How are we meant to breathe?
Our diaphragm and pelvic floor move together with our breathing.
As we inhale, the diaphragm moves down, the ribs expand, stomach relaxes and pelvic floor relaxes.
As we exhale, the diaphragm lifts up, the stomach stiffens and the pelvic floor lifts.
This is how it's meant to work. The pressure and stiffening created with breathing out help to protect our spine.
Breathing properly can also calm your mind, reduces stress and promotes healing and tissue repair by increasing oxygen - mega important in the postnatal period!
so are you doing it right?
Place your hands around your ribs so that you can feel the back, sides and the front of them.
Take a deep breath in, where does the air go?
When you breathe in, you should feel your ribs expand all the way around. Your stomach and pelvic floor should relax.
When you breathe out, the diaphragm should lift up, stomach and back should stiffen and pelvic floor should lift.
This is something you may have to work on to retrain your body to do it the right way. If this isn't how you are breathing, it could be affecting your pelvic floor!
Breathing demo videos
I wanted to show you how the ribs expand all the way round, front back and sides.
My face might look funny because i'm lifting my pelvic floor as I exhale (it makes my eyes go weird, haha) - for more on lifting your pelvic floor with the breathing and advancing on from your Kegals for a stronger pelvic floor, head over to our blog post here.
why do i need to practice this?
When you are breathing correctly, your body can learn to manage load.
This means that when we challenge the body, not just in fitness classes but in everyday life, with tasks like lifting baby in a heavy car seat, passing a folded buggy overhead or lifting a heavy box, your core can manage with it without passing the pressure onto a diastasis or weakened pelvic floor. These conditions may be present from pregnancy and birth. When this is not managed and then we add load (baby, car seat, weight) hernias and prolapse can happen.
So you absolutely need to retrain your body to do the basics again, before you start progressing your exercise.
When load is not managed, we may see conditions like these:
Sacroiliac Joint Pain
why can this happen after having a baby?
After pregnancy and having your little one, your abdominal wall is stretched and a diastasis may be present. This means the connective tissue down the middle of your abs may not be functioning as it should.
For a c-section birth, the abdominal wall and deep layers have been cut through and there’s trauma to the uterus.
During birth, there is a lot of pressure down during the pushing phase which can be very traumatic. If instruments have been used to assist birth, this is even more trauma.
This huge trauma to your body impacts the core function, you need time to heal and retrain to avoid any of the conditions mentioned above, e.g. incontinence, hernia's, back pain etc.
Can I get back to the exercises I used to do?
Absolutely! Just give yourself time to heal and start with the basics, you will grow so much stronger by not rushing into high impact exercises or really heavy weights straight away.
I absolutely love helping women progress with their fitness, everyone starts with the basics, breathing and pelvic floor coaching is included in our postnatal assessment and incorporated into the classes for core control with our exercises. Over time if my ladies want to push onto harder workouts, then that's where I help them.
Another thing to do is focus on repairing your body with healing foods, check out our blog post for recipes: nutrition for a healthy fat-loss. Ditch the scales and the diet clubs!
So if like me you are a lover of burpees, pushups and planks, I can help you get there safely.
Book a FREE Move with Mumma session to come and give it a go:
Nurture Fitness (mums and babies up to 8 months - includes Baby Massage)
Mumma Fitness (45-minute indoor postnatal workout - no childcare needed)
Buggy Fitness (50-minute outdoor workout, babies in buggies)
Our health packages include:
Healing Nutrition Manual & over 60 healthy eating recipes.
Postnatal Assessment - check posture, diastasis check, pelvic floor coaching, breathing coaching.
Private Facebook Group.
If you have any questions please contact Manda.
If you think you are experiencing a prolapse or hernia then consult your GP straight away!
It is NOT necessary to live with leaks when you jump, laugh, sneeze or run! If this is something you need help with then please get in touch.
A physio referral can be made by your GP if you are suffering with SI Joint Pain or SPD, exercise can help once you have consulted a physio. Again this is not something that you just have to live with after childbirth.