After giving birth you may find that you still have a squishy tummy that makes you look 6 months pregnant! Don’t worry, this is perfectly normal! Imagine that your tummy is like a balloon that slowly inflated as your baby grew during pregnancy. For most women, it takes time after the birth for the tummy to gently deflate – birth doesn’t pop the balloon!
There are specific exercises that can help you regain the strength of the abdominal wall. The fitness goals you may have had before becoming pregnant may just wait a little bit longer, until the foundation of core strength and stability has progressed to something close to your pre pregnancy state, or even better! Forget where you once were in terms of health and fitness, and keep your focus on what you WANT to achieve. If the abdominal separation (Diastasis Recti) has occurred, you must tighten that gap separating the abdominals, before progressing to harder intensities of training.
During the Postnatal Fitness Classes at the Wellbeing Centre you will be guided how to check your abdominal separation and how to exercise in a way suitable for you. You are as individual as your baby, and that is why it is our pleasure to have a personal trainer running our postnatal courses. The best part of the course is that you can bring your baby with you, for socialising and bonding. It saves babysitting fees too!
On the course you also have the opportunity to ask advice from a certified personal trainer Henna Hibberd, who specialises in both weight loss and post natal fitness.
We had a few questions for Henna about the course:
Q: Why does the abdominal separation occur?
Henna says:‘’Some of the factors that cause abdominal separation are lack of exercise during or before pregnancy, or when a mother has given birth ‘’too’’ close together or have had twins. On our last course we had a mum with twins, and it kept me busy as well! When you think about it, tummy does ‘’balloon’’ quite a bit in pregnancy and separation of abdominals make it possible‘’
Q: What exercises should mums do and not do, to overcome it?
Henna says: ‘’Many news mums make the mistake of doing abdominal crunches. When the abdominal wall has separated, this can cause extra pressure and can do more harm than good. There are plenty of alternative exercises for abdominals and these exercises improve your core strength in a safe and progressive manner. On the course we go through the safe and beneficial exercises and perform full body movements helping to shift the extra pounds and tone the body up. ‘’
Q: How does it work having lot’s of babies in the course?
Henna says: ‘’I have a small group size of up to 8 mums in one class. That enables me to be person specific and give individual advice. We exercise with the babies. Many women pick up a 5kg kettlebell or dumbbell and say ‘’oh that’s heavy’’, yet their babies may weigh more and mums keep them in their arms for a long period of time. This may cause back pain which is yet another reason why it is important for the mums to know the safe exercises relieving the back, shoulder and neck pains. In fact if the abdominal separation has been untreated it can lead to chronic back pain. Having the babies in the course is a fun way of interacting with other mums and babies, without the need of a babysitter!‘’