Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Baby Watch Your Back

Being pregnant is something like an endurance race. For nine months your body is working hard to build and grow a new human being. It takes a lot of work to sustain that new life, but somehow our bodies figure out how to do it. In the process, however, the strain pregnancy can exact upon your body, especially your back and hips, not to mention your stomach muscles, can really take its toll. And, speaking from experience, I can tell you that the last thing a new mommy needs is an aching back.

When I mentioned previously that one of the best things you can do for yourself prior to becoming pregnant was to get in shape, I wasn't solely referring to body weight. I also meant that you need to focus on strengthening your core muscles. The core muscles, what we typically think of and call our abs, are the muscles that help support our backs, the place where you're going to be carrying much of that extra baby weight. Going into pregnancy with a strong and supported back can help reduce the prospect of lower back pain. Another benefit of having strong and toned core muscles prior to getting pregnant is that your pelvic floor muscles are also considered part of your core and when you work your abs, you can also strengthen the muscles connecting to your pelvic floor. This adds to your stability, helps strengthen the pelvic floor which can prevent incontinence, and can also help you bounce back more quickly following the birth of your child.

So, how do you strengthen your core? It's all in the abs, baby. One of the quickest and easiest things you can do, though, is to think about your body and start by contracting your abdominal muscles while you're reading, watching tv, surfing the Web, cooking dinner, or whatever you're doing. Just contract the abs, hold for 10-15 seconds, and release. It's important that you contract the abs as you are exhaling.

Start here and you'll be surprised how this simple exercise can make a big difference. As your core gets stronger, you will be able to feel the impact on your back.

1 comment:

Suz said...

Hi, I'm your resident Yoga Evangelist chiming in to say that yoga is fabulous for your core, and also helps manage moods. I've never been pregnant, but I'd guess that would be killing two birds with one stone! If you do power yoga, you're going to get some unbelievable arm definition too!