As anyone who has seen what happens to a woman’s body when growing a child can guess, pregnancy puts an incredible strain on the body’s center, aka “the core.” From crowding internal organs, stretching out abdominal muscles, and putting incredible pressure on the pelvic floor, there’s a lot in the body (and mind) that has to find it’s orientation again once the baby is welcomed into the world outside of the womb.
Instead of poking your belly or squeezing any rolls with judgment, offer your body some love and gratitude for what she has done. Add a sense of playful fun in there and you’ve got a winning trifecta!
Skip the situps
Rather than forcing yourself to do traditional crunches, which can cause neck strain and worsen diastasis recti if done incorrectly, turn your core work into floor play with your little ones. Go outside onto grass or sand if you can, or find an open space that has carpet or soft padding.
- Engage your center, drawing your belly button in and up
- Crawl around the floor acting like a bear.
- Get into a plank position, on your knees if necessary, and let your kids crawl under you.
- Do mini push ups, and each time you lower down, kiss your little one’s belly.
While it’s tempting to just “suck it in”, your core is only as strong as its ability to fully relax. Spend some time every day taking deep belly breaths, relaxing your center, and letting your full breath expand your belly. As you exhale, draw your navel to your spine and start to engage your pelvic floor. Alternate this full release/expansion with engagement as you connect the movements to your breath. Finish with a gentle massage of your belly in a clockwise direction, offering your body kind thoughts and feelings of gratitude.
Claim your crown
“Queen for nine months and servant for a lifetime” is a saying that rings true for many mothers. Though you may feel that your reign is over once you give birth, acting as if you are still on the throne is a great way to reconnect with your core. Practice first while sitting, then while standing, and finally, bring your royal posture into your daily movements.
- Stand tall, feel as if the top of your head is being subtly lifted upward.
- Roll your shoulders back and gently down.
- Open your heart.
- Draw your belly button toward your spine, feeling the deep muscles of your core wrap from your spine around your waist to the front midline of your center. Let this action be dynamic as you relax on the inhale and re-engage on the exhale.
- Let your face relax and let a soft hint of a smile arise.
You’ve got this, Queen.
Kalia Kelmenson is the creator of Maui Mind and Body. She supports woen in havin ghe energy they want, the vitality they crave and connecting to the adventure that is their life. mauimindandbody.com.