Contribution by Alicia Magro, PT, MPT
What is the “core”?
The core consists of muscles that support the back and help maintain an upright posture including the pelvic floor, front and side abdominals and back muscles. Due to a growing belly it can be a challenge to keep your core strong during pregnancy and following pregnancy,
Why is it important to keep your core strong during pregnancy?
A strong core improves posture which leads to decreased back pain. Research shows that more than 75% of expectant mothers experience back pain. A strong core can also improve with ease of labor and lead to a quicker recovery postpartum.
How to safely work the “core” during and after pregnancy?
Avoid laying in a flat position after the first trimester which may put pressure on the vein that returns blood from your legs. This may interfere with the blood flow to the placenta and baby. Also be cautious with doing forward planks or typical “crunches” during pregnancy or postpartum as this may cause stress on the pelvic floor as well as could lead to a separation in the abdominals known as diastis recti.
1. Bird Dog
2. Pelvic Tilts Standing At A Wall
3. Seated Marches
4. Side Plank (Avoid if you have any shoulder problems)
6. Perform Kegels
Kegels are a way to engage your pelvic floor muscles. It is best to attempt these first in sitting or lying down and then incorporate with all exercises. These are especially important postpartum to avoid pelvic floor issues including incontinence.
Keeping your core strong will make your pregnancy healthier and recovery much easier. If you are struggling with pain or would like more help with exercise see your physical therapist for guidance. They can tailor a program just for you and make sure to avoid injuries.
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