Of course they CAN be, but we have to work at those abdominals after having a baby. 9 months of carrying those cuties and it takes work afterwards to get our bodies to a NEW NORMAL!
What happens during pregnancy?
- Abdominals separate in the third trimester of pregnancy to make room for the baby to grow as big as they need
- They separate along the middle of our body (linea alba) including along the belly button
What happens after pregnancy?
- Abdominals need some attention to properly activate them, more specifically finding what we call the transversus abdominals
- We need to make sure that we can focus on our transversus abdominals to help the muscle bellies come back together in the middle
- This is important for supporting our lower backs and hips during our daily activities- lifting our little ones, walking, squatting, completing housework, etc.
How can I find the transversus abdominals?
- Put your hands on your hip bones until you feel the hard bones on each side
- Then put your fingers on the inside of those bones where it will feel mushy because you are touching muscle
- Try to flatten your belly button towards your spine WITHOUT sucking everything in
- You should feel like your upper abdominals are fairly relaxed when completing this exercise
- Another hint is to have your hands on the muscles and say the word “Haaaa” out loud to feel the contraction of the transversus abdominals
What exercises should I avoid?
- Planks, downward-dog, crunches and sit ups (all of these need to be completed properly under the supervision of a trained physical therapist who will check you to make sure this is appropriate for your level)
- Make sure you are BREATHING when completing your abdominal exercises and any other exercises to prevent increased stress along your pelvis
Don’t be discouraged!!
- Our bodies take time to recover after pregnancy just like it takes those 9 months to prepare for birthing our babies
- Our bodies change in many ways in our abdominals, hips and pelvic floor (stay tuned for future blogs on this topic) during pregnancy
- There are many systems out there to follow online, but it’s always best to work with a trained physical therapist where they can help you make sure exercises are being completed properly!
How can I get checked to see if I have a separation?
- Come see one of our pelvic floor specialist physical therapists who are specifically trained in treating this condition
- We will put together a program fit for YOU and meet you where your body is in the recovery process
- We will look at the abdominals, hips and pelvic floor muscles to make sure that you get the best support around your pelvis
- Our goal is to make sure you understand how to get your abdominals to work properly and be able to progress your program as you continue to get stronger
- Call Breakaway Physical Therapy at 410-721-6333 to find out about our FREE phone consult or our FREE in-office Breakthrough visit to come meet us!
Just remember…you only get one body and although it changes a lot with pregnancy, these can be changes for the better! This is your time to make sure you are taking care of you as a MOM so that you can keep playing with those kiddos AND get back to doing all the things that you love!
Healthy kids DESERVE healthy Moms😊