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Diastasis Recti: how can Pilates help?

Updated: Dec 20, 2020

How can Pilates help a mom with Diastasis Recti?

Pilates is a rehabilitative movement practice that develops balanced strength, stretch, stability and stamina. This in turn improves skeletal alignment, efficient movement patterns, breathing, inter-abdominal coordination, body awareness, mind-body connections, and reduces pain.

Pilates focuses on comprehensive core development, with attention to connective tissues and neuro-muscular development.

The Powerhouse (think low ribs to upper legs) is unique and key to Pilates as a successful rehabilitation practice. Specific attention is given to the Transverse Abdominus, the deepest core muscle, and engagement of the pelvic floor. This is critical for post-birth Moms and in particular for Moms who face the challenge of Diastasis Recti.

What Happens to a Mom's Body After Birthing?

After birth, it can be difficult for Moms to feel their abdominal muscles, let alone engage them. Everyday activities like picking up your child, lifting them into the car seat, twisting to reach a toy they have dropped, are all affected by poor abdominal strength and engagement.

Additional emotional layers of trauma may be present as a result the birth or post-birth experiences. This too can effect a woman's ability to engage, sustain and utilize her core muscles.

Pilates helps Moms to safely reconnect and purposefully engage their full Powerhouse, including all the layers of their core and pelvic floor. Moms with Diastasis Recti need additional attention on how to heal the connective tissue so the muscles of the Rectus Abdominus can draw together toward the Linea Alba, with the support of the whole core. It is common for moms with Diastasi Recti to also need help with rehabilitating their intra-abdominal movement patterns.

Add into this the important work moms do cuddling, nursing, cradling, and comforting our newborns. A forward rolling of the shoulders, dropping of the ribcage and head easily result in skeletal alignment and muscular imbalances. This further compromises a mother's access to her core strength and places additional strain upon the back, neck, and shoulders.

Personalized Attention Along a Guided Path

Joseph Pilates is credited to have created 500+ exercises and a unique collection of equipment. He was a master of rehabilitation. He designed clear pathways for when a person is ready to progress to a new exercise and how to guide them along the pathway. His methods are tried and true. He believed deeply in providing each client with their own unique journey toward wellness in body and mind.

At Elevate Pilates we are committed to the work of Joseph Pilates in what is commonly referred to as "Classic Pilates." We specialize in working with post-birth mothers and active grandmothers.

Through our private one-on-one Pilates sessions women are given personalized attention along a guided path towards recovery and wellness. We teach women step-by-step strategies for quality core engagement and redeveloping important neuro-muscular connections that changed as a result of pregnancy and birthing.

Home Program: Your Micro Workout

It is important for post-birth Moms, particularly when breastfeeding, to work within a small range of motion, due to the hormone Relaxin which loosens the joints. At Elevate Pilates all of our Post-Birth Pilates exercises work within a purposeful and smaller range of motion. These exercises train the body to learn proper muscular engagement, reducing stress and over-work in other parts of the body.

Each Private Pilates session includes the development of a personalized Home Program. A set of exercises specific to each mother's needs, challenges, and goals. Nothing more nothing less than exactly what is needed this week for her body to rehabilitate, to mend the Diastasis Recti.

These exercises are not your "typical Pilates exercises" found in a fitness club because a post-birth body with Diastasis Recti needs a different approach. Many of our clients refer to their Home Program as a micro-workout, one in which they are able to focus on a small collection of exercises that builds genuine foundational core strength.

The Home Program is updated within each Private Pilates session in response to the growth and progress that has occurred over the previous week. At Elevate Pilates we believe in providing whole person care. As a result each Home Program takes into account the needs of a person's body, mind, heart and soul. Our goal is to help every client build meaningful soulful resiliency. We are passionate about supporting mothers because this in turn helps children, marriages, and families thrive.

To learn more about our Diastasis Recti Recovery Program with a supportive Home Program, check out our Post-Birth Moms page and reach out with your questions.

~ Helping you recover while you mother ~

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Diastasis Recti: what to avoid?

Please note, I am not a doctor. All Post-Birth Moms who have given birth recently need provider permission before starting a Pilates program. This article is for purposes of information, not intended to be medical advice. It is my personal recommendation Post-Birth Mamas complete a Recovery Program while also in relationship with their primary provider and (ideally) a Chiropractor who is trained to work with the needs of Post-Birth Moms.

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