I Just Had a Baby, How Do I Strengthen my Core?

Ben Emanuel II

Having a baby is a life-changing experience. Apart from carrying the baby in your womb for nine months, pregnancy will create changes in your anatomy. What exactly causes my back pain? That’s because you now have a weak core.

Having a baby is a life-changing experience. Apart from carrying the baby in your womb for nine months, pregnancy will create changes in your anatomy. Pregnancy allowed a baby to live inside you. And one of the most common problems that women encounter postpartum is experiencing back pain.

Lower back pain among women who just gave birth has been recognized for hundreds of years. According to one study, 50% of pregnant women will suffer back pain either during their pregnancy or after. In another study, 56.67% of women who had a cesarean section experienced post-partum back pain.

During pregnancy, you may blame it on the baby’s weight. However, after pregnancy, what exactly causes back pain? That’s because you now have a weak core.

More than just your abs

What exactly comprises your core? A common misconception about the core is that it’s only the six-pack abs usually see on athletes and models. The core is more than just your abs. It is your entire midsection including your back and your hips. And because of the anatomic changes experienced during pregnancy, you get problems in these areas.

That is why it is important to do more than just sit-ups to strengthen these areas. Here are safe core workouts that you can do to give you the core strength that you need not only for aesthetics but to restore overall functionality.

Core Exercises For Post-Partum Women

Pelvic Tilt and Pelvic Bridge Progression

One of the most important exercises to regain your core strength is to perform the pelvic tilt. This will range from a subtle movement that will eventually progress towards bridges depending on your ability.

To do a pelvic tilt, you will start in a supine position. You can use a yoga mat or even just your floor. With the floor supporting your spine, you are taking out the curve on your lower back. Next, you want to bend your knees and get your feet near your butt. For pelvic tilt, you will have to do tighten your abdominal muscles and bend the pelvis slightly. Hold each contraction for 10 seconds each rep. Do 10 reps for 4 sets of this exercise. Feel free to do less or do more depending on your situation.

Over time, this exercise will become boring. Now, you can progress towards doing bridges. Glute bridges can be done by lifting your butt off the floor. You can efficiently do this by keeping your feet closest to your butt as possible as you lift your butt up. You also want to contract your butt while it is up. You can also hold the position for 10 seconds while your butt is up.

If the exercise becomes too easy, you can also integrate the use of resistance bands. This can add a bit of resistance to your bridges adding strength to your hips. Do 10 bridges for 4 sets.

Regular Plank to Dolphin Plank Progression

Planking is not only a core exercise but also something that can help work your shoulders and arms. It is also known to improve your metabolism because it burns more calories than regular sit-ups.

For the core, it works on your transversus abdominis, rectus abdominous, oblique, and your glutes. And in effect, this can help you with posture. This can help you keep your spine straight especially when you have to carry your baby.

The first option for this set of workouts is to do a regular plank. Put your elbow on the floor to support your weight and have your legs extended with your feet supporting the weight at the back. This isn’t an easy exercise. You can progress from holding the position for 20 seconds for 3-4 sets to progressing to an entire 5 minutes once you get used to it.

If you want to progress on your planks, you can also use a stability ball and perform a dolphin plank. Instead of just putting your elbow on the floor, you place your elbow on top of a stability ball. This adds difficulty because you will have to constantly readjust to maintain your balance. Hold the position for 10-20 seconds for 3-4 sets. Once you become good at it, you can challenge yourself to try to hold the position for 1-2 minutes.

Squats to Lunge Progression

Squats can strengthen your core. But on top of that, you get to strengthen your legs as well. The erector spinae is the muscle that you get to work the most on your core when you start doing squats. Now, do you lift weights or do you do it with just your body weight?

As a rule of thumb, you want to build things from the ground up. You want to progress from squatting using your body weight to eventually have light dumbbells or kettlebells.

While you are at it, you also want to get rid of the muscle imbalance and do lunges. Both regular and reverse lunges are single-leg exercises that can help solve muscle imbalance.

For squats and lunges, do 5-8 reps for 3-5 sets. Don’t forget to have a minute or two of rest in between. Keep in mind that you just resumed doing exercise after your pregnancy. Be sure to prioritize your form and always check if you have a straight back and engaged core while you are at it.

Building your core after pregnancy can be challenging, especially if you don’t have an active lifestyle before. However, these are exercises that can help you strengthen your core and even get your core in better shape than before you had your baby.