raising one or both arms overhead or extending your legs while keeping your back flat against the floor.
3. Pelvic Tilt
Lie on your back with your knees bent and feet flat on the floor or propped on a ball. Brace your abdomen and tilt your pelvis back by pressing your lower back into the floor. Hold this position for five seconds then repeat.
4. Yoga Boat
Sit on the floor with your knees bent. Brace your abdomen, slightly lean your torso back while lifting your feet off the floor. Lift until your shins are parallel with the floor, your back is straight and your hips are flexed to ninety degrees. Extend your arms forward to a comfortable position to help maintain your balance. Hold here for at least thirty seconds. Once you are stronger and more confident extend your legs.
Place your elbows on the top of a stability ball and extended your legs out behind. Brace your abdomen and hips, straighten your back and hold the position for at least thirty seconds. This exercise is basically just a standard plank but you’re adding in the instability of the ball.
These exercises are great to get you started and feeing more confident- let us know how you get on.
*Please contact your Doctor before starting any exercise routine.