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  • Writer's pictureThrive Mama

Pregnancy Myths

There are so many myths out there about pregnancy, postpartum recovery, and menopause. Some of these can get in the way of mamas staying safe and healthy during their pregnancy and recovering postpartum.

Myth: It’s impossible to lose the “mommy tummy”.

The truth is…

Pregnancy and delivery can cause a lot of strain on the abdomen and can have lingering effects on core muscle tone and coordination. This can lead to the “mommy tummy”.

Sometime the way we carry ourselves makes our midsections appear larger. Take a look at your posture and the alignment of your abs, back and pelvic floor. Use the following checklist:

  • Front of your hip bones on the same plane as your pubic bone

  • Pelvic floor parallel to the floor

  • Top of head parallel to diaphragm and pelvic floor

  • Shoulders in line with ears

These simple adjustment might make a big difference to how you appear.

Improving your alignment and retraining your core muscles to be stronger and work together can eliminate pressure on the abdomen and reduce pooching of the belly. You may be surprised by how much change is possible.


Myth: There is a point after which bodies don't recover from pregnancy and delivery.

The truth is…

Whether you just had a baby, or your "baby" has children of his/her own, it is never too late to care for your body and mind. Many women only start to think about their core and pelvic health later in life when symptoms, such as incontinence are more obvious. Human bodies are dynamic and we are capable of reversing many of the physical and emotional changes that take place during pregnancy and delivery. Practicing intentional exercises will retrain your brain, your muscles and your nerves at any time after a baby is born.


Myth: Returning to your pre-pregnancy workout and exercising intensely soon after having the baby is the best way to lose weight.

The truth is…

Exercise and movement are generally great for the body, but the physical changes that come with pregnancy and delivery take time to heal. The best way to lose weight is not always the fastest. It is important to develop a stable physical foundation before adding intensity and impact to exercise to prevent immediate injury and risk of future injury. Patiently and intentionally retraining core muscle strength and coordination before training with weights and adding forceful activity will reduce the risk of common postpartum challenges. It can be difficult to slow things down when the goal is just to fit into pre-pregnancy clothes as quickly as possible, but ask yourself if it is worth doing to avoid or minimize low back and pelvic pain, incontinence, diastasis recti, and pelvic organ prolapse.


Myth: Incontinence is normal after pregnancy.

The truth is…

Incontinence is common, but not an automatic side-effect of pregnancy or age.

In fact, in the rush to “feel normal” and “get their bodies back” after pregnancy, women might push themselves to exercise intensely without first developing the proper strength and synergy between core muscles. Bladders are made of muscle and are controlled by our nervous system and our core muscles. The physical and emotional changes that take place during pregnancy and delivery and life in general can affect this control system. Sometimes, the effects of this stress on the body aren’t obvious until later years when we notice incontinence.

It’s never too late to start improving the tone and balance of your core and pelvic muscles regardless of whether they are tense, weak, or out of sync, or some combination of these. Start by learning about your pelvic floor muscles and identifying which muscles need to contract and relax. You might have heard about kegel exercises as a way to improve pelvic strength, but should be used with caution. It’s helpful to check in with a therapist who understands the pelvic floor because kegel exercises can be counterproductive if your pelvic floor is too tense to begin with.


Myth: Pregnant women automatically return to their pre-pregnancy selves after having the baby.

The truth is...

Social media often shows women as automatically knowing how to be the ideal mother, recovering immediately and quickly returning to their pre-pregnancy selves. It's no wonder if you feel inadequate unless you are breastfeeding your newborn while running on a treadmill with 6 pack abs!

The truth is…

Pregnancy and motherhood may be joyful and challenging, but it takes work and patience to navigate through the physical and emotional changes that take place and to get back to “feeling like yourself again”. It may feel like an emotional rollercoaster at times and it may feel like your body is not doing what you want it to, but it will get better. Be kind to yourself.

For many women it takes months for hormones to settle, but every woman is unique so, of course, it might be different for you and that’s okay. Set realistic goals for yourself and take a small step toward it every day. You will get there!


Myth: Pregnant women should not exercise.

The truth is…

Unless you’ve been told not to exercise for medical reasons, pregnancy is a great time to stay active and prepare your body for labour and motherhood. However, it is important to understand and be aware of your positioning and the impact of your movement on your core system because exercises that are safe for your baby are not always best for your body in the long run. For example, exercises that crunch or let your belly hang place a lot of tension through the midline that can weaken your core muscles in the long run. Go exercise - but exercise safely!


Myth: Women who have C-section deliveries don’t have the same problems as women who have vaginal deliveries.

The truth is…

Physical and emotional changes take place during pregnancy and delivery regardless of how a baby is born. Physically, both c-sections and vaginal deliveries may lead to low back and pelvic pain, incontinence, separation of the abdominal wall muscles, and pelvic organ prolapse. In fact, C-sections could increase recovery time for women because of the trauma to the abdominal wall. I know this sounds scary, but please know that there are so many options available to improve your health and quality of life. Remember that you are resilient and have the ability to choose the direction of your life.


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