In this upcoming series of Active Mum, Healthy Baby, we will be going through a progression of exercises that can be worked on in each stage of pregnancy for a enjoyable 9 months & beyond!
This 1st week, we are going to kick off with the all time favourite of Pelvic Floor & Transverse Abdominal Activation.
(Note: All other exercises of this entire series, except for this exercise, are progressive and specific to each stage of pregnancy. Working on exercises from different stage may constitute a risk that might be unsafe for mum and baby. Beware!)
Why Pelvic Floor (PF) & Transverse Abdominal (TA)?
PF/ TA Activation, as the most basic Pilates exercise, is a progression from the most commonly used Kegelexercise. More often than not the importance of TA activation is forgotten- but not here! Including how the TA is the deepest layer of your abdominal, how it is our natural corset that prevents Diastasis Recti in post natal woman, and how it activating it actually co-activates the Multifidus to help prevent lower back pain.Before going into the exercise, it is good to note that the PF is linked to the Diaphragm (our primary breathing muscle) through the Central Tendon, thus breathing matters!
Pelvic Floor & Transverse Abdominal Activation
Start: Supine with slight curvature in the lower back, knees bent and hands on the side of the ribs.
Inhale: Feel the ribcage expand east and west while maintaining lower back curvature.
Exhale: Gently squeeze the bottom while visualizing the lifting of pelvic floor towards the chest before gently bringing the belly button in towards the spine to help empty lungs; all the time maintaining lower back curvature.
Inhale: Expand ribcage east and west.
Exhale: Repeat it for the next 1-5 minutes
In feeling PF contraction, either: 1. Visualize stepping into an ice cold pool of water. The 1st muscle to contract in the bottom is the PF!
2. Put a finger on the perineal body and feel the contraction as you contract the bottom in the start position.
As for the TA activation, visualize a corset around of the waist being tightened as you exhale and there you go!
As we progress to full awareness of PF & TA, progress from supine position to seated then to upright position. Now in upright position, we can practice it anytime and anywhere.
For an enjoyable 9 months and beyond!
We’ll see you next time with the second installment of abs exercise. Oh, I love that abs!