Today, I want to chat about diaphragmatic breathing during pregnancy and Core Activation. OK, before you go searching google for the exact definition of 'diaphragmatic' I will explain more in detail below so stay with me.
What is Diaphragmatic Breathing During Pregnancy
When you are breathing normally; your breathing is relatively shallow and does not use the full capacity of the lungs. On the other hand, diaphragmatic breathing is a deep breathing exercise that fully engages the diaphragm and increases the efficiency of the lungs.
Want to Know How to Correctly Activate Your Core in Pregnancy?
In this video, I talk you through exactly how to connect your core, including your pelvic floor and deep abdominals whilst using your diaphragmatic breath to assist you. As you breathe in, naturally everything expands. As you exhale there is then more space to 'engage' your pelvic floor and deep abdominals.
Video 1: Watch My Video on Core Activation during Pregnancy
So as I cue you, take a deep breath in and then as you exhale think about first lifting your pelvic floor and then wrap your abdominals like you are gently tightening a corset around your torso. These technique is one part of our PregActive Foundations. Once you master this, it will help you with every exercise when pregnant and postpartum recovery.
Often I find women overcomplicate this and end up holding their breath. Rather than thinking that there is a 'right' and 'wrong' way to do this, try your best not to over think it. Remember it all stems from your breathing, so if you haven't already, make sure you watch our video on Diaphragmatic Breathing.
Core holds are a technique used when there is an increase in the intra-abdominal pressure in an exercise such as a double leg table top position. These holds are not done as much in pregnancy, or if they are these are not long holds.
The Core Hold is particularly useful postpartum with recovering diastasis recti and restrengthening the core post-birth.
Video 2: Diaphragmatic Breathing Video
Diaphragmatic breathing in pregnancy helps to calm the mind and body and helps you to tune inwards and connect with your growing baby.
In this video I show you how to breathe diaphragmatically and the importance of this technique not only in your pregnancy, but in labour and birth and of course in that postpartum healing time too.
Watch My Video on Belly Breathing during Pregnancy
This also means that we, without realising, are in a fight-or-flight mode. The sympathetic nervous system keeps us alert, which is helpful in times of danger. But in pregnancy, it is so important to stimulate the parasympathetic nervous system to help feel calm, at ease and safe.
Creating this safe space for you and baby is so important, not only for your peace of mind, but for the health of your growing baby. You don’t want your body to be filled with stress hormones. You want a more relaxed environment for your baby.
This is the basis of every exercise and so important for you to get a better understanding of.
We also then move into to talk about the Core Activation and how to use the diaphragmatic breathing when activating the core muscles.
What About Diaphragmatic Breathing Postpartum as a New Mama?
While this video and post is dedicated to pregnant women; I want you to know that it is important to continue with diaphragmatic breathing after birth. When you learn to correctly breath you are laying and creating a strong foundation for healing and restrengthening your inner core postpartum.
This diaphragmatic breathing postpartum helps start the healing process by simultaneously rehabbing both your pelvic floor and deep core.