NO TUMMY MUMMY
What is it? And how do we get it?
During pregnancy our tummy stretches out a lot with the help of a hormone called relaxin. By the end of pregnancy our waist line may increase up to 50 centimeters -Our rectus abdominis (what we call our abs or six pack muscles) and linea alba (which runs down the middle of our abs and holds the two halves of the rectus abdominis together) may start to separate as our uterus grows. This is pretty common as it happens to 66% of women in the third trimester. After birth, the muscles don’t always bounce back, leaving a gap – some women call it the mommy “pooch” or “jelly belly”. Most women are unaware that this separation happens so how would you know if you have diastasis recti?
Do this simple test:
- Lie on your back with your knees bent and your feet flat on the floor.
- Place one hand behind your head, and the other hand on your abs just above your belly button. Place your fingertips across your midline and press into your abs with your abs relaxed.
- Roll your upper body off the floor as if you were going to do a sit up drawing your ribs closer to your pelvis.
- Move your fingertips back and forth across your midline, feeling for the right and left sides of your abs. Test for separation at, above, and below your belly button, if you have diastasis recti you may feel a gap of about 1-3 fingers between your midline.
Basic diastasis rehab moves such as abdominal compressions like TA activation exercises can be started as soon as moms deliver a baby.
Check out my blog HERE on how to activate your TA.
Being aware of our pelvic floor is also important, as pregnancy can weaken the muscles of our pelvis. Our pelvic floor supports the uterus, bladder, small intestine and rectum.
This next exercise can be beneficial especially for women who leak a few drops of urine, or even stool while sneezing, laughing or coughing and can be done just about anytime or anywhere.
Kegel Exercises and how to do them:
- Find your pelvic muscles first. Try stopping yourself urinating midstream. Once you’ve identified your pelvic floor muscles you can do the exercises in any position, although you might find it easiest to do them lying down at first.
- Lay down on your back and imagine you’re sitting on a marble, then tighten your pelvic muscles as if you’re lifting the marble. Try it for three seconds at a time, then relax for a count of three.
- Breath normally and focus on tightening only your pelvic floor muscles and avoid flexing the muscles in your abdomen, thighs and glutes.
- Repeat this 3 times a day. Aim for at least three sets of 10 to 15 reps a day.
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