Exercise after Childbirth-Proceed with Caution! Part 3

May 31, 2013 in Abdominals, Childbirth, Diastasis Recti, Exercise, Post Partum, Pregnancy

Exercise After Childbirth-Part 3

So we’ve discussed the issues of low back pain and pelvic organ prolapse in two previous posts.  There is one other issue you need to be aware of that doing the wrong kinds of exercises can keep from healing and that is diastasis recti.

Diastasis Recti

A diastasis recti is a separation of the rectus abdominus muscle, otherwise known as the six-pack muscle. The rectus abdmonius muscle runs from the sternum down to the pubic bone and has two muscle fibers separated by a connective tissue called the linea alba. During pregnancy, as the uterus expands the two muscle bellies separate and the linea alba gets stretched thin. It is very important to allow this connective tissue to heal so the muscle bellies can come back together. Any activity that causes the abdomen to move forward forcefully causes this connective tissue to stretch out thus preventing it from healing.

Also any twisting motion causes the rectus muscle bellies to separate making the diastasis larger. You need to avoid all twisting motions and any forward forceful movements so you can let your rectus muscle to come back together and heal. Sit ups or crunches, especially with twisting are the worst thing you could be doing right after having a baby as the transverse muscle is so weak it can’t keep the lower abdomen from jutting out.  Many moms are doing sit up wondering why they aren’t getting their bellies smaller.  Sit-ups are working the wrong muscle and doing more damage than good in the post partum period.  It’s the transverse muscle that needs to be strengthened.

I’ve written a another post on how to prevent diastasis recti in pregnancy and I also teach a class and offer a video on healing Diastasis Recti you can check out here.

What is the best way to strengthen the abdominal muscles?

Pulling your belly button all the way back toward your spine and holding it there, WITHOUT HOLDING YOUR BREATH, and then trying to do little pulses to take it back even farther.   When the muscle is weak you will notice movement with your pulses at end range of your abdominal contraction.   You want to get the muscle stronger to when you go to pulse there is actually no movement that occurs.   That will help shorten your lengthened abdominal muscles.  Start off just doing 10 pulses and work you way up to doing as many as you can at one time with 100 being your goal.  Doing this several times throughout the day will help you lose the pooch that so many women have after pregnancy.

 

Exercise after Childbirth-Proceed with Caution! Part 1

May 29, 2013 in Abdominals, Childbirth, Diastasis Recti, Exercise, Post Partum, Pregnancy

Exercise After Childbirth- Part 1

Most new moms are ready to shed those extra pounds and jump right back into their pre-pregnancy workouts right after giving birth. With all the changes that have happened to your body over the last 9 months doing what you did before getting pregnant might not be the smartest and safest thing for your body. Certain exercises can cause long-term problems for your body. Knowing what exercises are safe to do and which are harmful is very important after having your baby.

3 Issues you want to Avoid when Resuming Exercise After Delivery

There are 3 major issues you might encounter if you are not careful with exercising immediately after giving birth. You are at risk for low back strain, prolapsing of your pelvic organs (falling out of your vagina) and diastasis recti- a separation of your rectus abdominus muscle, known as the six-pack muscle.

Each issue is so important that we’ll talk about them in a separate post so you have clear understanding on how to avoid developing these problems that are no fun to experience.

Low Back Strain/Pain

Our core muscles in our body are made up of 3 muscles, the transverse abdominus, the pelvic floor and the multifidus muscles in the back. Two of these muscles have been completely stretched to the max from childbirth and pregnancy and are very weak, the tranverse abdominus muscle and your pelvic floor muscles. The transverse abdominus muscle runs from your spine in the back around to the front and attaches into the rectus abdominus or the six-pack muscle. It acts like a corset supporting your spine. Remember how stretched out this muscle was with your pregnant belly? If you don’t do any strengthening of this muscle and just let it be it will shrink back but may not be as short as it was prior to pregnancy, thus giving you a little pooch in your belly.

So your pregnancy loosened the corset around your back and pelvis and you don’t have the support you had prior to pregnancy.

Jumping right back into doing the same exercises as you did before pregnancy can cause a strain on your back as your abdominal  and pelvic floor muscles don’t have the strength to stabilize the spine like it did before.

So your first order of exercise should be to re-strengthen your transverse abdominus muscle and your pelvic floor muscles.  Performing a kegel, or pelvic floor contraction is important in the post partum period.  Normal strength of the pelvic floor muscles is the ability of the muscles to maintain a good contraction for 10 seconds.  Click here to learn more about restrengthening your pelvic floor after childbirth.

While this is a great idea and may be a little easier for a mom who had a c-section than a vaginal birth, trauma to the pelvic floor tissues can prevent any strengthening from happening.  Helping to heal the vaginal tissues that got so strained during the birth process can help improve your muscles ability to contract.   Click here to read more on how to do that.

Working on restrengthening your abdominal muscles is also a must after childbirth.  The abdominal muscles act as a corset to support our spine.  Without this support our spine is at increased risk for injury.   The abdominal muscles get extremely lengthened during pregnancy and sometimes can separate creating a diastasis recti.  If you have any separation, this alone can cause low back pain as the muscles are ineffective in supporting the spine.   You need to heal this first and part of healing a diastasis is restrengthening your abdominal muscles correctly.   Doing crunches will only make things worse!

In my class and video, How to Lose the Pooch for Good, I present a 4 step healing process to bring your abdominal muscles back together and also how to restrengthen your abdominal muscles safely to get rid of your “pooch” for good!

Also your pelvis has just gone through an amazing transformation getting your baby out and may have some challenges getting back to it’s normal position.  This can create low back pain as well.  Opening up to allow your baby out creates an instability that takes time to solidify again.  This usually takes around 3-4 months.  I recommend you wait until then to resume any high impact aerobic activities.  Focus in on just doing your abdominal restrengthening and your kegels and walking for the first 3 months.  Then once your core is stronger then you can introduce more high impact type of activities.

But with everything you do, you must listen to your body.  If it doesn’t feel right, don’t do it!  You only have one body, so you need to learn to take care of it, honor it and do what feels right.

What is your mother’s gift to you?

May 1, 2013 in Pregnancy, Uncategorized

The ancestral heritage of our mothers, beneficial or baggage?

When we are pregnant we have lots of time to plan and ponder our new role as mom.  What kind of mom do you wish to be?  Is there a gender that you have any fears around raising? What was your relationship like with your mother? What aspects from your mother do you wish to pass on and which do you choose to abandon?pregnant with kid By hin255

I saw a pregnant woman today who was expressing some fear around bringing a girl into her life.  She did not want to recreate the same disconnected relationship that she has experienced with her mom.   Interestingly enough she was also having some problems in her left side sacroiliac joint in her back.    That joint was jammed and unable to move as freely as it needed to.

 The Feminine and Masculine

The left side of our body represents the feminine aspects of ourselves and the right side the masculine.  In Tami Lynn Kent’s book the Wild Feminine she talks about the ancestral lineage that we carry energetically from our mothers on the left side in the back and our fathers on the right side.    This corresponded to my client’s current problem area.

When I asked her about her mothers relationship with her mother there was the same disconnect between them.  This dysfunctional relationship was being handed down from mother to daughter for generations and she was very aware of it and not wanting to repeat it.  I asked her to sense into that energetic chain of poor relationships between females in her family and sever it in whatever way felt best.   She did so and her sacrum released.  I also asked her to look at the women in her family and to find the traits that she was proud of and to honor those traits.

In releasing those qualities of what doesn’t feel right to us and hanging on to those that do, we consciously create our future.  It’s only in releasing these held bonds that bind us to our ancestry, once we become aware of them, that we can truly have freedom in our relationships and in creating our life.

Growing up in my family, my mother and grandmother were the queens of doing.  Constant busy bees, doing whatever they needed to fill up the time, avoiding any moments of down time to just be.  My great grandmother was a mother 14 times over so I can only imagine how busy her life must have been.   I too took on that role thinking “I just like to do things, there’s nothing wrong with that!”  It wasn’t until several people continued to ask me why I did so much “doing” that I really started to stop and ponder the question.  What was this all about?  I realized there was a fear inside of just being with my feelings and myself.  I faced my fears, my feelings and myself and saw the ancestral chain that bonded me to my heritage and I wanted to stop this insanity.    While I released this constant need to do and was able to just be with myself, I embraced the wonderful quality of the power of getting things done that was so strong in my female lineage.

I had another client who came to me while pregnant complaining of left hip pain.  In feeling into her left hip there was a holding pattern, blocking the flow of energy around her left hip and pelvis.  I helped her to feel into that pattern and it became clear to her that she too did not want to recreate the same connection with her soon to be born daughter as she had with her mom.  Realizing this, she was able to come to terms with what she did want to create with her daughter; she released the fear and pattern in her ancestral chain and became conscious of creating a new way of connecting with her child.

Energetic Holding Patterns

Pains in our body can be more than just something wrong with the tissues.  Energetic holding patterns can create pain. When we become aware of what the holding pattern is about, we can release them and allow us to grow and connect to others and ourselves in a new way.

What ancestral patterns are you carrying on?   Once you become aware of the pattern you have a choice whether you wish to continue creating it.  How is it serving you?  What would it take to release any detrimental patterns in your life?

I would love to hear from you; post your comments below so we can all learn from each other.

 

 

 

 

Abdominal Hernia’s-Diastasis Recti in Post Partum Women

April 22, 2013 in Abdominals, Diastasis Recti, Post Partum, Pregnancy

Diastasis Recti- Abdominal Muscle Separation

Do you know what one of the most commonly untreated issues women face after delivering a baby?  It hardly ever gets diagnosed and if it does the medical community doesn’t think there is any solution other than surgery.

Diastasis Recti

I’m talking about Diastasis Recti.  This is the separation of the rectus abdominus muscle, which is the “six-pack” muscle in our abdomen.  The rectus abdominus muscle has two sets of muscle fibers that run up and down from the sternum, or chest plate, down to the pubic bone. They are connected by a connective tissue called the linea alba. These muscle bellies can become separated and the connective tissue between them stretched thin with pregnancy.   The muscle bellies get forced out to the side to make room for the expanding uterus.  Also, activities with a forward forceful movements as in coughing, sneezing, laughing, or doing sit ups incorrectly can create a diastasis or make an already existing one worse.

Abdominal Muscles

The abdominal muscles are one of the most important muscles in our body. They are responsible for all of the support and movements in our trunk and consist of three layers. The most superficial layer, the Rectus abdominus, otherwise known as the “Six-pack” muscle, helps us to bend forward or sit up from laying down. The middle layer includes the Internal and External Obliques which helps us to twist and the deepest and most important layer, the Transverse abdominus, helps to compress the abdomen in and is part of our core muscles to stabilze the spine and pelvis.

How do you know if you have Diastasis Recti?

The separation of the Recti muscles is called a Diastasis Recti. You will know if you have one if you are laying down on your back and you place your fingers pointing down toward your spine in your belly button. When you lift your head any fingers that fill the space between the two muscle fibers of the rectus abdminus let’s you know you have a separation.  One to two fingers separation is considered normal.  However you also need to check the depth of your connective tissue.  That linea alba needs to be very superficial.  If you sink down past your fingertip the connective tissue still needs to heal.

Also another key sign you have a

Doming of linea alba in Rectus abdominus with diastasis recti

Doming of linea alba in Rectus abdominus with diastasis recti

separation is when you lift your head do you have any doming in the midline of your abdomen?

There are certain things we do like getting in and out of bed, doing abdominal crunches, and playing golf and tennis that can make this separation worse and keep it from healing.

At Intuitive Hands PT we offer training and education to teach you a 4 step program to help you heal a Diastasis Recti and also to help you lose the “pooch” from pregnancy. By learning how to use your body and strengthen your transverse abdominus muscle correctly you can loose your “pooch” and bring the rectus abdominus muscle bellies back together again.

Anyone with a diastasis can be helped no matter how long your muscles have been separated.   If you are currently pregnant, reading this previous post on how to avoid developing onein the first place can help save you ton of effort in the post partum period.

Following your Intuition during Pregnancy

April 9, 2013 in Childbirth, Pregnancy

A friend of mine wrote this amazing article that I just had to share with you all, a must read if you are pregnant or in the birth field.  It’s all about dealing with fears, learning to ground yourself and access your intuition to manage your pregnancy.  So many tests are done that create fear and this article helps you navigate the best course of your pregnancy care, by following your own instincts.

Loved it, hope you do too!

 

Bear Wisdom Pathways Spring 2013

Caring for your Belly During Pregnancy-Preventing Diastasis Recti- Part 3

March 29, 2013 in Abdominals, Childbirth, Diastasis Recti, Pregnancy

Part 3- Preventing Diastasis Recti in Pregnancy

This is the final post in a three part series on how to minimize and protect your abdominal muscles from developing diastasis recti.

In the other two posts we talked about how rib thrusting and forward, forceful movements of your belly can contribute to development of diastasis recti.  See these posts here to review, part 1 and part 2.

There is one other motion that we do at least two times a day, more if you are getting up to empty your squished bladder in the middle of the night, that causes the greatest strain on our abdominal muscles.  That is the way we get up and down from laying down.  What most of us tend to do is just lay straight back down and jack knife straight on up to sit up from laying down.  This motion puts the greatest amount of strain on your abdominal muscles.  If you continually get up and down this way, your abdominal muscles will separate.

There is a better way to lay down and get up without straining your abdominal muscles.

LAYING DOWN CORRECTLY

Let’s start with laying down.  Sitting on the side of the bed you want to pull your belly button back to your spine and then lay down on your side while your legs come up onto the bed.  Next, and the most important step, is placing your head down on the pillow while on your side.  Then contract your belly again as you roll over onto your back.

To get back up, the most important step is the keep your head down on the pillow while you roll over.  If you lift your head you are essentially doing a crunch and your belly will pooch out or dome if there is any separation.

During this entire motion it is important to contract your abdominal muscles by pulling your belly backward toward your spine.  Remember your head is the most important step and should be the last thing down in lying down and the last part up in getting up.

This takes practice to remember how to do it correctly and to make it a habit.  You will want to continue to lie down and get up in this fashion well after you baby is born.  This can help heal any separation you may have in your abdominal muscles after your baby is born.

There are other steps you need to learn to heal a diastasis recti, if you have one.  You can learn how to do so by watching my How to Lose the Pooch For Good and Heal Diastasis Recti.  Check it out!

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