Mar 29

Diastasis Recti: Why does my back hurt?

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Diastasis recti is the separation of the abdomen muscles (aka our six pack), It’s totally normal to occur during pregnancy as our bodies have to make space for the growing baby. 

The trouble is that this separation can weaken our core and, left unchecked, this can lead to back pain and contribute to poor posture and alignment. Whether you are a new mum or seasoned parent, dealing with back pain is difficult and can cause all sorts of disruptions to life. 

 

How can I reduce my back pain?

The first step to alleviating the pain is to get to the core of the problem…our core! By ‘closing the gap’ and addressing our abdominal function, we can relieve the pressure on our spinal muscles and ensure that our back is not doing all the work. 

 

Exercises To Help Diastasis Recti

For anyone who DOES have time to exercise, here are some useful exercises to kick start your movement practice but in an ideal world I would find a local pregnancy and postnatal specialist trained by Carolyne Anthony or Jenny Burrell as there is no substitute for good teaching! Or come and work with me in my online membership! 

These exercises should only be performed after you have had clearance from your GP to exercise again. I would recommend that you also see a Women’s Health Physio before starting any exercise postnatally.

 

 

Sidelying Ribcage Rock
  • Lie on your side with both arms extended forwards at chest level with the palms together
  • Inhale to rock the ribcage forward while at the same time rocking the pelvis back
  • Exhale to rock the ribcage back as you rock the pelvis forward
  • Repeat then change sides

This is really helpful as it will mobilise the tissues around your ribcage and torso that could be causing tension that is preventing good function in your abdominals.

 

Double Knee Openings
  • Lie in neutral spine with your feet together. 
  • Exhale to allow your abdominals to flatten
  • Draw your hip bones towards each other and open both knees out to the side – focus on keeping the pelvis still as the legs move
  • Inhale to hold the legs there, exhale to connect to your abdominals again and pull the legs back together again. 
  • Think of the legs being heavy and using your abdominals to pull them back to the middle.

When working in neutral spine many postnatal women benefit from a higher head position (cushion/ block) to allow the back of the ribcage to stay released into the mat whilst the lower back can maintain its neutral curve. If neutral spine is uncomfortable for you, look at the positioning of the head.

This exercise will help to connect you to your deep core muscles. 

 

Single Knee Openings
  • Lie in semi-supine
  • Exhale to allow your abdominals to relax then draw your sit bones, hip bones and rib cage together
  • Open one leg out to the side
  • Inhale and hold it
  • Exhale to bring it back to parallel
  • Repeat with the other leg. 

Focus on keeping the pelvis and especially the supporting leg still and releasing as the other leg moves.

 

Pelvic Tilts
  • Lie on your back with your knees bent up and feet flat on the floor
  • Make sure that the feet are parallel to each other and be aware of the big toe joint connecting into the floor. 
  • Exhale to gently flatten your lower back so that your lower spine softens into the floor (rolling your pelvis under and thinking of bringing your pubic bone and your rib cage towards each other). 
  • Inhale and release back into neutral, allowing your hip flexors to release, the pelvic floor to open. 

 

As a variation:

  • Hold the pelvis in the tilt (if you can, try not to fully release on the in breath, keeping some connection)
  • Exhale to connect again
  • Visualising the abdominals drawing back into the middle
  • Have an awareness of your pelvic floor connecting as your ribcage is softening and the pelvic floor connecting the sit bones into the inner thighs and big toe joints with every out breath. 
  • Repeat the breathing 5 times.
  • Release the pelvis back to the floor.

 

Postnatal Classes with Centred Mums

All of our postnatal classes can help with your abdominal separation. We have designed each class to ensure it only contains exercises that will assist your recovery, and we will always encourage you to work at your own pace and listen to your body.

When it comes to dysfunctions like Diastasis Recti, you are often warned against exercises such as sit-ups, but we will teach you that it isn’t about the exercise but about the level of control you have. If your abdominals ‘dome’ and push out when you do a sit-up, then this isn’t a good exercise for you. But plenty of people who don’t have a diastasis also dome, and it’s not a good exercise for them either.

We’re here to assure you that you don’t be scared to move and to use your body, you simply need to learn how to use it better.

With a better understanding of what your postnatal body needs, you can avoid pushing yourself into exercises and movements that won’t serve you well in the long term. And, as experts in this, we can confidently support you through making these important changes and bring you great results with our postnatal classes or our online membership!

Mar 22

Can you heal a diastasis recti without surgery?

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Diastasis recti is the separation of the abdomen muscles (aka our six pack), It’s totally normal to occur during pregnancy as our bodies have to make space for the growing baby. 

It’s thought that this separation still persists for around 60% of women following birth. While generally harmless, many women often report bloating of the tummy when eating and drinking as well as being unhappy aesthetically and experiencing back pain due to poor abdominal function.

 

 

How do you know if you have Diastasis Recti?

There is a simple way to quickly self-test at home and see if you have a diastasis recti. 

  • Lying on your back, bend your knees and pop your feet on the floor. 
  • Lift your upper body just slightly
  • Using your index and middle finger, push down on the middle of your stomach above your belly button
  • If you feel a ‘gap’ between your muscles of more than two fingers then this most likely indicates a diastasis recti

Or you can watch this video to help talk you through it. 

 

 

Can diastasis recti be fixed?

I don’t like the term fixing! You aren’t broken, we just need to help things to function better in a way that helps to heal the separation. But you can absolutely heal your separation! (Although this does depend on the severity of your diastasis recti).

It’s quite rare for the condition to be addressed via surgery, many people just learn to live with it but there is SO MUCH you can do! Exercise professionals can recommend a variety of exercises to help with healing. Here are 3 simple exercises you can do to help heal your abdominal separation.  

 

 

Diaphragmatic Breathing
  • Lie on your back
  • Bend your knees and out your feet flat on the floor
  • Put your right palm on your chest
  • Put your left palm on your tummy
  • Take a deep breath in and imagine that you are breathing in to a circle around the bottom of your ribcage so that your ribs expand and it is the left over breath that moves into the belly
  • Exhale slowly and repeat 10 times

 

Side Bends
  • Sit on a chair with both feet flat on the floor
  • Lift one arm up and reach over into a side bend
  • Inhale into the back and side of your rib cage
  • Exhale to come back to centre
  • Repeat on the other side

 

Heel Slides
  • Lie on your back
  • Bend your knees and put your feet flat on the floor
  • Exhale to imagine you are blowing out candles and feel your belly flatten down under your fingertips
  • Slide your right heel across the floor until your leg is straight
  • Hold as you inhale
  • Exhale to connect to your abdominals as above and slide your right heel back to the starting position 
  • Repeat on the left-hand side

 

 

How can Pilates help diastasis recti?

 

High quality Pilates will teach you how to control your intra-abdominal pressure and release your connective tissue, this will help you to gain more mobility and encourage your abdominals to function effectively.

At Centred Mums, we use ‘The Center Method for Diastasis Recti Recovery’ in our postnatal classes. It focuses on ‘relax, release, realign, restore’ and is incredibly effective in assisting healing. We have had absolutely amazing results using this work in our Diastasis Recti Recovery Class.

Please remember that, before you start any postnatal exercise, it is important to ensure your abdominals have been checked by a qualified professional.

 

 

Postnatal Classes with Centred Mums

 

All of our postnatal classes can help with your abdominal separation. We have designed each class to ensure it only contains exercises that will assist your recovery, and we will always encourage you to work at your own pace and listen to your body.

When it comes to dysfunctions like Diastasis Recti, you are often warned against exercises such as sit-ups, but we will teach you that it isn’t about the exercise but about the level of control you have. If your abdominals ‘dome’ and push out when you do a sit-up, then this isn’t a good exercise for you. But plenty of people who don’t have a diastasis also dome, and it’s not a good exercise for them either.

We’re here to assure you that you won’t be scared to move and to use your body, you simply need to learn how to use it better.

With a better understanding of what your postnatal body needs, you can avoid pushing yourself into exercises and movements that won’t serve you well in the long term. And, as experts in this, we can confidently support you through making these important changes and bring you great results with our online membership!

Aug 3

Exciting News for New Mamas!

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Postnatal belly binders originating from Malaysia are now available in a modern, super easy and comfortable version for the UK market, meaning you don’t have to wait forever for a costly delivery from the US.

 

Why are these binders so special?

They are recommended by the founder of The Gentle Birth Project and a real expert in the field of postpartum health – Carolyne Anthony.

This modern version of the traditional Malaysian Binder is designed to help the new mother recover after the birth,  both vaginal and C-section,  and to support the abdomen during the recovery period.

The velcro straps make it convenient to wear and provide a firm support without compression from the ribcage to below the hips. Each binder is made from 100% cotton and is suitable to wear all day long.

 

Why should you wear a belly binder?

  • Support your belly, waist and hips
  • Brings comfort after c- section by tightening the layers of fascia and tissues that have been cut through
  • It provides stability to core muscles weakened during pregnancy (especially helpful if you have and abdominal separation, also called Diastasis Recti)
  • Helps you get back to your daily activities more quickly! There is research-based evidence that women who wore abdominal support in the postpartum period reported decreased level of pain and were able to get out of bed quicker and walk more comfortably
  • Eliminates or minimises back pain by bringing core muscles together and providing stability and support
  • Encourages better posture, which is especially important during breastfeeding

 

When should you start wearing it?

The belly binder based on Malaysian tradition should be wore from day 2-44 days post-delivery.  Most the current medical professionals allow you to wear it the next day following the vaginal delivery and  c–section delivery, however fresh air is desired for faster wound healing; the intervals in between should be allowed for at least few hours. This is why the breathable material of the binders is very important!

Most importantly the postpartum body of every woman needs to be given as much rest as possible and the binder is there to provide you support and alignment to your body.

 

WHY DOES THIS BINDER STAND OUT (as reported by mamas)?

It is made out of 100% cotton so its fully breathable and feels a lot nicer to the skin/ scar especially in the summer months.

The length is perfect to coax everything back towards the midline. It wraps around the SI joints /pubic symphysis in addition to the torso.

Very easy to use and allows the flexibility while breastfeeding a baby. Most importantly the firmness and hold of the binder is just right, as most binders tend to be too tight for the torso.

Your dedicated postnatal massage therapist Kamila Kolesnik who runs her Mama Bloom Studio in Hemel Hempstead  can help you with releasing the diaphragm and softening the area below sternum. The traditional womb support massage is conducted by using the herbal warm compress.

These amazing belly binders are available to purchase at: www.mamabloommedispa.com

For further information and instructions call 07753262819

https://thegentlebirthproject.com/