Strong Abs for Strong Women: The Importance of Abdominal Strength Before, During and After Pregnancy
As women, we often underestimate the importance of our abdominal strength. However, a strong core can bring numerous benefits to our health and well-being, both during and after pregnancy. In this Sceniicc post, we will explore the importance of abdominal strength, how to engage the core, how to rebuild after childbirth, and how to maintain the strength before pregnancy.
Importance of Abdominal Strength
Abdominal strength is crucial to maintaining good posture, stability, and balance. The core muscles provide a strong foundation for our movements and protect the spine from injury.
Strong abs also help to prevent lower back pain, which is a common complaint among women.
During pregnancy, a strong core can help to support the growing baby and relieve pressure on the lower back. Strong abdominal muscles can also make labor and delivery easier and faster. After childbirth, strong core muscles can help to restore the abdominal muscles and prevent diastasis recti, a condition where the abdominal muscles separate.
Engaging the Core
Engaging the core is not just about doing crunches or sit-ups. It is about learning how to activate the deep muscles of the abdomen, the transverse abdominis, which wrap around the spine and act as a natural corset.
To engage the core, start by lying on your back with your knees bent and feet flat on the floor. Place your hands on your lower abdomen, just above your pubic bone. Take a deep breath in (sometimes through the nose helps) and as you exhale, gently draw your navel in towards your spine. You should feel a gentle tightening in your lower abdomen.
To check if you are engaging the correct muscles, place your fingers on your hip bones and cough. You should feel a slight tightening in the muscles underneath your fingers. This is the sensation you want to recreate when engaging your core.
Rebuilding Abdominal Strength After Childbirth
After childbirth, it is important to give your body time to heal before beginning any abdominal exercises. It is recommended to wait at least six weeks after a vaginal delivery or eight weeks+ after a C-section before starting to exercise again.
Always check with your healthcare provider before beginning any exercise program.
Once you have been cleared for exercise, start with gentle pelvic floor exercises, also known as Kegels. These exercises can help to strengthen the muscles that support the bladder, uterus, and rectum. Once you feel comfortable with pelvic floor exercises, you can start to incorporate gentle core exercises such as pelvic tilts, modified planks, and bridges.
As you progress, you can increase the intensity and duration of your exercises. It is important to listen to your body and not push yourself too hard too soon. Remember, rebuilding abdominal strength takes time and patience.
Maintaining Abdominal Strength Before Pregnancy
If you are planning on becoming pregnant, it is important to maintain your abdominal strength beforehand. A strong core can help to support the growing baby and make labour and delivery easier.
To maintain abdominal strength, incorporate core exercises into your regular workout routine. This can include exercises such as planks, side planks, bridges, and bird dogs. It is also important to maintain good posture throughout the day, as slouching can weaken the abdominal muscles.
In addition to exercise, maintaining a healthy diet and staying hydrated can help to support your abdominal muscles. Eating a diet rich in protein, healthy fats, and fiber can help to build and maintain muscle mass. Drinking plenty of water can help to keep your muscles hydrated and functioning properly.
As women, we often underestimate the importance of our abdominal strength. However, a strong core can bring numerous benefits to our health and well-being, both during and after pregnancy.
Engaging the core, rebuilding abdominal strength after childbirth, and maintaining abdominal strength before pregnancy are all important steps to support our abdominal muscles and prevent injury.
Remember to listen to your body and building core strength is a marathon, but the day WILL come where you feel the core in is fullest potential.
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Keep getting strong girl, each day is a success 💪