3 Main Reasons Why You Shouldn’t Do Crunches Postpartum

ab separation newmom newmomfitness postpartumabs postpartumcoreexercise postpartumfitness postpartumrecovery postpartumtips Jul 01, 2021

New moms + moms to be, did you know you should avoid doing crunches after having your baby????


When you were newly postpartum (or if you are) you have hopefully been told to avoid anything with flexion (anything where your core folds over itself) for up to six months postpartum....


....When I first heard this I was pissed. I had just spent a long time trying  to get pregnant and then another 9 months being pregnant - I was ready to get back to my workouts! 


The truth is there is a ton you can still do - and most of which will probably get your core stronger and more toned than all the 90’s style sit ups you have done historically ever would. It may also help to know WHY you want to avoid sit-ups so much. So I’m telling ya ;)


The postpartum fitness space can be murky (just like the pregnant fitness space) of what is safe and what isn't. This is because there just is not enough research in this area and people are hesitant to do lots of tests on this population and it’s really an area that needs more attention.  Additionally, as with most types of fitness rules, there is no one size fits all answer typically. 


So here are 3 main reasons why you want to avoid crunches postpartum


  1. Because after having a baby, you have the hormone relaxin going through your system. There is a lot of healing going on all over your body, even if you can't see or feel it. Relaxin is the hormone that helps put you back together. If you go too hard, too soon with crunches, planks, and jumping and you can damage your bladder / cause strain on your core, and disrupt the relaxin healing you. 


  1. Even if you didn't get ab separation during pregnancy, you can still cause it to happen postpartum in the first... YEAR. That year feels like 4 when the exhaustion of a newborn mixes with the desire to get back in the saddle asap!  You can cause ab separation because your rectus abdominis muscles (6 pack muscles) are connected by linea alba. The Lina alba (Think the black line down your stomach some women get after pregnancy) can still get pulled apart during crunches. So let's plan avoid ab separation by avoiding crunches. 


  1. You can do a million churches and see no results because some of your deep core muscles have been stretched during pregnancy (or cut through in the case of a c-section) it's really hard to properly engage them. You need to retrain them in order to get them to work again. To do that, you need to start with more targeted exercises to rebuild those connections and learn how to engage them first!


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