Try an experiment.
Next time you lift up your child (or anything heavyish), stand up from sitting, roll over, or reach to get something off a high shelf, notice what you do with your breath.
In fact, do one of those things right now.
Pay attention and be honest. What do you actually do? Do you inhale, exhale or hold your breath?
Try it again, what did you do with your breath?
Inhale, exhale or hold?
Here is the thing, many of us hold our breath.
All the time.
Often, every time we go to do an activity that is slightly difficult.
Holding our breath to accomplish daily activities can increase pressure on your belly (abdomen), and your pelvic floor and set you up for all sorts of troubles with healing after pregnancy and childbirth. Issues like Diastasis Recti (mommy tummy) and pelvic floor issues like incontinence (surprise pee) and Pelvic organ prolapse (bladder, uterus or colon not supported well)
If you are an Olympic weightlifter or lifting a car off your child, breath holding can be a good strategy to increase your stability and gain strength. However, going up stairs, standing up from sitting and reaching for something on a high shelf are not demanding activities, and we should not have to hold our breath to perform them.
If you found you held your breath, then I've got good news for you! You can totally change this! You can start right now!
The way to ask your core for support is to continue breathing throughout any action. So, before you do a thing like standing up from sitting down, try this...
Breathe in and start to breath out. Start your movement in the middle of your exhale. That exhale cues your deep core system to support your belly, pelvic floor and back.
eg. you are sitting in a chair and are ready to stand up. Inhale, exhale and stand during your exhale. Continue breathing :)
Not all actions will be short. The basic idea is to use the exhale to cue your deep core to support you during an activity that is slightly challenging.
But some actions are long, like climbing stairs. You could slow way down and exhale every time you push to lift your body up to the next step. That is super impractical though. In situations like these, just keep breathing continuously.
Changing a habit like breath holding is not going to shift overnight but noticing if you do hold your breath is a crucial first step.
Consciously shifting that pattern to either continuous breathing for longer activities (stair climbing) or exhaling throughout the movement for shorter activities (lifting up your child) can make a huge difference to your pelvic floor and belly.
It may take awhile but your body will thank you!
Let me know what you found out about your breathing habits in the comments below.
If you want my support to help you change your breathing patterns pick a time to chat for free on the phone with me. We can explore what is happening for you right now and see if working together is a good fit. https://calendly.com/easeyourbody/clarity-call
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