Whether you are 6 weeks postpartum, 6 years, or 16 years, If we don't address it now, it's only a matter of time until dysfunction shows up. Core Specialist, Cheryl Coppa, is on a mission to help moms.
By Cheryl Coppa
We are always told as women after our 6-week checkup to just go back to life as normal. Resume your regular activities and even your desired fitness routines. This could very well set your core and pelvic floor up for dysfunction now or in the future.
Your body and your core and pelvic floor have just been through an amazing and traumatic experience. Your uterus started out the size of a shot glass, and ends up being the size of a gallon jug. This alone is going to take time and care to settle back into position.
Settle back into position, let’s go into this a little bit deeper to understand WHAT we have been missing and WHY it is so crucial.
"A whopping 50% of pregnant women will experience low back pain, painful sex, and leakage when coughing, laughing, sneezing or jumping. The worst part is that we have been told that this is just what happens after you have a baby." (Core Specialist, Cheryl Coppa).
When we are pregnant our center of gravity is shifted. Things become a bit off-balanced and our body compensates for this and starts to lean in different directions. Some muscles go to sleep altogether and others overcompensate. Of course, our abdominals are stretched to the max and we ALL experience Diastasis Recti (thinning of the tissue between the six-pack muscles creating a bulge), it's just a matter of IF it goes back to normal. For some of us, it does not without some guidance.
Our pelvic floor has pushed out that sweet baby (even if you have a C-section your pelvic floor has still been carrying added weight and pressure). Your pelvic muscles may have experienced tears and stretching and besides a stitch, not much else is done about it. After this, your body is left just as is. We are never told about HOW to bring our pelvis back into its natural alignment, or how to care for our pelvic floor muscles that have weakened or fallen into a space that is making them chronically tight that resulting in low back pain, painful sex, leaking when you cough, laugh, sneeze or jump. Prolapse (descending of organs in the pelvis) is also a risk factor. A whopping 50% of pregnant women will experience this.
This all sounds so horrible I know! The worst part is we have been told “this is just what happens after you have a baby”, and “your body will never be the same”. It makes me cringe. You might hear “just do your Kegels". Unfortunately, for many of the dysfunctions listed above Kegels could make your situation worse!
I work with moms and women over 40, and many of these issues if not educated about early in life, show up during peri and post-menopause. I have countless women seeking relief mid-life and beyond and we are just asking WHY is this information not given to us when we needed it most? Let's change this NOW!
Let’s talk solutions because your time is precious and so is your Core and Pelvic Floor.
Your body is an amazing machine, look what you have created and brought into this world. Your body can recover, you just need to give your body the grace and guidance to do so.
"Many of these issues if not educated about early in life, show up during peri and post-menopause. Countless women seeking relief mid-life and beyond and we are just asking WHY is this information not given to us when we needed it most?" (Cheryl Coppa)
Boot camps should not even be on your radar. Killing yourself with workouts WILL make this situation WORSE! Before you can hop into any kind of training program you need to RECONNECT your core and pelvic floor muscles and RELEASE them, they are most likely holding on to much physical and emotional tension. Then we RE-TRAIN your core.
After these steps are established THEN and ONLY THEN should you progress into a regular training program. Even if you don't plan on exercising, you are bending, standing, and lifting in your everyday life. Learn how to do it in a way where you are NOT working against your core and pelvic floor. If we can establish these basic steps, you can restore your CORE & PELVIC FLOOR to full function and longevity, so you do not experience all the dysfunction symptoms now or later in life.
At the Pelvic Floor Restore Program in Ola Ka Ola, we have a 4-PHASE process that we do with women 6 weeks postpartum, even 6 years or 20 years postpartum. Because, unfortunately, if this is not addressed now, and even if it doesn't become a problem now, it will show up later in life.
Let me take you through PHASE 1.
First and foremost we take a look at where your Pelvis is. It is most likely out of alignment. Keeping your pelvis out of alignment WILL result in dysfunction. Again, this shows up as constant low back pain, urgency (having to pee all the time), not being able to empty bladder all the way, leaking, painful sex, pelvic girdle pain, diastasis recti (bulging belly), and even sciatica!
This is NOT NORMAL! Don't accept this as normal if it is happening to you. This is dysfunction and you CAN fix it!
How do I fix my alignment?
This is the very first step we take clients through, and I will do my best to take you through it here. Go ahead and stand up and check yourself out in a mirror looking at your whole body profile from head to toe. Or record yourself on your phone so you can see. What do you see ?? Anything like the pic on the left?
Now let's make a couple of adjustments. Let's stand with our feet at hip distance apart. Find your perineum (this is the small space between your vagina and your anus ).
The best way is to just find it with your fingers and then push it back, so it lines up right between your ankles. It will almost feel like you are sticking your booty out. You should have a natural curve in your low back.
Now take another look at yourself in the mirror or record yourself on your phone. A couple of side notes here, remember EVERYTHING is connected. Since your pelvis has been out of alignment so has everything else! So there are other steps to get everything to come back to natural, but today we are focusing on the pelvis. Your pelvis is the center and really sets the tone for the whole body.
Take a peak at the videos below for a more complete explanation of how to find this position when standing and another when you are sitting (really easy).
Check your body's alignment - a tutorial by Cheryl Coppa
How you should sit right in your car - a quick tutorial by Cheryl Coppa
You don't have to be in your proper alignment 24/7. Just practice finding it and spending more time there.
Your natural alignment is your ears, shoulders, hips, knees, and ankles should all lineup. Now in this position, your pelvic floor and Core immediately have less pressure, and your organs have the FULL skeletal support of your pelvis. Now you can begin the next step of re-training. Also, notice how it automatically slims your front side.
Without fixing your alignment your core is disconnected and not functional. No amount of sit-ups or crunches will fix any of it! It will only make it worse. I don't use any of those exercises in any of my classes. There are far more effective ways and safer ways to train the core.
Your pelvis is the foundation of your core. This is why we need to reconnect and have everything in its proper space for the core and pelvic floor to be functional again.
Realign, Reconnect & Retrain .
Practice your alignment and be kind to your body.
Core & Pelvic Floor Specialist
Pre/Postnatal Fitness Specialist