The ABC's of Postpartum
The "ABCs" of diastasis are
A is for alignment
B is for proper breathing
C is for core
There is much concern about the “pulling in” forces with exercises, but what about the “pulling out” forces? Our body is connected by fascia, or cotton-candy like networks. When you lift your arm overhead, there IS a pulling in your mid-section because of the fascial connections. When you walk, one leg is drawn back. Tightness in that hip causes pulling at your belly button. In our modern society (ahem, this applies to me, too!) we sit too much! We are not walking 5 miles a day or squatting to pee / poo. As a result, we have lost alignment mobility! Tight shoulders, hips and mid-back joints and muscles, a stiff and wide postpartum ribcage – all of these create a pulling out force that the abdominals may not be strong enough to counteract in the pregnancy and postpartum period.
In order to compensate for the stiffness in the mid back and ribs, we often see womxn "rib thrust," which creates even more pressure going out the front belly. Manual therapy can be incredibly useful for healing diastasis: we work to restore the ribcage position, unstick any fascial stiffness, gently restore your organ position and release tension in the shoulders and hip sthat create those "pulling out" forces.
Proper alignment, from the feet to the head, allows the forces to be spread throughout the body (rather than forced all to the front abdominal wall).
Breathing is the next foundational element of helaing diastasis. In pregnancy and after birth, birthing people have looseness in the abdominal wall and tightness in the back. Their breathing muscle - the diaphragm – is short and stiff from creating space for the baby. We use breathing exercises in specific positions to creaste more space and movement in the back and diaphragm for a more balanced breath.
This is what most people are familiar with when it comes to healing diastasis. Core is important, but it is the 3rd element because without the foundations of Alignment and Breathing, Core work will not truly heal your diastasis.
The most commonly accepted exercises to do for diastasis are transverse abdominis exercises, pelvic floor exercises, the “Noble” exercise and the “Tupler” technique. The “Noble” exercise encourages approximating the rectus abdominis muscles using your hands or a sheet to draw them together prior to a sit up. The “Tupler” exercises encourages drawing in + curling up while wearing a binder. Unfortunately, depending on which literature study you read, there are varying results and no clear consensus. Some studies advocate performing a transverse abdominis contraction prior to a curl up, while others showed a larger separation of our linea alba, the line in the center of our abdominals, when a pre-contraction was performed. Say, what?! Ok, now this is getting confusing! Relationship status: it's complicated.
We use the latest research to strengthen the core from the inside out. This creates balance and strength in the abdominal wall.
Alignment, Breathing, Core
Alignment is essential because if you are stiff in your midback, hips and ribcage, you have to rib thrust to look forward!! Core recovery starts with creating space where you need it
Breathing is the next foundational element
Then, comes Core!
Once postpartum, always postpartum.
Empowering yourself with a roadmap; you know your body best.
So many moms struggle with leaking, prolapse, diastasis and back pain after birth, but I believe just because you had a baby does not mean you have to live with issues!
As a women’s health physical therapist and as a mom of 3, I see time and time again that new [m]others feel afraid, confused and overwhelmed with where to start after baby. This course is designed to help give you a roadmap using the ABC's – first working on alignment, then breathing and finally, core.