One of the most amazing experiences I have ever had, was the pleasure of experiencing childbirth. Mind you it wasn’t easy getting there!!
Endometriosis, polycystic ovaries, IVF, natural conception, I’ve had it all lol… but I will keep those stories/topics for another day.
Pregnancy is quite a journey with this little life growing inside of you. Prior to becoming pregnant, I had thought I was in pretty good physical shape. I was slim, working full time, ate and drank in moderation. To be honest I hardly exercised and thought my commuting back and forth to the office was probably good enough lol!!
During my first pregnancy, I didn’t really notice many changes to my body and I gained the average amount of weight, all seemed well. After my third baby and third C-section I noticed every time I sat up from lying down, a gap would appear in the middle of my belly and protrude outwards (exactly like the pictures shown above). I discussed this with my mid-wife who explained it was my belly muscles parting due to my growing bump. The medical term is called Diastasis. Apparently it’s very common in pregnant women. About two-thirds of women get it during pregnancy. It didn’t cause me pain but it just looked really weird 🤣
After my third and last baby, I realised my stomach muscles had widened and my inner strength (core) was gone. I could actually put my fingers through the gap in my stomach and that was when I realised my body had really changed and I had no core middle strength.
Hindsight and knowledge are a wonderful thing, if only I knew then what I know now it would have saved me a lot of time in the gym. It’s never too late and I’m proof of that.
The best time to begin core strengthening is before you get pregnant. If you have already had a child and are planning for another one, try to strengthen those core stomach muscles before your next pregnancy otherwise it will only become worse.
When the connective stomach tissues have healed, some pilates or similar exercises may help you strengthen your transverse (deep core) belly muscles instead of the outer ones. Not all pilates or strengthening moves are advised during pregnancy, so make sure you’re working with a trainer who has knowledge of “diastasis”. I have been doing Pilates for five years now and my inner core is the best it has ever been. Combined with my other exercises, I would have to say that I feel stronger and fitter now than when I was in my twenties.
It goes to show that age is a mind-set!
Final Note: Before starting any exercises during or after pregnancy, be sure to ask your doctor what’s OK for you and what’s off-limits for now.
If you have any similar stories or would like to share your experiences/tips I would love to hear from you in the comments below.