Although getting pregnant is probably one of the most natural acts of the human race, welcoming a baby into this world requires preparation. We all know that pregnant women should take prenatal vitamins, eat well and get plenty of rest, but not many are aware of the importance of the core. Here is why strengthening your core matters, and how to do it.
What does core mean?
The term core refers to deep abdominal muscles which act like a corset around the middle of your body, and the small muscles in your back. Strengthening your core means to strengthen the muscle mass that supports and stabilizes your spine. The pelvic muscle is also considered a part of your core. If your pelvic muscle is strong, you will less likely have continence problems after delivery.
Why do you need to strengthen your core?
If you have a strong core, you are going to have less back pain, an easier labor time, and a quick recovery. Research has suggested a link between overall fitness and a shortened delivery time. Many people believe strong abdominals increase your chance of conception and decrease the risk of miscarriage. There is not any scientific evidence to support this claim, though.
How can you strengthen your core?
Now that you understand all the benefits a strong core brings about, here are an easy exercise to get it:
- Lying on your back with your feet lay flat on the floor, hip-width apart. Put your hands along sides your body, your palms facing down, slightly pressing against the floor.
- Take a deep breath, then exhale while keeping your hips still. Float your right leg up until you reach a 90-degree angle, inhale. Exhale slowly as you raise your left leg up to meet your one. You should be looking as if you are sitting on a chair.
- Slowly lower your right leg while you inhale, but still keep your abdominal muscles draw in. When your leg reaches the ground, exhale. Do the same with your left leg.
- Repeat this exercise twice, alternating legs.
If you have always been living a sedentary lifestyle, you may find this exercise difficult at first. Do not worry. It will get easier with time. Remember to focus on two most important groups of muscle: your pelvic floor muscles and your abdominal muscles, also known as your deep core muscles, the ones that will support you throughout your pregnancy.
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