I am often asked “what is the secret to a perfect core ?” and “what’s the best pregnancy or postpartum ab workout to achieve this ?” To begin, let’s clarify that to function optimally (or close to perfectly) the CORE abs, or abdominal wall during both pregnancy and postpartum needs to safely withstand pressure.
This pressure or the technical term “intra-abdominal pressure” can be caused due to a variety of factors including :
- Exercises such planks, crunches, sit ups, russian twists are unsuitable when the abdominal wall has separated and not ready to take additional load (separation has to occur during pregnancy and will continue post birth until diastatis recti / ab separation has healed internally)
- Breath holding while lifting or performing an exercise
- Poor posture which can cause a non optimal transfer of force through the entire deep core system including the pelvic floor.
- Poor load transfer which can be a combination of all of the above – posture, breath holding and movement
The factors above happen, not only during a workout but also when performing daily tasks. Watch the video below for a clear explanation about how you can take positive steps to improve the total function of the core while prenatal or post birth.
Easy steps to improve the function of the core during pregnancy and postpartum
Safe pregnancy postpartum ab workout to avoid diastatis recti
There is no ONE definitive solution that will fix or prevent diastatis recti or abdominal separation. However, there are many positive protocols, that when consistently applied during a workout and in daily life, they can have an amazing effect on the total function of the core.
The secret is a safe effective strategy that is consistently applied. When this is done during pregnancy and continued post birth, issues such as back pain, hip pain, pelvic pain, leakage, the dreaded postpartum pooch and at worst prolapse can be avoided or improved. This is why I believe pregnancy is the best time to train your core (and yes – the core goes way beyond just a 6-pack). You can dive deep into this with some fun total-body workouts in my online pregnancy and postpartum membership THE BFAB METHOD
Can you heal abdominal separation, diastatis recti and postpartum pooch ?
Many women have been sold the myth that the core is healed by 6-8 weeks post birth – when they are given the all clear to exercise at a routine postpartum check up.
Think about this… it has taken 9 months for the abdominal wall to stretch and expand during pregnancy so it is ridiculous to believe that this will heal in just a couple of months, especially when a new mother has very little rest or “recovery time”. Unfortunately media images of airbrushed, time rich celebrities – with all the help and resources in the world don’t improve the warped expectation, many new mama’s place on themselves.
The secret to a perfect core
Healing the deep core post birth begins first by shifting mindset and expectations, this what I call becoming “core conscious”. Once these mental barriers and expectations are diminished, the physical healing can progress so much more effectively.
The repair process of the stretched mid-line of the abdominal wall requires months (not just weeks) of re-strengthening, re-tensioning to allow the collagen and fascia to effectively rebuild from the inside of the core to the outside or upper area (6 pack or abdominal wall).
- The postpartum healing process it does NOT mean you can’t do ANY exercise
- The exercise and movement you do DURING pregnancy counts towards a better core post birth.
- A progressive load strategy is required that suits your OWN level of recovery as each woman has a different journey.
- The “team players” can be used to support the healing core. Total body workout’s that combine movements with the arms, legs, back and core breath are important rather than a “spot training” ab workout !
- You need to help yourself – which includes effective movement and breath combos during daily life when lifting a baby, pram etc
- Personally define “your perfect core” – is it a 6 pack that simply looks good or is it a muscle that functions optimally under load so you can play with your children and perform daily tasks without pain and dysfunction ?
Stop wishing, stop dreaming…stop scrolling social media. Start acting !
Moving confidently with motivation and a safe strategy is your secret to progress to a perfect core. Knowledge is power so use what you have just learned and if you need help with a program to make this happen – reach out. I am here for you !
p.s Any questions ? connect with me in my Facebook Community right here.
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.