The first six weeks (some say six months!) after delivering a baby are known as the postpartum period. During this time, your baby isn’t the only one who needs care. Your body has worked harder than ever in the previous 9 months and needs some TLC. There’s no better place to start than with your abs!
You are not alone!
After having her baby, Dr. Kiri’s body felt like a deflated balloon. Basic activities like rolling over in bed and getting up from the couch were difficult. She couldn’t help but wonder, “Isn’t it supposed to be easier after delivery?”
Listen up fellow moms! Your core went through a lot to get to this day, so give yourself some grace and check out these statistics:
ONE: Abdominal Separation after Delivery is VERY Normal.
Diastasis Recti, or the midline abdominal muscle separation, explains why women feel so weak in the first few months postpartum. 66-100% of women in their third trimester begin to show signs of Diastasis Recti! For those that got through pregnancy without abdominal separation, 53% of women get it during delivery. That is a LARGE majority of new moms!
TWO: Diastasis Recti is treatable with Physical Therapy!
Here is the good news! Specific retraining techniques including “deep core activation” have been proven to decrease abdominal separation, as well as improve overall quality of life!
THREE: Correct Breathing is your best friend.
“Diaphragmatic breathing”, or full torso breathing, is the first way to begin engaging those deep core muscles that will start healing the abdominal separation that can be a part of the postpartum period.
Here is an example exercise: Think about your core as a strong balloon, open ended on top. The top of the balloon, your chest, does not move. As you inhale, the balloon expands on all sides. As you exhale, the balloon lets the air out, doing so by contracting all sides towards the midline (or your spine). You can begin practicing this as soon as your new babe has taken their first breath!
What can be done during the postpartum period?
Diastasis Recti significantly alters the way your core functions, and for many women, it does NOT spontaneously heal on its own. Think of two people trying to hold hands from a longer than preferable distance apart. That is what your core muscle fibers are feeling! Diastasis Recti is also associated with chronic lower back pain – another common post-partum issue. It is important to talk about any concerns you are having.
If you would like more information about scheduling with Dr. Kiri, click here to contact us or call 373-2116 to reach our Patient Care Coordinators.
You can start working towards your goals as soon as 4 weeks post-vaginal delivery or 6 weeks post-Cesarean. Keep in mind; it is never too late to start your healing journey. You deserve it!
Dr. Kiri Krishingner, PT completed her doctorate in Physical Therapy in 2018 at Loma Linda University in Southern California. After graduation, she worked towards completing her Mat Pilates Instructor certification. Dr. Kiri is also a Pregnancy and Postpartum Corrective Exercise Specialist.