Having a baby is a life-changing event. It’s filled with wonder, excitement, nervousness, and many unknowns. If you have just had a baby… CONGRATULATIONS! If you are a post-partum Mom or pregnant, and suspect a diastasis please continue to read this blog for more information on how to get effective help.
It is so important to support your body properly during this special time in your life. Taking care of yourself specifically during this transition is essential to preventing injury in the years to come.
New Moms, especially those who are breastfeeding have a pelvis that still is relatively lax (loose) post-partum for longer than you think. Tension in your ligaments doesn’t return to previous (pre-pregnancy) strength until TEN MONTHS AFTER you stop breastfeeding. This can lead to feeling vulnerable and lead to mechanics that are inefficient as you over-compensate for the lack of tensile ligamentous strength. This is why it is imperative that you are careful with how you lift and handle your baby, especially with car seats, strollers, etc.
*BONUS TIP: See pictures above on how to properly lift and handle your infant for car seats / strollers.
Whether you have or don’t have a diastasis, very often women feel they should brace and contract their abdominals pretty vigorously to get support. This is often not an effective strategy and can lead to more pressure and abdominal separation/tearing.
Diastasis recti is when the central seam of your abdominals (the linea alba) stretches and thins to the point of gapping/tearing. A thinning and minor separation can be normal and can heal on its own by 8 weeks post-partum. If the separation is too large or it doesn’t heal for various reasons, like doing the wrong exercises too early, then it can stay that way 12 months later and beyond. Good posture, avoiding the wrong exercises like planks/push-ups/press ups/crunches, limiting excess pregnancy weight gain are key to PREVENTING diastasis.
If you suspect a diastasis recti, please contact a Physical Therapist who specializes in women’s health issues.
Here at KIMA, we have a specific way to retrain this area utilizing real-time ultrasound to image your muscles. We use ultrasound, similar to the one your Obstetrician uses, but keep the view superficial to image your muscles (not organs or baby). We then observe which facilitation cue is best to close the abdominal gap and retrain your core, specific to what YOUR body responds to and needs.
After a thorough and careful examination, with you performing exercises, we determine the correct cues that resonate with your body to produce the best contraction. We identify which exercises are right for you, as well as the ones that are pulling at your seam – essentially keeping you from gaining that flat tummy again.
Often our patients are stunned that a contraction of less effort, along with an appropriate breathing strategy can “close the gap” more efficiently and help them feel supported.
Using these methods, Physical Therapists here at KIMA have been able to help women who were previously debating surgery for their 4-finger diastasis.
Once you can access the correct muscles, begin closing the diastasis and feel better, we continue to use the real-time ultrasound as biofeedback to help you refine your techniques. Enabling you to perform safely and independently at home. Let’s face it, life as a new Mom is BUSY. We understand fitting appointments into your schedule is hard, that’s why we work efficiently to progress you safely, until the point where you can return to your former exercise program (At home, Gym, Yoga, Pilates etc.)
Come in for your evaluation with one of our Women’s Health Physical Therapists to find out what YOUR individualized program should be.
By Patricia Ladis, PT
KIMA Co-founder & Mom of 3