Whew what a ride! I hope things are starting to settle for you after this busy (yet fun and glorious!) summer followed by ‘back to school time’ and that you’re starting to find some greatly deserved ‘you time’ for self care. Today’s tips continue our Women’s health focus in honor of our upcoming free workshop in October to support all the busy moms and grandmas out there, perhaps just like you.
Today we’re talking about that dreaded ‘tummy pooch’ after pregnancy.
While many moms simply don’t like the way it looks or feels, we’re more concerned about the fact that this usually means that your core is not working properly and this could be setting you up for back, neck and headache issues down the road and also arthritis throughout many of the major joints in your body. You see, your core acts as a ‘shock absorber’ for your joints and when it’s not working properly, your joints all over your body end up with extra wear and tear.
So back to that ‘still looking like I’m pregnant’ thing…
Here’s how this happens:
Our body is absolutely amazing in all it does to help create a tiny human! In order to make enough room for the baby, our uterus grows, our organs move up and out of the way and our abdominal muscles stretch to make room also. As far as our abdominals go, they all connect in the middle into a band of thick connective tissue called the linea alba (which means white line) as it is literally a white line of thick fibrous connective tissue with the abdominal muscles on either side. The space between the muscles is ideally no more than 2 finger widths for our core to work properly. Now during pregnancy, this stretches out and gets pulled apart to make room for baby and the distance is much larger than 2 finger Widths in virtually all pregnant women. After delivery, our body gradually (over several months) returns back to a relatively normal state. In some women, this space closes fully, in others an abdominal separation remains and is called a diastasis recti.
To check and see if you have a diastasis recti:
You can do a simple test where you lay flat on the floor or on your bed without a pillow, then lift only your head, tucking your chin. It’s like starting a crunch sit up but not actually performing the whole thing. While your head is lifted, you’ll want to feel the space between your abdominal muscles just above and below your belly button. If it’s greater than 2 finger widths, it would be a good idea to consult with a postpartum PT specialist.
So what does all this have to do with how my core is working and why my tummy is pooching?
- Transverse abdominis
- Forces at play pulling things apart or together
- Pressure management – bearing down
- Lack of stable core to rely upon – how this affects back, neck, headaches, shoulder and leg muscles
What are the risks if I decide to ‘just live with it’?
- Aches and pains throughout the body – especially back, neck, shoulders and headaches
- Arthritis in many of our major joints (there are so many moms we wish we would have caught earlier, ideally within the first few years after the birth of their child)
- Sluggish digestive system
- Urine leakage
The great news – you don’t have to ‘just live with it’; physical therapy can help!
- A postpartum specialist PT can help you get your core and pelvic floor muscles trained properly so they work like they should again; a few sessions of PT and teaching you how to help your body heal properly usually corrects this problem for good and prevents tons of bigger issues down the road
- This is much more than just learning how to tighten your abdominals and kegels – for example, you must learn how to manage pressure, breathe properly and how to perform daily activities with proper body positioning to help close that separation (and more)
- We offer a free postpartum consult with our experts whether it’s been a few weeks, months, decades or years since your baby was born
- There are so many changes that happen postpartum; sometimes bowel or bladder issues pop up, maybe prolapse or pain with intimacy or aches and pains elsewhere in your body or these diastasis recti issues. Whatever you’re dealing with and however embarrassing it might feel right now, know that you’re not alone, we’ve probably heard it before and we’re here to be a resource to help you, free of judgment.
Schedule your FREE Postpartum Consult Today
Our women’s health and postpartum specialists Dr. Megan and Dr. Sarah, are available to meet with you, hear your story, and answer all your questions about your unique needs and how to get you back to feeling your best!
We’d love to help give you more information about how to get on the path to better posture and feeling like yourself again (without all those leaks & aches & pains!) – simply click the button below to inquire for more information:
Afterall, life’s too short to suffer!
To your health & happiness,
Doctors Sarah & Megan and The Balance Within PT Team
P.S. Would you like to learn more about all things Postpartum, Pelvic Floor and Women’s Health? Then come join us for Dr. Megan’s FREE Women’s Health Workshop on October 11th at our Delafield clinic. We will be discussing common concerns with women’s health and provide you with some take home ideas to assist with your overall health and well being. Details below to sign up – we hope to see you there! (By the way, spots are very limited so be sure to claim your spot ASAP)