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Should I Strengthen the Pelvic Floor and Abdominals in Later Pregnancy?

Author: Carolyne Anthony

First of all, SHOULD we be strengthening these areas?

If you have a preexisting condition where pregnancy may contribute to an increase in your symptoms of weakness in your “core” then yes, strengthening may be what you need to do. But if you are a healthy low risk pregnant woman, your best bet is to work your body with “ease of movement”. This means low resistance and low intensity.

Why?

Because your body is trying to “open and release” in time for the birth. Working out hard contradicts the physiology of pregnancy. Strengthening the transversus abdominus until late in pregnancy can significantly change the optimal fetal position of the baby as well as creating a situation where the opening at the top of the pelvis is compromised and if too strong, will not allow for the pelvis to open and for the baby to engage.


What can I do?

Deep abdominal breathing is sufficient in the later stages of pregnancy to keep these muscles functional. Forced exhalation and over recruiting and over activating these muscles is not advised.

Kegels are a recommended pelvic floor exercise during pregnancy. While activating these muscles in an emergency (as in trying not to poo or pee) they do not constitute the pelvic floor as a whole. Once again isolating a muscle group can possibly lead to a dysfunction. Whole body movement will activate both the abdominals and pelvic floor in conjunction with all the other muscles in your body. Our unique third trimester exercise program will help you stay safe and prepare you for the birth.

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