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Suffering with Diastasis Recti? 30 Day Pelvic Floor CHALLENGE

Updated: Aug 27, 2021

Calling moms everywhere: Looking for a way to finally get rid of that baby pooch and stop peeing every time you sneeze, cough or laugh? This month is more than a fitness challenge it is your perfect opportunity to start taking action. I have created a 31 day pelvic floor challenge for the month. Strengthen your pelvic floor and deep core muscles with me this month. Let’s go!



Education about the pelvic floor…

Pregnancy changes a woman’s body. Some of the changes women experience are expected. You expect to get “the bump” and you expect your breasts to swell to prepare for feeding a newborn baby. You also expect that after you get through labor and delivery that your body will return to its pre pregnancy state. Once you hit your third trimester, you start to realize that getting your body back to its pre-pregnancy state is going to take some time and effort. Even during the postpartum period a mother’s body continues to change.


Diastasis Recti Abdominis

One of the most common health issues that affects pregnant and postpartum women is diastasis rectus abdominis (DRA). Technically speaking it is a mid-line inter-recti separation of the linea alba(2, 3), which basically means that the abdominal wall stretches so much that the connective tissue in the middle of the ab muscles rips and leaves a gap of 2cm or more between the left and right ab muscles.


The hormones that fluctuate during pregnancy (relaxin, progesterone, and estrogen) in addition to the stresses placed on the abdominal wall by the growing fetus, cause the rectus abdominis (more often referred to as the six pack muscles) to stretch and lengthen so much that the muscles are unable to naturally heal. Fondly referred to as a mom “pooch”, the 10-fold increase in the size of the uterus stretches the abdominal wall muscles to their elastic limit, weakening their ability to function as a stabilizer for the lumbar spine and pelvis thus altering trunk strength and mobility. This doesn’t have the greatest appeal cosmetically either; some moms call it a pooch, but the stretched abdomen can make a mom look pregnant for years after they have given birth. Diastasis Recti Abdominis can be treated and healed with the proper type of exercises. Exercises that cause the abdominal wall to bulge or the back to arch will cause further separation of the abdominal wall. Think crunches, planks, and sit-ups or any exercise that would require you to lie on your back and lift both legs off the ground like when you do v-sits. To start the healing process the focus should be on engaging the transverse abdominis muscle in order to pull in the abdominal muscles as opposed to push them outward. Then slowly the gap in the mid-line between the two sides of your abdominal wall and ultimately the gap will close as the muscles get tighter and stronger.


1 Minute Pro-Tip

How to engage your transverse abdominis?

Lay on the floor with your knees bent, feet flat on the floor, hip width apart. Place your fingers on your iliac crests (the bony part of your pelvis that sticks up on each side of your pelvic area). Move your fingers 2cm towards the middle and 2 cm down toward your feet to the fleshy area and press gently. To activate the transverse abdominis muscle, draw your belly button into your spine or towards the floor. You should feel tension under your fingers. while Continue to breath while holding the contraction for 10 seconds. Repeat 10-15 times.


Pelvic Floor Dysfunction

Another common health issue from pregnancy is pelvic floor dysfunction and weakness. Have you ever peed when you sneezed or feel like you can’t completely empty your bladder? That is just one of the symptoms of pelvic floor dysfunction.


The pelvic floor is a hammock shaped muscle group in the pelvic area that supports the bowel, bladder, female uterus, and rectum. They stretch all the way from the tailbone to the front pubic bone (Cleveland Clinic, 2020). During a pregnancy, pelvic floor muscles support the additional stress from a larger uterus size, extra weight from mom and baby during the pregnancy. The pelvic floor muscles are also affected and can be damaged by the delivery of the baby especially if it was a particularly long or complicated labor and delivery process. Symptoms of the pelvic floor dysfunction include:

  • Urinary leaking (incontinence)

  • Increased frequency of urination

  • Constipation

  • Strain or intense pushing required to pass stool

  • Lower back pain

  • Painful urination or inconsistent urine flow during urination


Living with a weak or dysfunctional pelvic floor can make a woman feel very insecure and self-conscious about her body. It can be extraordinarily embarrassing when you pee your pants every time you laugh or sneeze or try to return to the gym in the weeks and months after having a baby. Strengthening your pelvic floor will help alleviate and improve the urinary and bowel issues following pregnancy. Pelvic floor exercises, fondly referred to as Kegel exercises by most women, are meant to strengthen your pelvic floor muscles to prevent incontinence. Kegel exercises strengthen the muscles that relax and tighten when you go pee.


1 Minute Pro-Tip

How to tighten your pelvic floor muscles?

Either sit or stand and pull the muscles up and in to flex it in the same way that you would in order to prevent yourself from peeing your pants. Squeeze the muscle for 3-5 seconds and release. Repeat this 10-15 times. Be careful that you’re not activating the wrong muscle group. Check that your glute muscles and thigh muscles are not tightened. Avoid holding your breath. Tightening your pelvic floor should not limit your ability to breathe at all.


What are you waiting for? Come take the pelvic floor challenge with me this month.

You don’t have to be great to start, but you have to start to be great.” — Zig Ziglar

Monthly Challenge

The goal of the 30 Day Challenge is to strengthen the pelvic floor and deep core muscles by doing a pelvic floor exercise I created every single day of the month as a result, improving diastasis recti. Each day during the month I will post a new pelvic floor exercise. The challenge is to complete the exercise every day for the month. I will walk you through each exercise with pictures, description, tips, and/or video and we will do it together.

Join NOW The Mom Coach™ “on demand” to get access to this special challenge along with the one of a kind coaching program moms need to feel confident in their personal mom life journey. The program includes...

  • 7 + chapters

  • 18 + lessons

  • 10 + motivational videos

  • 35 + journal worksheets

  • Monthly Challenges

  • and More


 

About the Author

Helping moms build the engine needed to live their desired life.
The Mom Coach

Kelly Hater, owner of Mama Bear Domain, has over 15 years of coaching experience. She is a National Strength and Conditioning Association Certified Personal Trainer (NSCA-CPT) and has a bachelor's degree in Health Promotion from the University of Cincinnati.


She specializes in helping clients overcome mom burnout by empowering them to stop existing and start living. Her clients no longer let mom guilt steal their identity and goals. Moms deserve to be happy and live a fulfilling life. She personally has overcome overwhelming mom struggles herself and has first hand experience. Kelly gives her clients the accountability and support they need to take action. Go Join NOW The Mom Coach™ “on demand” for the proven program, monthly challenges, journal entries and more.




References:

  1. Sperstad, J. B., Tennfjord, M. K., Hilde, G., Ellström-Engh, M., & Bø, K. (2016). Diastasis recti abdominis during pregnancy and 12 months after childbirth: prevalence, risk factors and report of lumbopelvic pain. British journal of sports medicine, 50(17), 1092–1096. https://doi.org/10.1136/bjsports-2016-096065

  2. Boissonnault, J. S., & Blaschak, M. J. (1988). Incidence of diastasis recti abdominis during the childbearing year. Physical therapy, 68(7), 1082–1086. https://doi.org/10.1093/ptj/68.7.1082

  3. Thabet, A. A., & Alshehri, M. A. (2019). Efficacy of deep core stability exercise program in postpartum women with diastasis recti abdominis: a randomised controlled trial. Journal of musculoskeletal & neuronal interactions, 19(1), 62–68.

  4. Gluppe, S. L., Hilde, G., Tennfjord, M. K., Engh, M. E., & Bø, K. (2018). Effect of a Postpartum Training Program on the Prevalence of Diastasis Recti Abdominis in Postpartum Primiparous Women: A Randomized Controlled Trial. Physical therapy, 98(4), 260–268. https://doi.org/10.1093/ptj/pzy008

  5. Delavier, Frederic. (2006). Strength Training Anatomy, 2nd Edition. Human Kinetics.

  6. Cleveland Clinic. (2020). Pelvic Floor Dysfunction. My Cleveland Clinic. https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/diseases/14459-pelvic-floor-dysfunction

  7. Continence Foundation of Australia. (N.d.) Female Pelvic Floor Muscle - 3D Animation. https://youtu.be/q0_JAoaM6pU

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