How to Restore Your Core Postpartum | By Lara Catone

As a yoga teacher and doula, I have discovered that healing the core postpartum does not require hundreds of kegels and crunches. In my experience, the body does much better when slowly building on a solid foundation. This begins with relearning your body after the changes of pregnancy and childbirth.

Your core consists of your diaphragm, the muscles of the abdomen and low back, and the pelvic floor (the hammock of muscles at the base of your pelvis that stretch from your pubic bone to your tailbone).

Here are step by step instructions on how to feel these muscles and begin to bring them on board in all of your daily movements.

  • Breath Awareness - The first step in regaining integrity in the core postpartum is to simply reconnect to it with your breath. These are the very first exercises you can begin right after having your baby. There are two types of breathing to practice.

Pelvic Breathing - Gently inhale into the bowl of your pelvis. Notice the bones of the pelvis and the muscles in between. See if you can feel a slight expansion as you inhale and a relaxation on the exhale. There is no need to add any squeezing or tightening, just sense the muscles.

Belly Breathing - Gently inhale into the low belly. As you breathe in, let the belly soften and expand. As you exhale, allow the belly to relax back to its resting state. Note: Many people are used to sucking their bellies in when they inhale and pushing them out when they exhale. It may take a bit of practice to learn to reverse this way of breathing. You can think of softly blowing air into your belly, like blowing up a balloon on the inhale and the air leaving on the exhale.

  • Find Transversus Abdominis - Your transversus abdominis (TA) is your own inner belly band. It is the deepest abdominal muscle and wraps from the low back around to the front of your midsection. It is a large muscle that runs the length from your low ribs to your hip bones. The TA supports all of your abdominal organs and your posture.