Crunches after pregnancy is a big NO

 Before being pregnant, I was a crunch away queen and had fantastic abs to show for my hard work. After giving birth to a nearly 10 pound 22.5 inch baby, my stomach had lots of extra-ness hanging around, so I started doing crunches again. However, after a trip over to Germany, 5 months after giving birth, and attending a physical therapy class, gifted to me via my sister-in-law, I was told that crunches is one of the worst things a woman can do after giving birth.

After returning to the states and continuing with physical therapy, I found out that this really is true. When women gain or lose weight, especially during pregnancy, the hidden layer of muscles underneath your top layer of abdominals, “rectis abdominus” is known as “transverse abdominus”. This hidden layer of muscle is actually the most important layer of abdominals as they are the girdle that pulls everything together. Extreme or quick weight gain or loss can cause a separation of the transverse and rectis abdominus known as “diastasis recti”. Traditional crunches can make this diastasis recti worse.

 

During my physical therapy, I learned more effective core strengthening techniques such as yoga and pilates which are excellent with a special emphasis on slow, deliberate movements, as well as slow and deep breathing techniques. It is important to exercise in a way that can help you retrain your transverse abdominus and tone after 9 months of carrying a child and giving birth. Even if you think you have the energy and can exercise like you did pre-pregnancy, if you don’t repair your core or pelvic floor you might notice problems later in life such as urinary incontinence, pain with sex, lower back pain or more overall body injuries.

 

It is best to retrain slowly and correctly after giving birth. Seek out classes which support core-strengthening which will retrain and stabilize your transverse and rectus abdominus, oblique muscles to help stabilize and properly position your spine, hips and shoulders, as well as concentrating on monitoring breath control through special techniques.

 

Click here for a mommy & me quick exercise: Head shoulders knees and toes!

 

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