Can strong abs reduce stretch marks during pregnancy?

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!

Beth Learn

Hi there! I'm the founder and CEO of Fit2B Studio, LLC here at fit2b.com where you are hanging out right now! As you may {or may not} know, we provide home fitness routines and resources for those who wish to get all-over strong starting with their cores! We are your warm up for life, and our mission is "Changing lives one tummy at a time." Why? So you can look better in a swimsuit? Well, that's a lovely side-effect of our workouts, but my heart is to help you be a stronger contributor to your family, community, and world! I believe your core matters because it’s at the middle of you, and you are in the middle of your home which is where your ability to make a difference in this world starts! If your middle is muddled, then everything you’re in the middle of - motherhood, ministry, making dinner (yes I love alliterations) - will be muddled by your middle’s muddling. Say that five times fast. Ha! Anyway, yeah, I live on a little farm in the Pacific Northwest with my husband and two children, 14 chickens, 3 goats, 4 cats, 2 horses, 1 Digory Dog and a Chihuahua named Charlie who is NOT allowed inside for very good reasons. My hobbies include reading very long historical fiction novels, natural homesteading, fermenting foods, race walking, crocheting rag rugs out of t-shirt yarn, a little bit of piano, and OF COURSE lifting heavy things and playing with exercise props! Join me here at Fit2B and find a new perspective on working out that will create lasting changes in your body and mind!

7 thoughts on “Can strong abs reduce stretch marks during pregnancy?

  1. BeckyJesse says:

    very interesting! I have only gotten a few stretch marks with this one (as in 2-3) and I think its because of 2 reasons :1, I am carrying differently and 2) I have been more aware of holding my TA in while walking or reaching for things or doing the dishes. It helps aLOT.

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  3. Tiffany Dalrymple says:

    I used this dermelastic serum through my entire pregnancy on my stomach and did not get one stretch mark there. However, I wish I would have used it on my boobs and butt, because I did get stretch marks there when I was pregnant. I am going to buy this again when I have another child.

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