The ‘Post-Baby’ Core:
As promised, this blog is a follow-up on last week’s – so please take a look at my ‘1/2/3’ concept of true core strength (if you already haven’t), as my definition of ‘the core’ differs from most. Additionally feel free to message me if you’d like to know more about our affordable ‘1/2/3’ sessions with Carlee to get this vital concept under your belt (pun!).
Or alternatively book in to see me personally if you have any of the issues discussed today…
Well, today’s subject matter comes to you with a bunch of personal experience which I think is really important. Sometimes you just have to have been there, and yep, I certainly have with three not-so-great vaginal births. No amount of ‘evidence based research’ can define that feeling of your stomach muscles splitting during late stage pregnancy (linea alba), your pubic symphysis biting each time you stand, or the sensation of your sacro-iliac joints separating as you go through the final stages of labour – all with an extra 30kg on board!
But more than this is the feeling many years later, that despite your best endeavours these joints are still unstable…
That every dead lift you do requires mental gymnastics to contract your core (1/2/3) so that these joints don’t move…
That your stomach, though deceivingly flat, has never rejoined…. That your pudundal nerve (S1/2/3) is still irritated and damaged with a pelvic floor that publicly defies the pull of gravity…
That you are reminded of this each time you attempt to get fit and lose weight…
Can you relate??
I think there are a number of new syndromes I could name that until recently I have never encountered – the first of these being:
‘I HAD A BABY AND STARTED BOOTCAMP’ syndrome of over-active psoas, sacro-iliac pain and its ugly sisters of ‘pubic symphysis’ movement and ‘incontinence’…
I love fitness and strength, and thanks to the plethora of personal trainers I get to work with, feel better and stronger than I have in all my life. But this training has also highlighted that in order to gain strength, I had to look at my body differently than before babies, and work with these differences rather than deny them.
In essence, I have had to train WITH MY BRAIN SWITCHED ON! When everyone around me is doing sit-ups, planking, squatting, lunging and skipping without thought, I am consciously contracting my 1/2/3 in order to lock my overly mobile post-baby pelvis in place. And this is six years since my youngest was born!
The core is never more important than post-baby, for when all is said and done, stretched ligaments are still stretched ligaments, a split abdominal fascia does not ‘heal’. The joints that opened during pregnancy and birth do come back together, though the ligaments are non-contractile and do not ‘snap’ back into place. There is always greater movement and less stability.
Though my stomach separation has come back together, it is still separated and does not work as one unit unless I contract my 1/2/3 when doing any ab work. If I slacken off in doing this, my rectus abdominis torsions my pubic bones and I can feel the pain and movement in my groin. However, with the 1/2/3 I consciously lock my pelvis into place, these side effects are lessened, and I have a strong base to work from.
So many Mums come to me with sacro-iliac pain and inflammation. And sadly, a great of percentage of these are doing boot-camps and exercise classes with no understanding that their body has changed. What worked before babies, sure does not work after.
I am finding that without the use of my 1/2/3 concept, a simple sit-up, designed to work the rectus abdominis, recruits instead a deep hip flexor (psoas). This spasms and pulls the already-lax sacro-iliac joints out of line, starting the process of inflammation. With time the nearby sacral nerves join in with referral of pain down the leg, sciatic pain, or increased continence issues. And sadly, that tummy is not any stronger as the wrong muscle was doing the work in place of the abs!
So yes, my friends, the 1/2/3 is vital for each and every one of you who have had a baby. There is no way forward without it.
And with C-section? Even more so. The incision you went through cuts through vital core muscles, so not only did you get the hormonal laxity in the sacro-iliac and pubic-symphysis joints, but have had to relearn how to contract your transverse-abdominis around scar-tissue…
So my sisters, I sure hope this hasn’t daunted your efforts to get your body in line with your strong mind. My advice is to go for it, but don’t push through any pain. Get your issues sorted. Learn the ‘1/2/3’ and utilise it each and every time. And let me know if you need help correcting the issues and dealing with your continence. Being a Mum is the greatest honour and achievement – you need a strong mind and an equally strong body to accomplish this!
Give us a call on 0400 284408, or visit our website at ‘physioandacupuncture.com.au‘ or FB page to book online…
Yours in ‘Solving the Unsolvable’
Elizabeth can be easily contacted via the following:
Email: [email protected]