Staying connected to your pelvic floor
I looked at both pregnancies as 9 months of training for the most athletic event of my life. Exercise and proper daily movement inputs are massively important to functioning well during pregnancy and after. This is not the time to start training for a marathon. It is the time when you need to move consistently, everyday and consume the highest quality nutrition you can.
According to Diane Lee, 100% of all women have a diastasis in the third trimester of pregnancy.
When I was six months pregnant with the girls (my second set of twins) I filmed a couple of videos to help a friend. I am so glad that I filmed them without my shirt on so you can see my belly. My friend had a very large diastasis and was also experiencing incontinence. Although she had three very large babies and two miscarriages, she was never checked or educated about a diastasis. I was so grateful to have just completed my certification through Burrell Education, and I was able to share some valuable insights remotely to get her started on reconnecting her pelvic floor.
Remember that the place to start is with a women’s health PT. A proper assessment of your abdominal wall, pelvic floor, asymmetries, and posture are hugely important. These videos serve to complement your work with a PT or get you started on reconnecting to your pelvic floor.
These exercises along with a low inflammatory nutrient dense diet are great strategies to properly return to functioning well.
The first clip is demonstration of a chest and lateral (side of your body) line stretch to minimize the pull on your abdominal wall.
A proper breathing strategy is very important for reconnecting to your abdominal wall while integrating the pelvic floor. Here I demonstrate in upright and supine.
The below video demonstrates the rib breath in supine position. After the first trimester of pregnancy, you need to elevate your upper body and avoid lying flat while exercising. This was a quick video to demonstrate the abdominal wall contraction with gravity taken out.
Using verbal cues to create a visual image is SUPER helpful in reconnecting to your pelvic floor. Use these VERY visual cues to help you “feel” your pelvic floor pulling up and in.
Putting it all together…this video shows how you sequence the exercises above to pull everything to create a nice force closure through your abdominal wall.
Rib breath inhale
Pelvic floor up and in
“Ssssssettt” force closure through the abdominal wall.
Once you set the abdominal wall, it is important to breathe normally while maintaining the contraction. Now you are ready to perform other movements on top of the contracted pelvic floor and abdominal wall.
BEFORE you apply load or move into higher level exercises…you MUST educate your system so it works automatically. The role of these exercises is to reestablish core synergy so it does not have to be a conscious effort every time. Ideally this training starts while pregnant. But, you can implement these strategies any time.
In upcoming posts we will look at other movement strategies to maximize your function during and after pregnancy.