I didn’t do a sit-up for over four years because of my diastasis recti, an abdominal separation due to my twin pregnancy. Confused and sleep deprived, I also drank Guinness to improve my milk supply and paid little attention to my diet for the first year.
 
But eventually, I was able to heal my core and improve my digestion through corrective exercises and a nutritional diet.
 
Let me explain…
We have this perception that we need to be tone and fit in our pre-pregnancy clothes six weeks after birth. What we are not honoring, is the healing process a new momma needs to go through.
 

Here are the 5 Myths of Postpartum Exercise Recovery.

#5 It Takes 6-Weeks To Recover From Birth

 
Your body went through one of the biggest transformations in your life. Eight weeks postpartum, you may still be sore and sleep deprived. If you had a c-section, episiotomy or diastasis recti you have endured an injury that may need up to two years to recover.
 
Click here for Your body after baby to see if what you are experiencing is normal. 
 
 

#4 You can go back to your previous exercise routine

Postpartum Exercise

We are so quick to jump into our previous exercise routine without realizing we need post-rehabilitative exercises to heal our wounds. 

Sign you may need pelvic floor rehabilitation are:

  • leaking, ongoing back, pelvis, groin or abdominal pain
  • Pressure or bulging in your vagina or rectum and bulging of your abdomen during ANY exercise
  • Difficulty doing any of your everyday activities because of pain, leakage, pressure or any other symptom that concerns you

 

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#3 You shouldn’t do crunches with diastasis recti {DRA}

Postpartum gurus may tell you not to do crunches if you have a diastasis recti. Following this advice, I skipped flexion {a.k.a. crunches} for over three years afraid I would increase the split!  Guess what, this guru was wrong.
exercise

Postpartum Exercise

 
Diane Lee, physiotherapist shares how women can have a gap and still transfer load through the body without pain. It’s about your function movement and transfer of load in your body so you don’t have more biomechanics and injuries.  
You can do crunches with an abdominal separation IF you know how to engage your pelvic floor first and you re-learn how to transfer load through your body. 
Not sure if you have a separation? Click here to watch my YouTube Video.

#2 A little leaking is ok

 
The pelvic floor is very resilient, but one sign it is not functioning properly; is when you have leaked. Leaking a little bit is a sign of pelvic floor weakness. This weakness in your “inner unit”, can create dysfunction in how you transfer load through your body.
 
You may also have trouble breathing, low back pain, hip pain or a weak core in response to your pelvic floor tone.
 
In a large postpartum study of prevalence for urinary incontinence (UI), Wilson et al (2002) found that 45% of women experienced UI at 7 years postpartum and that 27% who were initially incontinent in the early postpartum period regained their continence while 31% who were continent became incontinent.

#1 Kegels are enough

Kegels are small contractions of your pelvic floor muscles, suggested during pregnancy and postpartum to decrease incontinence.

The reason Kegels may not work is:

a) your pelvic floor could be too tight, needing a release
b) you’re performing the pelvic exercises incorrectly
c) your body alignment could be off
d) you need a full body workout
 
There are over ten different ways to contract your pelvic floor. Squeezing and lifting these muscles are not enough to gain the full effect of your pelvic floor strength.

Conclusion

In conclusion, allow your body 1-2 years to recover from pregnancy. Seek out a pelvic floor physical therapist if you have any pain, leaking, bulging or pressure in your pelvic floor.  Your body will heal, allow yourself the time. 
How has your recovery been? Comment below and let me know.
Tara
 

 

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Are you confused about the best exercises for your postpartum body? Are crunches safe for you? Discover what is and what is not ok during this chaotic time.
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