I'm a chocolate-loving nutritionist, pre & postnatal coach, doula and let's face it- total birth nerd 🤓. I'm here to help you cut through mommy-marketing and pinterest perfection to confidently cultivate a pregnancy and postpartum experience you totally love.
No matter where you are in your motherhood adventure core strength is so important! A functioning core can reduce pelvic floor dysfunction, back pain, and even upper back tension, making parenting just a bit easier. We are ALL about finding ease at LWW, so we put together a simple and effective yoga sequence for core strength!
One of the biggest struggles of building core strength in pregnancy and postpartum is fear around diastasis recti, or DR for short. Friends, DR is unavoidable in pregnancy: this gap happens naturally while the body shifts to accommodate pregnancy. It is seen predominately later in pregnancy when baby is nearly fully grown and lingers through early postpartum. DR is common in postpartum women and is defined by an exaggerated gap between the rectus abdominis muscle.
Experiencing DR is not something to be overly concerned with right away. Unresolved long-term DR can make it difficult to properly engage the core, causing low back pain and pelvic floor dysfunction! Don’t stress the gap though, the most important thing is functionality of the core.
When thinking about core work you might think about doing moves like crunches, Russian twists or hanging leg raises. These movements are not the ideal way to build core strength during pregnancy or postpartum because of the type of strain they put on the core. Instead, build core strength by practicing deep connection breaths and functional core movements like those used in the yoga sequence below.
to Build Core Strength
This core-specific flow can be done on its own or used as a warm-up before an exercise class/strength training.
Connection Breath. Start by lying on your back with the soles of your feet on the floor and knees bent. Place both of your hands on your belly and start to breath into your hands feeling your stomach expand. Take at least 5 deep breaths here.
Hip Bridges. Place your hands to either side of your body and on your next exhale press your heels into the floor to bring your glutes up slightly, maybe just 2-3 inches off the floor. Inhale to bring the hips back down. Move through this 3-5 times raising your hips a little higher each time.
Toe Taps. Once you’ve completed all your hip bridges, bring your legs up so that your calves are parallel to the floor with knees over your hips. Maintaining deep core engagement, slowly bring your right foot down to the ground and let your toe gently touch the mat. On your inhale bring it back up to the start position and repeat on the left side. Move through these toe taps 3-5 times on each leg going as slowly as you need so to keep that IAP.
Child’s Pose. Roll yourself over to the right side and come into child’s pose with knees wide to open your hips and sink your chest down. Hang here for 5-10 breaths for a mini rest.
Table Top. Come onto all fours with shoulders stacked directly over your wrists, hips over knees, and long neutral spine. Focus on deep core stabilizing breaths.
Bear Plank. Tuck your toes and bring your knees 3-5 inches off the mat. Keep the core engaged here and a neutral spine. Take 3 breaths. On the inhale bring your knees back down to the mat. Go through your “hover” 3-5 times.