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A stronger transverse abdominis, which helps prevent diastasis recti.

This is a big one, which is why it is first!  One of the major misconceptions out there is that women should not work their abdominals during pregnancy. Of course they should! It’s just a matter of “how” they are working their abdominals.  Women should focus in on the Transverse Abdominis during pregnancy and not on the Rectus or what people see as the six pack muscles. This means forgoing any ab work involving lifting or holding the torso up against gravity, which would include any of the series of 5, roll ups, or ½ rollbacks or C curve exercises. Instead women should opt for isometric abdominal contractions of the Tranverse, which is like lacing up an internal corset.  Strengthening the Transverse will help combat an exaggerated Diastisis Recti, which is something that every mom-to-be should be aware of.  As the abdominals stretch, a small separation will occur between the 2 sides of the Rectus, which are the most superficial layer of the abdominal wall.  This is a natural protection response preventing Rectus from having to stretch too far, but if not handled with care, this separation can become over exaggerated and even sometimes not return to its natural state after delivery.  This is the number one reason to maintain a strong connection to the deep abdominal muscles, whose job is to keep everything together, even in the stretched state of pregnancy.

**If you are not sure if you have an exaggerated Diastisis, ask your doctor or Pilates instructor to palpate your belly and check**

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