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How to Restore Your Core and Pelvic Floor Postpartum

A three-part series to recovery

Note* you can start pelvic floor exercise during pregnancy and any stage of postpartum. Always consult your physician before starting any exercise.

Here are some guidelines for you:* Remember all women are different and as such recovery is different for everyone. For those who were active before and during pregnancy such as myself, recovery is different and maybe faster.

0-6 weeks: Focus on the pelvic floor and gentle core muscle exercises, postural exercises, gentle walking, and stretching.

6-12 weeks: Postnatal yoga, low-impact cardio such as walking, swimming, and light strength training.

3-6 months: Progress core work and Pilates, gradually increase intensity and duration of low-impact cardio & strength training, introduce light jogging.

6+ months: Progress all of the above, introduce higher-impact exercises like jumping, running if that is a goal of yours. *It is imperative that you do not experience any vaginal heaviness (prolapse), bladder leakage, pain, or abdominal doming during or after any exercise.

Step 1: check for diastasis recti.

What is Diastasis Recti?

Diastasis recti is a separation of the abdominal wall muscles. It occurs when the rectus abdominis, also known as the six-pack muscles, stretch sideways, causing damage to the connective tissue in the midline of the stomach. Diastasis recti occur in a majority of childbearing women and results in a protruding stomach or “pooch” and functional pelvic floor issues, including back pain, urinary stress incontinence, constipation, and painful sex. Previous studies have shown that at 6 months postpartum up to 2.1cm (at 2cm below the umbilicus), to 2.8cm (at 2cm above the umbilicus), and up to 2.4cm (at 5cm above the umbilicus) are considered 'normal' distances. So potentially up to 3cm above the belly button is normal.

Step 2: reference the above guidelines and use these videos to assist in your pelvic floor recovery.

Bracing your core is essential for exercises that require stability, particularly weight training, where these muscles must work in harmony. Step 1: Lift your pelvic floor (the vertical line of the T-Zone). Imagine you’re: - Pausing the flow of urine midstream by gently lifting and squeezing your pelvic floor muscles up towards your belly button. - Zipping up an imaginary line from your pubic bone to the belly button and follow the zip upwards as you tense the muscles. Step 2: Activate your TVA (the horizontal line of the T-Zone). Imagine you’re: - Squeezing the imaginary line between your hips gently inwards to do up the button on tight jeans.

LEGAL DISCLAIMER: All information provided by GetupwithNards (The BodyLab) or Nardia Cunningham is of a general nature and is furnished only for educational/entertainment purposes only.GetupwithNards (The BodyLab) or Nardia Cunningham is not engaged in rendering medical or professional services. This is my own personal workout and may not be suited for you. This information is not to be taken in replacement of any medical or other health advice pertaining to any individual specific health or medical condition. Using this information is at your own risk. Please consult your healthcare professional before participating in or acting on any recommendation found in the content provided by The BodyLab or Nardia Cunningham (GetupwithNards).

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