Mind The Gap!! Calling All Mums!

Calling all post-natal ladies that are concerned with your tummy! (no matter how old your child is now).

Do you feel concerned with your core? 

Are you worried about a ‘gap’ you’ve seen or a doming down the midline of your tummy?

Most ladies, post-partum, do have a gap in their mid-line; during pregnancy, the distance between the 2 abdominal muscles make way/seperate for growing baby.  The connective tissue between these muscles gets thinner as it is put on a stretch.  This is known as a diastasis recti.

As someone who has been in this field for the last almost 16 years….I am concerned A LOT by what I see on social media.

Is it reality to think that we can go back to having a tummy like our 20 year old self?

I strongly believe this idealism does not do our sense of worth any favours (or acknowledge the miracle that our body has been through)

I am passionate about ladies feeling at home in their new body, and also about them being SAFE with the strategies they use to ‘get fit’ postpartum.

If you are wondering if it is possible to have a functional strong core again, that can withstand pressure & lift children with ease…this is entirely possible!  It’s all about using the right strategies to heal the pelvic floor & mid-line of the tummy, whilst loving your belly through the process.

For our HEALTH We want to be able to transfer loads from our arms and legs, through our core, without seeing doming in the tummy, or risking leaking. 

Loading our body too soon, or too hard too soon, can make the abdominals bulge & our tummy can feel (and look) worse after exercise.

But am I still post natal, I had my baby a long time ago?

In the post-natal period (and yes…..you can be post-natal, even if your baby is now 20!) We need to consider the type & intensity of your exercise programming to get the right foundation for you, before progressing.

This picture below shows a lady in her post natal months, with a diastasis.  Her viscera (her insides) are pushing through the gap between the abdominal muscles on this movement, because as well as having a diastasis, she is doing an exercise that is increasing the pressure in her core too much, too soon in her exercise program.  This could worsen the gap, and compromise her pelvic floor:

A mid-line tummy gap, or Diastasis, affects our entire system, as everything is connected!

Adding incorrect loading or faulty breathing does worsen the problem, and can also increase downward pressure on the pelvic floor (leaks & sneezey pees!)

 

Does this mean we have to ‘close the gap’ before doing any exercise?

The good news is, you don’t have to fixate on the gap ‘having to be closed’ before starting to move your body.  But you DO have to work at the right INTENSITY & use the correct STRATEGIES for movement that will help create strength in the connective tissue between the muscles, which will support your core.

The core consists of the diaphragm, the abdominal muscles, the glutes (bottom) & the pelvic floor…& none of this works in isolation.  We need all of it to function well, to avoid pain & leaks. 

Step 1:

  • Check the status of your gap – usually a Women’s Health Fitness professional can help with that.
  • Check that you can lift your entire pelvic floor, in different positions too! Standing, lying on your side & on your back.  This can be done very early post-natal too.
  • Once you know you can lift your pelvic floor, starting to add movement in gently and at the right intensity.  If you are newly post-natal, this is usually 4-8 weeks after having baby.

But how do you know it is the right intensity?

Choosing the intensity right for you, where you are right now, means NOT compromising your core by doming, and not risking leaking…

Step 2:

  • Can you feel the lift of your pelvic floor & exhale on exertion when loading your core/exercising? Ie – when coming up out of a squat.

Slowly progressing the movements, and being mindful of working at the intensity where you feel your core engage with each move is absolutely key. 

For some ladies the gap will close altogether, for others they will get a good amount of tension in the connective tissue that joins the muscles together (which provides the support needed for the internal organs).  Either way, as a result of your improved strength, the muscle tone of your tummy will improve.  If you feel that you need to get your diastasis checked by a professional & tailor your exercises accordingly, do get in touch.

Indeed you can actually become stronger than your 20 year old self, all the while with your lines & scars bearing the truth of the amazing Woman you are :-).

Helping you to feel amazing in your own body and mind
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