Navigation

Your Recovering Core and Pelvic Floor

“C’mon ladies. Let’s get you back to your pre baby body. Time to shred your core!”

Overheard in a gym class for postnatal women. These types of comments are ubiquitous in the fitness world. Seemingly harmless fitspiration types of rah rah. Harmless they are not. Helpful? Not that either. Often these types of sentiments go hand in hand with the idea that a ripped, toned core is a good core and can come with a price tag, especially postnatal, when things are healing, different and changed in our core and pelvic floor.

I have had 3 kids, all in 4 years time. I totally get the desire to get our bodies to feel and look like they did pre baby. There is a smart way to do that and way that takes into account the changes to our body postpartum. Many women struggle with leak pee, their might feel heavy in their core, they might feel totally disconnected from their abs, have an abdominal separation and they might be lacking the confidence to speak openly of these things.

Whether you are a fitness pro or a new mom, here are some very important  things you should know about your core and pelvic floor postpartum. You can be 10 years postpartum and many of these things still apply, however they are most critical for the first few years.

Diastasis recti: Abdominal Separation

Postnatal Core Recovery - Your Core

A diastasis recti is a separation of the abdominals at the midline. Meaning that there is a gap in the center of your belly, above and / or below your navel. The gap can be wide, narrow, deep, shallow and is measured in finger width. It can lead to your abs feeling “saggy,” “loose,” “weak” and is best diagnosed by a doctor or PT. There are many videos on youtube showing how to do a self test but I have seen many women do the test wrong so a professional opinion is best.With a diastasis recti, it is crucial to train your core in a very specific way as you can make the gap larger with poor core training and exercises.I often hear people say: “If you have a diastasis recti, just do deep core exercises and avoid crunches.” However just avoiding crunches and doing exercises like deadbug or tabletop or navel to spine is not enough.

How you do the exercise is more important.

How you are breathing during the workout matters as does your form and alignment matters. How you train matters.One more piece of advice I often hear women with diastasis receive is to hold their abs tight all day to make them strong again. Actually that is not getting strong, that is getting tense and tension in that form can make a diastasis recti worse! So be sure that one thing you are not doing is holding your belly “zipped” in all the time. It really does not make your abs stronger.

Pelvic floor: Leak pee and heaviness in your pelvic floor

Postnatal Pelvic floor recovery

The most common, not discussed issue for women postpartum. Pelvic floor issues can range from urinary incontinence to run and jump pee to prolapse of organs into the vaginal canal. A PT or urogynecologist would be the first place to turn for a diagnosis. Sadly I have heard many many women tell me that they were told that leak pee is not resolvable and “just learn to live with it.”That can be extremely discouraging to hear and thankfully it is not true. There is a lot that can be done to resolve leak pee but we must ensure that we are not making the issue worse with our movement and exercise choices. Any activities that increase intra abdominal and pelvic pressure can make it worse.

Increasing pressure can look like breath holding, excess abdominal tension in the form of sucking our bellies in, bearing down when we exercise, and doing exercises that ab our abs bulge up or out. Again, it comes down to finding a training program that focusses on these areas and can teach you how to exercise wisely in a beneficial way.

Postpartum, your pelvic floor and core are healing for at least 1 year. Both regions have gone through extensive changes and will take time to build back resilience and prior strength. Pushing too hard at first can put strain on the core and pelvic floor and strain on the pelvic floor when it is already in a weakened state is not ideal.

In summary:

One Strong Mama - Postnatal workout

Not all exercising and core training is created equal and our postpartum bodies need to be treated not as a piece of clay to mold back to original shape but as a structure that has gone through substantial changes and needs specific training to regain strength and integrity. If I had a penny for all of the women who wish they had done things differently postpartum and learned the hard way…

There is no need to push yourself in exercise to get your body back. Rather, think of healing your core and pelvic floor in a smart fashion so you can have a functional core and pelvic floor for the long haul.

Related Articles

  • I'm so grateful for the One Strong Mama program, it helped make my 3rd pregnancy the most comfortable yet. This program helped me find ways to prevent further diastasis recti that I had experienced before, as well as find ways to adjust daily movements practices to continue to feel strong all the way through birth and postpartum. As a prenatal yoga instructor and social worker, I appreciated Lindsay and Lauren's focus on mindful movement, alignment, as well as their inclusiveness of all the ways we give birth. Margot Strahl

  • I'm a mom of three, a doula, a yoga and fitness professional with over a decade of experience, and I love the OSM program. The exercises are simple and easy to follow. But even more, they are truly purposeful, with a clear focus on building strength and function for pregnancy, birth and life. The videos and the library of information have definitely informed my teaching. And at a fraction of the cost of most professional trainings, I  now have ongoing access to an incredible collection of resources. Moms in the pregnancy year and beyond, and professionals working with this population, will greatly benefit from this program. I can't recommend it highly enough. Melissa Gutierrez Nelson

  • Our patients love One Strong Mama. We notice that patients who are working through the One Strong Mama program have less restrictions throughout their soft tissues and muscles. Our patients who have dedicated time to One Strong Mama, do not tend to have many complaints or favor certain positions through their pregnancies. As we continue working on balancing their pelvis with chiropractic care and bodywork, having little soft tissue and muscle tightness it makes their visits with us further apart than other patients that are in our office. We highly recommend One Strong Mama to our expecting mamas! Dr. Jeni Massa and Brianna Bing with Sprout Chiropractic and Wellness

  • Lindsay and Lauren's work got me through my 3rd pregnancy. Their restorative and corrective exercises are easy to do, the instruction easy to follow, requires very little equipment, and can be worked into daily movement practices. I fee stronger than I ever have and cannot recommend this program enough to mamas! You don't have to be in pain during pregnancy, be a strong mama and live well! Laura Pladson

  • I had such an amazing experience with One Strong Mama and would highly recommend to everyone. Not only did it help prepare me physically, but also helped me process emotionally while preparing for my vbac. I was able to have such an easy birthing time as well as recovery postpartum thanks to the movements/exercises I learned. Jessica Anderson

  • Staying comfortable and active my entire pregnancy was priceless. What surprised me was how it stuck with me postpartum. Even when I ended up with a baby that always needed to be held! Sarah Schultz