What is the “Fourth Trimester”?
Should you jump right back into high intensity fitness after pregnancy?
Does your body give you signs? Warnings?
Are there common but not normal postpartum issues that often get brushed under the rug?
Can your body heal?
These are great questions to consider during and after pregnancy. Thankfully core & pelvic floor health for women is finally becoming recognized as an important part of the postpartum healing process. I’ve seen more articles and found more studies on this subject than ever before. Women from my mom’s generation didn’t have the amazing resources we have today to help heal, rather than “bandage” issues including diastasis recti (split ab’s) and incontinence or prolapse.
The “Fourth Trimester”
Elisabeth Kwak-Hefferan, a Fort Collins-based freelance writer recently wrote an amazing article in the January 5280 Magazines Health Edition on postpartum issues experience by many women. I am quoting some of her article titled “What I Wish I’d Known About the “Fourth Trimester” below, but I highly recommend reading it in its entirety.
Elisabeth quotes Dr. Julie Scott, a clinical associate professor of maternal fetal medicine at the University of Colorado School of Medicine; “We’ve thought of pregnancy as three trimesters and focused all our care on getting mom safely through pregnancy with a healthy newborn. [Now] they’ve realized that a lot of problems occur during the postpartum period.” ACOG (The American College of Obstetrics and Gynecologists) issued guidelines this past May  recommending more thorough care during what is now called the “fourth trimester” or three months that follow the delivery of a baby.”
Common Myth’s About Diastasis, Prolapse & Incontinence
These issues are normal so just accept it or have surgery:
A friend who had twins in 2014 was told by her OBGYN that “diastasis is normal effect of pregnancy and you can either accept it or have surgery…call me in 2 years if you still feel uncomfortable with it.” She hated the way it looked and the way it felt, she had lots of back pain, she couldn’t run…and yet she was told to simply accept it as a normal way of life after pregnancy. How many women are told this today?
Another pregnant friend just told me that she heard that anyone with diastasis recti had to have major surgery and she was scared. NOT TRUE, thousands of women have healed their diastasis split with simple corrective exercise…NOT SURGERY!
My sister was recently talking with a nurse and telling the her how most of the women taking my MUTU System™ Core & Pelvic Floor class at Goodson Rec Center had eliminated incontinence issues when they sneezed, coughed, run or jumped. The nurse said “that’s not really possible'“. Huh? Not only is it possible, but it is proven! You don’t have to leak every time you laugh too hard or sneeze. The body was created to help heal itself and with simple exercises & corrective breathing you CAN STRENGTHEN AND HEAL YOUR PELVIC FLOOR!
94% of mom’s participating in MUTU System with diastasis recti reported an improvement after using MUTU System.
92% of women who had experienced bladder symptoms including urinary incontinence reported an improvement after using MUTU System.
The sooner you get back into exercise the sooner you get your pre-baby body back
In her article, Elisabeth said “I expected childbirth to change my body. What I didn’t expect was how long it would take, and how hard it would be, to get back to normal.” She is saying two important things:
Healing takes time, be patient. After running just 7 weeks after a difficult birth resulting in a C-Section she said “In hindsight, running that soon was a terrible idea…”
The body can heal, regain functional movement & eliminate pain with good alignment + correct breathing + corrective exercise
Getting right back into running, sit-ups, crunches, planks and more can actually make things worse. You need to take the time to heal the body before jumping into these things. MUTU System™ is a proven, medically endorsed online program you can do in the comfort of you home that has helped over 50,000 women heal diastasis & pelvic pain + incontinence.
Read Nikki’s story about how she “wanted to get back to how [she] was”
Common but Not Normal Postpartum Issues
Diastasis recti - Experienced by 2/3rds of women after their 2nd pregnancy
Painful sex - Experienced by 21 - 36% of women after pregnancy
Urinary Incontinence: more than 13 million Americans suffer
Twice as common in women
42% of women have had it 4-6 years without seeking help
25% have had it for over 16 years without seeking help
41% of female athletes are affected
Frequency of incontinence increases with each pregnancy
Facts - Healing Diastasis + Pelvic Floor Issues
Most women with diastasis or incontinence have no idea the issues can be remedied though corrective breathing and exercises.
The body needs these three things to begin & sustain a successful healing process:
Correct diaphragmatic (not belly) breathing: Sarah Duvall, a PT with a focus on postpartum health says, “Most of the women I’ve seen post-prolapse repair do not have good breathing habits. They are usually in a shallow breathing pattern and will often hold their breath when they do anything hard. Ok, so this is another no-brainer, we need to get women breathing. But if we take it one step further, we need to make sure they have that great 360 breath so we get some back expansion. “
Proper alignment from head to toe: Misalignments (forward head, rounded shoulders, tucked pelvis) in the body cause compensation, shallow breathing, weakness & STRESS! Sarah Duvall also says, “Poor alignment can keep both diastasis and pelvic floor issues from fully resolving. Basically, almost all poor alignment patterns usually lead to shallow breathing or too much belly breathing. A shallow breathing pattern leads to an increase in the flight or fight nervous system response. Poor alignment literally stresses us out!” MUTU System’s online program has a huge focus on alignment and breathing which is why it is so successful.
Corrective Exercise: You must regularly do corrective exercises in order to fix your misalignments & improve you breathing patterns in order to heal diastasis recti & pelvic floor issues. Just thinking about “good posture” isn’t enough, your body needs new muscle memory and strength in order to sit, stand, move correctly AND to create proper breathing which isn’t possible with misalignment. Pain Free Clinic of Denver’s alignment program utilizes three amazing methodologies (MUTU System, Foundation Training & Postural Therapy/ Egoscue exercises), to help men and women reduce or eliminate pain & heal diastasis recti & pelvic floor issues.
Be encouraged! Healing can happen without surgery. Regardless of your age you don’t have to accept these issues. Take action today to get aligned, breath correctly and heal diastasis recti, incontinence, back pain and more! See Stasia for a postural evaluation on one-on-one one basis to find the root problem and learn corrective exercises designed for your individual compensation patterns , buy MUTU System, join a MUTU Core & Pelvic Floor class at Goodson Recreation Center.