BREATHE OUT ! Is a cue I repeat with all my clients who are pregnant, postpartum or having pelvic floor and diastasis recti concerns, during any form of movement. By this I mean ….exhale on exertion or the hardest part of the exercise and especially when you lift.
Why you need to exhale on exertion – IAP
If you hold your breath during exercise or while lifting …not just weights, this includes your baby/toddler and pram too) your diaphragm will push down on your abdominal organs and will compromise your pelvic floor. This is called excessive IAP – intra abdominal pressure.
IAP can also happen if you do movements such as sit ups, crunches, planks, toes to bar when you core or abs are not fully functional due to pregnancy, diastatis recti recovery or birth trauma.
IAP that is continual or excessive means your bladder could strain and leak or worse a prolapse may occur or become worse
How you breathe during pregnancy, postpartum workouts and in daily functional movements can have a HUGE impact on your pelvic floor and your abdominal separation / deep core healing post birth. Normally, when we fully exhale, our diaphragm should be elevating and our abdominal wall, pelvic floor and lower back should be tensing in coordination with the diaphragm. As they are all connected – this is called intrinsic core synergy.
Pregnancy and Intra Abdominal Pressure
During pregnancy and as your baby grows, it increasingly pushes on your diaphragm, which inhibits the depth of your breath.
By the end of your pregnancy, this can cause a dysfunction in the diaphragm lifting, which results in shallow breath. Very often, after childbirth, breathing can continue in the same way – shallow breath, meaning you breathe into your throat and chest, not down into your ribs and diaphragm.
What does that mean ?
This means, if your pelvic floor is meant to work in co-ordination with your diaphragm (as mentioned – intrinsic core synergy or see infographic above) and your diaphragm is not working to full capacity, then as it is all connected it means your pelvic floor, then this muscle won’t be working effectively, either.
Therefore …additional breath holding will only increase pressure in your abdomen and will have a negative impact on your pelvic floor and diastasis Get the facts on Diastasis Recti here.
I know core synergy sounds a little confusing. However it is pretty simple to tap into – all you need to do is breath into your diaphragm and exhale on exertion !
It is a fabulous way to breathe your way to a better core. When I say core I also mean pelvic floor as it is all connected. Please also learn that spot training or simply doing many Kegels a day is not the way to overcome pelvic floor concerns – research has proved this. LEARN MORE HERE
Watch my 5 min Core Breath Video
This video will create a fabulous foundation for you to …
- Protect and train your pelvic floor and deep core effectively during and after pregnancy
- Learn to re-establish/re-train your breathing patterns as soon as possible post birth and avoid shallow breath as I mention above.
- Breathe your way to a better core – without causing excessive IAP
Breathing on exertion and effectively into your diaphragm and be a little counter intuitive. So try to practice this daily until it becomes second nature.
Please connect with me in my Facebook Community called the #BFABSQUAD to let me know how you find it or if you have any questions ?
Dahlas Fletcher is one of Australia’s most respected and successful certified and experienced Pregnancy and Female Fitness Trainers. Her goal is to help you be the happiest, most fabulous version of yourself, inside and out.