Before having children, I thought I knew how to strengthen your core, after all, I taught Pilates and fitness for over thirteen years. But, as our elders know, the experience is the best teacher.
I dreamed of a natural birth; an idyllic setting would have been at home, with softly dimmed lights and my family with me. I was able to achieve most of these goals at Hudson Valley Hospital; hey, I had everything but the dim lights. With the guidance of the Northeast Doulas, I was able to birth my twins, Mario and Eva naturally. I could not have been happier.
Immediately postpartum, I began a gentle tilting of my pelvis. Now after two days of laboring and birthing twins an hour and a half apart, this was not easy. Changed forever, my body needed rest, and healing would take a very long time.
It took about six months postpartum that I noticed I had diastasis recti, a natural stretching of the rectus abdominis that may or may not return postpartum. All my education went out the window. I didn't know how to heal it.
I began by adding the Diastasis Rehab Splint from the Tuppler technique. The splint brought great awareness to my jack-knifing out of bed (remember I have screaming twins who would wake every hour), it also brought great awareness to my core and drawing it in when I was caring for these screaming toddlers. I began taking classes from physical therapists in NYC and Core + Floor Restore online to learn how to heal after the trauma of birth. Although my postpartum check-up was "okay" I knew something was not right. There was heaviness, a bearing down sensation in my bottom and digestion was slow. I knew I had to find the answer!
Forever changed, I began teaching my Pelvic Pow-HER workshop to postpartum moms and my more mature clientele. The Pelvic Pow-HER class has a foundation of Pilates, but I have taken out all of the flexion exercises. Flexion of the thoracic spine (think sit-ups and crunches), can encourage a bearing down on the pelvic floor and cause the abdominals to push out- not a look we are going for postpartum!
Tucking of the pelvis is common postpartum as well. We release the piriformis (a muscle responsible for tightening the hips) and encourage a neutral pelvis to engage your pelvic floor more efficiently. The lower back will find its neutral alignment and your core and pelvic floor become stronger with this new found position.
Incontinence is another struggle after having children. As the pelvic floor is never "released" postpartum, a stressed mom returns home to care for her new love and is never properly taught how to engage her pelvic floor. When the pelvic floor is lengthened and strengthened properly, and your breathing improves, incontinence diminishes. This strengthening of your pelvic floor can happen for a woman of any age.
My more mature clients have been dealing with incontinence their whole lives and just now, they are finding relief.
Please join me in my next Pelvic Pow-HER workshop to learn how to strengthen and lengthen your pelvic floor and surrounding muscles to decrease lower back pain, reduce or remove incontinence and feel more confident in your movement every day.
Warmly~ Tara Gregorio