In my first post about my diastasis—the weakening of connective tissue and abdominal muscle separation that can happen after having babies—I said I would report back to let you know how I was doing. My hopes were to close my 2 cm diastasis, and I needed the pressure of accountability. Quite honestly I would rather slouch around and eat chocolate chips all day. 😉
I am 3 weeks in I am still splinting and doing Fit2b tummy safe exercises to heal my diastasis after having 9 babies. Read this blog post to get the full scoop. And I’m not gonna lie, I do eat chocolate chips every day.
After baby #8 I began having annoying urinary tract symptoms. I constantly felt like I was on the verge of getting a bladder infection, whether I had one or not. Because of what I have learned on Fit2b about diastasis and pelvic floor health, I decided to take matters into my own hands and request a pelvic floor physical therapy consult from my doctor—just to make sure everything was OK after having 9 babies.
Ladies, my pelvic floor PT consult was life changing! I learned so much valuable information that parallels Fit2b teaching!
Here’s what I learned from my pelvic floor physical therapist:
1. My diastasis is closed!!!! Yay!
Are cartwheels tummy safe? Because I am so excited I want to do a gazillion cartwheels! Don’t let multiple babies or the number of years you have had a weak core discourage you. Healing is possible, and my pelvic floor PT agrees that my diastasis is closed! She was impressed with my connective tissue strength, and my core feels stronger than it has in many, many years. Don’t wait to take action. You deserve taking the time to feel strong and healthy!
2. My alignment is great!
Thanks to what I have learned from Fit2b, I know to keep my weight on my heels, ribs over my hip bones, and head in a neutral position with my ears in line with my shoulders. No tucking my rear under to make my behind look smaller, either. Sounds easy enough, but after years of ballet training my body automatically keeps my weight forward on the balls of my feet! Factor in 15 years of crouching over to cuddle babies, and my posture needed fixing. Bad alignment leads to a weak core!
3. I need to totally change how I breathe.
Fit2b does an amazing job teaching proper breathing and alignment to heal diastasis, but having a real live person evaluate me caught my mistakes.
Apparently, somewhere along the way in healing my diastasis, I have concentrated far too much on the pulling in of my transverse abdominal muscles. I’m not allowing my belly breaths to flow. Instead, I am kind of tensing everything up and my breath is getting stuck while I suck it all in.
My physical therapist explained it this way:
The diaphragm, transverse abdominals, and pelvic floor are all connected and should function together.
- With each inhale, my pelvic floor should relax down while my abdominals and diaphragm relax out.
- With each exhale, my pelvic floor should raise while my transverse abdominals pull in.
- Picture it as a flowing motion, like a balloon expanding out and then in. Out and then in.
I can draw in my transverse abdominal muscles beautifully but they aren’t communicating well with my diaphragm and pelvic floor. Here’s what I end up doing:
After sucking in my newly strengthened transverse abdominals (the fist squeezing the balloon) my diaphragm and pelvic floor are under way more pressure than they should be. To deal with this pressure, I am subconsciously keeping my pelvic floor tensed. No wonder I felt like I had a bladder infection all the time!
My PT informed me that I need to “Let It Go!” just like Elsa in Disney’s Frozen—both of our kids are obsessed with this movie. I kid you not, we broke into song as I learned relaxation techniques for my pelvic floor—have I mentioned how awesome my PT is? Ironically, Beth from Fit2B had just written this blog post about “Lettin’ It Go!”
After only a week of pelvic relaxation exercises (along with belly breaths), my bladder infection symptoms were G-O-N-E gone. This all may be a little TMI for some of you out there, but I know somewhere, someday, someone will read this and it will help them!
Since my diastasis is closed, it’s on to the next goals:
- I plan on belly breathing (focusing on the connection with my pelvic floor) while I am driving/sitting at traffic lights, picking up my kids, bending over to load/unload the dishwasher, and lifting laundry baskets.
- I still plan on splinting day and night for another week or so, then gradually weaning off of it.
- I am moving on to more challenging workouts on Fit2b, hopefully fitting in 3-4 workouts a week like Tabata Kick & Squat, Pilates in Pajamas, Hold It!, and Backside Burner.
Thanks for following me on my diastasis journey—blessings and healing to you all!