Whether you’ve experienced a vaginal or cesarean birth you might start to notice that you're feeling weak or disconnected to your core after giving birth. Don’t worry this is extremely common and we have some tips on how to find your core connection again.
During pregnancy your abdominals need to stretch to make room for your growing baby and most people adopt a sway back posture to counteract the weight of your belly pulling you forward.
1. Correcting Sway Back Posture: If not addressed many people maintain this sway back posture well into postpartum. Sometimes this can cause your abdominal muscles to feel weak or disconnected. To fix this let’s start from the bottom. Stand tall feet hip width apart. Gently rock towards your toes and then your heels. Find the midpoint. Then make sure your knees have a soft bend to them. Move up to your pelvis and do a pelvic tilt up and down and then find the midpoint. On an exhale gently let the ribs drop down and back. And lastly grow tall like someone is pulling you up to the sky from your high ponytail. Hold for 3 seconds and relax
2. Breathing: I recommend everyone practice 10 minutes of mindful breathing a day (if possible- which I know with a new baby can be challenging but aim for a few days a week). You can begin these as early as day 1 postpartum. Find a supported position where you can relax, maybe on your back with pillows under your knees or your knees up on the back of the couch. Place your hands on the ribcage and as you breathe in try to push your hands away as you breath wide into the ribs On and exhale just let the muscles pull the ribs back together gently.
3. Practice Baby Hug: This is again an exercise you can begin as soon as you feel comfortable. Place your hands on your belly and breathe in letting your hands and ribs expand. As you exhale imagine hugging your belly button or hugging your baby if you are still pregnant - remember this is when you are blowing out. Repeat 10 of these.
4. Use a Core Ball: Using a 10” pilates ball (small) to massage out the lower back as well as abdominals can really improve your connection with your core muscles. Roll the ball up and down your lower back, and then flip onto your belly and roll the ball back and forth and up and down. This might seem a bit silly but it helps your brain re-wire and understand where your core muscles are as well as loosen up any tight spots which will make abdominal exercises actually easier! If you’ve had a cesarean or any abdominal surgery please wait to do this until your primary care provider gives you clearance and your incision is healed.
Remember everybody and every postpartum experience is different, it’s important to find a Pelvic Floor Physio who can help assist you and give you individualized advice and guidance. Working with a physio or kinesiologist who also specializes in postpartum pilates or exercise rehab is also recommended and this can often be done virtually or in-person.
Pelvic Floor & Pilates, Sports Physio