Moms often turn to oils and lotions to reduce stretch marks during pregnancy, but I am starting to wonder if preventing these scars is not only related to skin hydration and genetics but also to the tone of the muscles underneath the skin. The stronger your core is, the more pressure will be taken off your skin. I’m not talking about a six pack. Many women have strong six-packs but very weak CORE muscles and abdominal wall integrity. I’m talking more about the “corset” or “seatbelt” muscle, the one that pulls your belly button IN when you breathe OUT. That muscle is called your Transverse Abdominus or TA.
Your TA is your deepest most supportive abdominal muscle. It supports the uterus during pregnancy and pushing, and it helps take pressure off the pubococcygeus (PC) muscle. It is a researched, proven fact that if your TA is weak, and your six-pack has already been abused by overworking, your diastasis (split in six-pack abs) will be larger and harder to get rid of after the baby, giving you a tummy pooch that actually worsens with crunches and planks. This is why I avoid certain pilates and yoga moves that overwork the core before or during pregnancy, setting your core up to separate MORE.
This is just me wondering “out loud,” but in my head it makes sense that if your TA is weak and deflated, allowing more outward pressure against the rectus abdominus (six pack) causing a larger split, then your skin will also get more stretched out as well. However, while I have read a LOT of research about how weak TA’s lead to wider diastasis and bigger pooches, I confess I haven’t seen any concrete research about a correlaton between stretch marks and strong abs. But I do know how binding your belly can provide amazing support during and after pregancy, and belly binding is a method of assisting the TA muscle in doing its job while it’s stretched out and while it’s healing after the birth.
I have one 36 week mama at Fit2B Studio who claims that our “Totally Transverse” workout that you get when you sign up for our newsletter made her belly muscles feel so much better and less stretched out. I never got stretch marks through my two pregnancies, and my abs were quite strong, but my TA was WEAK so I’m actually kind of contradicting myself here. My main – very unresearched theory – is that I think it’s a combo of the strong core and genes. However, my sisters didn’t get stretch marks either, and one only does zumba and pushups and the other one only walks and avoids all core work. So… What are your thoughts? Scroll down to leave a reply!