Prenatal Wellness

Prenatal Wellness

The Exercise You May Want To Avoid If You’re Pregnant

Monday, March 13, 2017

I bang on so much about how important it is to strengthen the muscles of the deep core while you're pregnant. A strong TVA and Pelvic Floor system will mean you are supporting your spine, pelvis and baby as your belly grows - During labor your strong TVA will help get your uterus get the baby out in the final pushing stage - And it is the only muscles that bring everything back together postpartum! Listen to me bang on a bit more in this article.. I'm joined by some experts too so well worth the read!

The Exercise You May Want To Avoid If You’re Pregnant

By Leta Shy

Why experts say this move can worsen a common pregnancy symptom.

Prenatal Core exercises & pilates to prevent Diastasis Recti

It wasn't long after I became pregnant that I discovered the previously unknown-to-me world of diastasis recti exercises, which aim to prevent the separation of your front ab muscles that can occur during pregnancy. Beforehand, I never really thought about what exercises I should and shouldn't do during my pregnancy. I knew it was crucial to listen to my body when exercising while pregnant; after all, pregnancy is full of bodily surprises, some due to relaxin, a hormone that increases during pregnancy that helps loosen joints to prepare your body (especially your pelvis) for delivery. But to me that meant going to my regular HIIT classes and sitting out the exercises that I didn't feel comfortable performing—until I kept hearing one piece of advice from multiple trainers who specialize in prenatal workouts: If you're pregnant, you should avoid doing crunches.

“Crunches are the worst thing possible” for pregnant women, explains Clarissa Smirnov, a certified prenatal Pilates instructor at Pilates ProWorks in San Francisco. Smirnov says she sees lots of clients ramping up their ab work during the first trimester, hoping they can build a strong core before their belly grows—but some exercises may lead to more separation, instead of less, and a tougher recovery.

Ali Handley, founder of BodyLove Pilates, agrees. “Major changes [that happen during pregnancy] mean that most traditional abdominal exercises that engage the six-pack are a big no-no as they only make ab separation bigger and harder to heal after you've had a baby,” she explains. Handley tells her clients to avoid crunches as well as planks and other prone-position moves if they aren’t strong enough to do them without keeping their belly buttons pulled in.

Why are crunches supposedly so bad during pregnancy?

As your uterus grows, your left and right rectus abdominus muscles (better known as the six-pack muscles) separate to make room for your expanding belly, a condition known as diastasis recti. While diastasis recti can occur in anyone, it’s a common side effect of pregnancy, and why many trainers believe that overworking your abs during pregnancy can worsen the separation. Diastasis recti feels like a gap between your muscles and can look like a bulge of skin or soft space in between your abs that you notice after delivery. Although not associated with pain, some studies have shown that it can be related to pelvic bone instability as well as weak pelvic floor muscles. Diastasis recti can repair itself after delivery, or you can seek out physical therapists or trainers that specialize in diastasis recti exercises that may help coax your abs back together (more on that below).

While most women will experience some degree of ab separation during pregnancy, some experts say modifying the way you exercise can help decrease the severity of your case. One study, for example, found that pregnant women who performed heavy lifting 20 times or more every week were more likely to experience ab separation than those who didn't (the study didn't define what researchers considered "heavy lifting"). Many trainers and physical therapists also recommend avoiding “conventional” ab exercises that may overwork the rectus abdominus abs—like crunches—in order to limit the amount of ab separation you experience during pregnancy.

The risks of crunches during pregnancy is still up for debate, however.

It’s important to note that what works for some women may not be the best for you; in fact, while there’s a fervent “no-crunches” camp, how to prevent or reduce diastasis recti is still up for debate. One study, for example, found that doing crunches in the late third trimester up to 14 weeks postpartum could actually be beneficial for narrowing the separation gap..... Jump to the complete article here -

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