Can you lessen the chances of your pregnant clients getting abdominal separation?
In a simple answer: yes.
Yes, you can.
Very easily indeed.
I’ve worked with over 1,000 pre/postnatal women, and over the past 3 years, I’ve seen a lesser incidence of abdominal separation in the clients who train with me during pregnancy, and return to exercise after birth.
Don’t get me wrong – there’s certainly the odd case of a client who meets me in her second or third pregnancy, having had no exercise history with me previously, who presents with a diastasis post-baby.
Was she certain she rehabilitated herself in between pregnancies?
Possibly, yes, possibly not.
And, sure you might have been taught to only teach your pregnant clients to follow a ‘maintenance’ program only.
That’s fair enough.
That’s the safe and effective answer.
Pregnancy isn’t the time to try something new.
Or is it though if it’s going to prevent someone getting abdominal separation, pelvic floor dysfunction or back pain?
Is pregnancy the time to build muscle, release tension, alter alignment and build better habits?
I’d say yes – yes it is.
Something I said in my pregnancy class just this week was:
“How your body copes with pregnancy, really depends on how much baggage you come to pregnancy with.”
Pregnancy doesn’t really cause abdominal separation…
…although it’s often seen as a postnatal ‘injury’.
I’m going to be talking a lot about pressure and the linea alba today.
Anatomically speaking, ALL of the core muscles connect indirectly to the linea alba.
This means that repetitive motions or chronic tension in ANY of these muscles (the obliques and transverse abdominals included) – can slowly deform the linea alba.
What habits should you be teaching your pregnant clients to enable them to avoid getting a diastasis?
Well, here are 5 ways pregnant women can deform their linea alba.
You’ll obviously want to educate them about all of these:
1) WEARING BUMP OUT IN FRONT
If your client stands with their pelvic weight thrusted out in front of them, this is not only going to compress the lumbar spine (ouch!), it will also strain the linea alba with all of that extra unnecessary load being applied against it.
And, if you as their instructor, never correct your clients’ standing alignment, or have a stern conversation with them about wearing non-heeled footwear, it’s impossible to ever correct that.
Love wearing heels in your trainers yourself?
Well – you’re not doing your own system any favours there (nor are you setting a good example for your clients either if I’m honest).
Most trainers/sneakers have heels. Don’t believe me? Check them out now.
This simple habit of ‘wearing the pelvis out in front of the body’ was already there BEFORE the client got pregnant, wasn’t it?
Maybe you don’t stand correctly either though.
That’s that bad baggage I’m talking about right there which isn’t pregnancy-related.
2) SITTING = STIFFENING
Maybe your clients have been sitting down at a desk for the past couple of decades, staying in that one position (mainly sagittal plane) for all of that time?
This means they’ve rarely ever really reached over (lateral flexion) or twisted (rotation) for the best part of their working life.
This static posture results in the muscles at the waist becoming so tight that those shortened obliques start pulling on the linea alba and probably have been doing so for years and years.
3) NOT JUST BUMP WEIGHT
Maybe your client has never really formally exercised and has a bit of intra-abdominal fat pushing through against the linea alba?
Another reason to do exercise to ‘get fit for pregnancy’, huh?
I’ll be back again soon with the next installment… in the meantime…
You need to know how to properly align your clients (and yourself), how to build them a reflexive core unit…
….and, more importantly, inform them about what movements they are (and aren’t) doing that majorly screw up their linea alba which can lead to diastasis recti.
I cover this and many more aspects, in the same fun, factual way in my Diastasis Detective ‘7 Steps To Fixing Abdominal Separation’ Online Teacher Training Program.
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