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 growing this little life 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, I gained the average amount of weight, everything seemed to go well. After my 3rdbaby and 3rdC-section I noticed every time I sat up from lying down, I would get a gap in the middle of my belly that would protrude outwards. I discussed this with my mid-wife who explained it was my belly muscles parting due to my growing bump, the medical term being Diastasis! Apparently it’s very common in pregnant women, about two thirds of women get it. It didn’t cause pain, it just looked really weird.
After the birth and months down the line, I realised my muscles had widened and my inner strength (core) was gone, I could actually put my fingers through the gap! It was then that I realised my body had really changed and I had no core strength.
Hindsight and knowledge are a wonderful thing and 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.
I now realised 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 muscles before your next pregnancy otherwise it will only get 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 5 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!
Exercising can be hard and can also push us out of our comfort zone. It is so much easier to just sit at home with our feet up, only you can make the change. There is no miracle cure or mystical diet to looking and feeling your best. Commitment, dedication and lifestyle are a must, but boy when you see those results and your shape changing, that will be your motivation.
If you have any similar stories or would like to share your experiences/tips I would love to hear from you.
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.