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How To Test For Diastasis Recti + Best Exercises

How To Test For Diastasis Recti + Best Exercises

I know what you’re wondering..”Do I have an abdominal separation?”

Ever noticed how you get doming when you do a sit-up? How your core feels “weak”? Your stomach still looks pregnant after having kids.

You’re afraid this may never change.

The truth?

You will be able to tighten the gap of your separation, but it may never close completely.  And that is ok!

Let’s start with…

How do you check for a Diastasis Recti?

You can asses your DR whether you are pregnant, a first-time mom or more seasoned.  Jessie Mundell (Physiotherapist) recommends waiting two weeks postpartum to do your first assessment.

Step 1:

Lie on your back with your knees bent.  First just feel.  Feel around your belly button, above and below.  

Feel for the quality of the tissue (specifically the line alba- the center), do your fingers sink in? Is it firm? Is it squishy?  You have to know what you are working and what it first feels like to see your progression. 

The goal is to: Maintain INTEGRITY with exercise and to do so, we need to know where to begin.  Lift your shirt and expose your belly. 

Step 2:

Next, place fingers pointing downward with the middle finger in the umbilicus

Step 3:

Tuck your chin towards your chest and slowly lift your head off the floor.  Only your head should come off the floor.  Keep your shoulders down.  Repeat a few time.  Feel for a separation.

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Step 4:

Check above and below your umbilicus and note how many fingers width the separation is and the quality of the tissue. Greater than 2 fingers are significant.  If your separation is wider, seek out a pelvic floor physiotherapist for a complete diagnosis. 

Watch this video to see how big your gap is.

But don’t forget…the goal is to strengthen the connective tissue, not necessarily decrease the gap completely.

What’s the magic formula to tighten the gap? First..

What is the Rectus Abdominis?

“The rectus abdominis muscle, also known as the “abdominals” or “abs”, is a paired muscle running vertically on each side of the anterior abdominal wall.  There are two parallel muscles, separated by a midline band of connective tissue called the linea alba.” This is the tissue that spreads during an abdominal separation.  We want to “tighten the gap” instead of close it.

So, what’s the secret?

#1 Change your movement {for now}

  • Sitting to standing… slide to the end of the chair and use your legs to stand.
  • Getting off the floor- lunge one foot forward, hands-on front thigh, move weight to the front foot and push with your leg strength to rise up, reverse to go down.
  • Every morning>>> Roll to your side to get up.  DO NOT jackknife out of bed.
  • When laying down always ROLL to your side and push up.
  • Shift your ribs back over your hips
  • Check your pelvis.  You want to “untuck” your tush when sitting and standing. {Think of releasing your buttocks.}

#2 What are the best Diastasis Recti Exercises?

    1. Diaphragmatic breaths.  Take deep breaths allowing your abdominals to let go.  This may seem weird at first, but you are re-teaching your pelvic floor, diaphragm and abdominals to re-engage.
    2. Learn how to engage and stretch your pelvic floor.
    3. Abdominal pumps.  This will help tighten the gap of your separation.
    4. Engage your hips; your glutes, inner and outer thighs

#3 Are sit-ups ok with diastasis recti?

Yes! once you learn how to engage your pelvic floor, you can begin to work your core again.

Most importantly remember, your body has an amazing capacity to heal. I have helped women reduce their diastasis recti within 8 weeks.

Even if your children are 20+, you may still be able to close the gap and learn new movements to protect your back, hips, knees and pelvic floor for a lifetime of fluid movement.

In short, you want to know how big your gap is.  Then learn how to engage your pelvic floor, then learn how to engage your core.  All of this along with flushing out your hormones with a postpartum diet, you will be able to be strong once again!

Ready to learn more? Grab your freebie below. 👇
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5 Natural Remedies For Mastitis

5 Natural Remedies For Mastitis

Wondering how to heal mastitis without antibiotics?

Here are my tried and true natural remedies to stop the pain fast.

But, hold on.

Always check with your doctor before using natural remedies if you have allergies or other health concerns.

What is mastitis? Here are 5 signs to look for:

5 Signs of Mastitis

  • fever as high as 104
  • local redness, hard tender inflamed area
  • chills
  • achiness
  • exhaustion

***Fever is usually the key indicator here.

5 Herbal Treatment For Mastitis

If you are experiencing recurrent breast infections, you may want to be evaluated for adequate nutritional intake. Have your vitamin levels checked and don’t be afraid to increase them to reduce mastitis and possibly postpartum depression.

#1 Have your doctor check for vitamin deficiency:

  • Iron
  • Zinc
  • Protein
  • Vitamin c

Also, extreme exhaustion or sleep deprivation is so common.

#2 Along with good nutrition, consider adding an adaptogen to support your immune system during this stressful time.

  • Ashwagandha (Withania somnifera)
  • Reishi mushroom (Ganoderma lucidum)
  • These tinctures are considered safe adaptogens during breastfeeding


Milk ducts can become inflamed, tender, and distended creating a ‘plugged duct’, In mastitis, the plugged duct is accompanied by infection.

#3 My favorite homeopathic remedy for mastitis is Phytolacca

Phytolacca 30C 

Personally, I liked to take homeopathic medicine when I had mastitis.  Along with Echinacea, this helped resolve the inflammation within minutes.  If you are having these symptoms, consider Phytolacca as a remedy. Click here to purchase. 

Dosing: Take 2 tablets, wait 20 minutes, take another 2 and you should see improvement.

“For sore, cracked nipples, which hurt when the baby nurses. One of the most commonly used remedies for mastitis, especially where the pains radiate from the affected area and the breast is hard and lumpy.  The patient may feel heavy with flu-like symptoms, or may have a breast abscess threatening.” ¹

#4 Echinacea Tincture

Boost your immunity with Echinacea tincture.

In Wise Woman Herbal for the Childbearing Years, Susan Weed recommends a dose of a 1/2 drop for every pound of body weight (so a 130 lb woman would take 65 drops).

According to Kellymom.com, this dose can be taken up to 3-5 times per day. Susan Weed says even up to 12 times per day is fine and may be effective.

You can purchase the tincture here.

Dosing: 20-30 drops, 3-4x day

#5 Ashwagandha Tincture (Withania somnifera)

Known as a Category 1, safe adaptogen during breastfeeding, Ashwagandha can help reduce stress and ease the anxiety that may be causing the inflammation during breastfeeding.

You can purchase a tincture here. 

Dosing: 20-30 drops, 3-4x day

Read more about natural treatment for breastfeeding moms @ Kelly Mom

6 Tips to avoid mastitis 

  1. Use compresses of hot water, ginger root or chamomile infusion.
  2. Apply a poultice of freshly grated raw potato 2-3x day.
  3. Take 1/2-1 tsp. of Echinacea tincture every 2-4 hours.
  4. For high fever, drink teas of elderflower and spearmint.
  5. To reduce muscle tension drink teas of lemon balm, chamomile, and catnip.
  6. To relieve pain tinctures of crampbark, passionflower, and hops tinctures can promote sleep and relieve pain.

Now that you know my favorite natural remedies for mastitis, comment below and let me know your concerns.

Head over to my Youtube Channel for more videos to help you thrive during the postpartum time. 

xo

Tara

How I healed postpartum anxiety by addressing my gut health

How I healed postpartum anxiety by addressing my gut health

I know what you’re thinking.

How can you reduce anxiety by addressing your gut health?

But…Does this sound familiar?
  • bloating
  • pain with eating gluten or dairy
  • skin eruptions
  • exhaustion
  • seasonal allergies
  • recurring yeast infections
  • achy joints and muscles
  • eczema

Imagine ….

….what if would be like to not have to worry about your digestion so much

…to feel at ease, when you eat out or at your mother-in-laws

…to not have to bring your own food to parties

The interesting part?

We are never taught how to heal our bodies after having children.

There is only one postpartum doctor’s appointment for you, yet there are several for your child.

Why is that?

So, what’s the answer? The 4R approach.

First… click below for your FREE gut health questionnaire.

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What is the 4R approach?

This method addresses the underlying causes of gut imbalances and restores harmony, helping to alleviate symptoms and maybe even disease.

The program suggests you: Remove> Reinoculate> Repair> Reintroduce

healing stomach lining

How do you heal your gut?

  • Remove all triggers: i.e. all allergens and cross reactors like gluten and dairy.
  • Get off medications (with Dr.’s approval and replace them with natural remedies ).
  • Reduce your stress with meditation, exercise, and botanicals.
  • Heal your gut lining with the 4R approach below.

1. Remove

Take out what ails you.  

The top allergens are:

  • wheat
  • corn
  • eggs
  • dairy
  • peanuts
  • soybeans.

Add in whole grains (like quinoa and rice), organic vegetables, fruit, and healthy fats.

  • Remove allergens for 4-6 weeks {or it may take up to a year to heal your gut if you have an auto-immune disease}
  • Encourage whole, organic foods
  • Consider shopping the perimeter of the grocery store

2. Replace

#1 After 2-4 weeks on the Elimination diet..

#2 Add in bitters

  • I like  Urban Moonshine Bitters
    • This will trigger the digestive system to produce digestive enzymes, secrete bile and balance HCI levels in the stomach.  
    • Take bitters 10-15 minutes before your meal.
    • If you have a lot of nausea with meals or when you take supplements, you might also need some additional stomach acid in the form of a supplement called Betaine HCl, or try 1 Tbs. of apple cider vinegar in water with your meals. {click on links above to see the companies I love}

3.  Reinoculate

Wait 2 weeks on the elimination diet or up to 6 weeks before adding in a probiotic.

  Adding in a probiotic can give you gas and bloating if you do not remove the allergens first.

  • Add a good quality probiotic to restore your gut flora.  I like Klair probiotics.
  • You want it to have a minimum of 5 billion CFU in each dose, and a good range of Lactobacillus and Bifidobacteria species.
  • Fermented foods such as miso, sauerkraut, and kimchee can also be a helpful advantage to your gut, add it into your diet 3-4x week. Although very delicious, kombucha can be high in sugar so consider using sparingly.

4. Repair

Include the following supplement for 6-weeks or more to repair your gut.

The following supplements can be taken for up to 6 months to help to heal the intestinal lining:

  • Tumeric- I personally like to take turmeric in a blended tincture like Adrena nourish
  • Aloe vera
  • Marshmallow root powder
  • DGL licorice (aloe and licorice are not for internal use during pregnancy; these are fine for children) are some of the most effective herbs for healing the gut lining.
    • They are best taken in capsule or extract form, though turmeric can also be added to foods.
      • Do you get heartburn?
        • DGL or diglyceride licorice is a great alternative to tums and does not raise your blood pressure. DGL licorice is available as chewable lozenges and thus may be the simplest one to give to kids.
        • Klair labs has one here or Pure encapsulation combines aloe, slippery elm, and marshmallow root together!
  • Zinc: 5-10 mg/day for children 4-7 years, 10-20 mg/day for children to age 12, 25-40 mg/day for older children and adults.
  • An antioxidant supplement
    • Look for one containing vitamins A and carotenoids, C, E, and selenium. 
    • These are often found in a multivitamin.
    • Pregnant women should get these from their prenatal vitamin only.

Conclusion

If you scored high on the gut health questionnaire, these herbal supplements will help you heal your gut and reduce unwanted digestive issues, along with healing anxiety.  Elimination diets alone will not work unless you add in the gut-healing remedies.

Have questions? Send me an email or book a women’s health consultation.

7 life-changing meditations for postpartum anxiety

7 life-changing meditations for postpartum anxiety

Be honest.

Meditations don’t really work for you.

But… what if you could be more mindful more often? What if you felt like you had more time on your hands? Would you try it?

The truth?

Once I carved out time for daily meditation – my anxiety finally shifted. It’s a non-negotiable. I practice it every day.

But don’t forget… your body loves repetition.

👉Action Step: Try to find 10-minutes a day to practice one of these meditations for at least 30 days.

Then reach out.  I’d love to know if you have success!

Let’s get started.

#1 Gabrielle Bernstein- Cord-cutting meditation

This was the first shift I ever experienced.  This meditation is included in her online membership or you can pay $4 for this transformation.  Practice it daily when you want to complete a ‘necessary ending’, something that is not serving you.


#2 Manifesting Meditation

 


#3 Mary Kate is my go-to girl for removing any money blocks! We all have them.  Clear your thoughts about money and step into the Present Momma you crave to be.

#4 Morning Meditation: Practice this daily for miracles


#5 Have you tried hypnosis? The Mindful movement meditations are amazing.  These are my favorites.

#6 If you’re sleep-deprived and feeling tired and wired.. .try yoga Nidra before bed or if you get woken up and cannot fall asleep.

#7 Trauma from childbirth, from your childhood, from a relationship, can be causing your anxiety.  Try this meditation daily.

Give yourself 30-days to try these meditations.  Then take time to journal afterward.

Could this work for you? Let me know below. 👇

The secret remedies to overcome Postpartum Anxiety naturally

The secret remedies to overcome Postpartum Anxiety naturally

Admit it.

You’re frustrated and distracted by your anxiety attacks.

Wouldn’t it be great..

  • If you didn’t have to worry your anxiety would get worse?
  • If you didn’t have to worry, that your children would get this?
  • if you didn’t have anxiety before your period, each and every month?

Picture this.

Knowing exactly how to soothe your anxiety and so you can manage it every day. So you can sleep better and not worry so much.

Let me show you how I’ve overcome anxiety with natural remedies.

But hang on… don’t forget to always check with your doctor before adding any new supplements to your diet. And if you’re taking medications, book a health consultation to double-check there are no herb-drug interactions.

Approximately 6% of pregnant women and 10% of postpartum women develop anxiety. Sometimes they experience anxiety alone, and sometimes they experience it in addition to depression.

Want to get started?

In this post, I’ll share how you can overcome postpartum anxiety with natural remedies.


What does postpartum anxiety feel like

Postpartum anxiety feels like a cloud hanging over your head.  There are waves of irritation and you may have a panic attack once in a while, due to this anxiety.

More commonly, moms may say they have …

  • constant worry about their children or others
  • they need to move or work and keep busy
  • they may get sick more often
  • they also have PMS and #pmsrage
  • they’re not mentally there and crave to be more present with their family

Why does postpartum anxiety happen

There could be many reasons postpartum anxiety happens.  As a women’s herbal educator, I help moms identify why this is happening and how to fix it.

Here are some of the reasons postpartum anxiety happens:
  • Low vitamins; particularly Vitamin D, Vitamin A, Iron, Vitamin B12 & DHA
  • Lack of sleep
  • Inflammation in your gut; specifically gut dysbiosis ² Gut-brain axis
  • Your hormones.  Are you in peri-menopause or have too much estrogen in your diet?
  • Your thyroid is off – hypo or hyperthyroid
  • Your nervous system is overreacting due to stress
  • Your body is not healed postpartum
  • Post-traumatic stress; unresolved anger from past events

 

You don’t need anxiety medications, you need to heal your gut

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5 Steps to reduce postpartum anxiety

#1 Identify your triggers

Often alcohol, caffeine, and sometimes foods {gluten & dairy} can trigger a panic attack.  We all know you don’t sleep well even with just one glass of wine! Write down when you get anxiety and what happen the night before.

👉Action step: Take the Gut Health questionnaire to see if you have gut dysbiosis.  Then reach out for a health consultation to help you heal your gut.

#2 Get outside!

Connect with nature again.  Raising little people often gets us stuck inside for long periods of time.  Raising twins, I rarely left the house for the first two years.  I was too busy cooking, cleaning, working and caring for them.  Commit to taking a walk or asking someone to watch your little one so you can get outside – even if it’s winter.

#3 Have your vitamin levels checked

Women are often very depleted during the postpartum time period.  Birth is one of the biggest events of your life, yet there is so little attention paid to mom after childbirth.  It’s insane!

Have your doctor check:

  • your thyroid
  • Vitamins D, B12, iron & DHA
  • consider testing for food sensitivities

#4 Integrate botanicals

Adaptogens and nervines can help soothe your anxiety.

Consider integrating:

  • Ashwagandha tincture for a daily
  • Motherwort tincture for acute panic attacks
  • Chamomile tea to ease evening anxiety
  • Lemon Balm tea, combined with Chamomile & Milky oat tops for a yummy evening tea
  • Milky oat tops tea
  • Stinging nettles tea
  • Passionflower tincture
  • Kava Kave tincture for acute panic attacks
  • St. Johns Wort tincture for depression & anxiety {caution use with SSRI’s}

👉Action step: Download my freebie to learn the herbs that are safe to use when you are breastfeeding.

 

 

#5 Tap into your creative side

What are you going to do with this one life?

Have you ever wondered if you have anxiety because you are suppressing something? That you want to say something or do something, you’re not doing?

👉Action step: Write it down.  Write down your hopes, your dreams, your anger and then let it go.

Conclusion

You can overcome postpartum anxiety when you tap into the root cause.  Vitamin levels, stress, gut health, and meditation can have a profound effect on your health.

What has worked for you? I’d love to know. Comment below.


References

  • ¹ https://www.postpartum.net/learn-more/anxiety-during-pregnancy-postpartum/
  • ² https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5641835/

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