Getting Birth Fit
When you're pregnant, the payoffs for developing strong abdominal and pelvic-floor muscles are plentiful. “These muscles are a pregnant women's best friend,” says Julie Tupler, R.N., creator of Diastasis Rehab in New York City and author of Maternal Fitness: Preparing for a Healthy Pregnancy, an Easier Labor, and a Quick Recovery. “If your abs are weak, you won’t be able to push effectively,” she explains.
Having a strong pelvic floor can also assist during labor, as well as help prevent urinary incontinence later. This workout is based on the Tupler Technique, will also teach you how to work these muscles separately. The goal: During the pushing phase of labor, you ideally draw in the deep transversus abdominis, or transverse, muscle and relax the pelvic floor to let the baby out. Do these exercises in the order shown up to three times a day, performing 10 repetitions of each move and progressing to 20 reps when you feel strong enough.
Strengthen your abs and pelvic floor now for an easier delivery and a lower risk of incontinence later.
Sit with your legs crossed and lower back supported, hands on your belly. Keeping your back and shoulders still, slowly inhale through your nose as you expand your belly. As you exhale through your mouth, draw in your abdominals, bringing your navel toward your spine.
Benefits: Strengthens abdominals.
More tips on getting Birth Fit posted weekly.