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What is Postpartum Pilates?

Pilates is a great form of exercise that is focused on developing strong core muscles. The core muscles include the transverse abdominis, internal obliques, external obliques and rectus abdominis, in order from inner most to outermost. We can think of these 4 muscles as a corset around our abdomen. The diaphragm sits above and the pelvic floor muscles below creating a closed cylinder of muscles which can contract to increase pressure in the abdomen or relax to reduce it.

After the stresses placed on the body during pregnancy, where muscle have been stretched for a period of months, it can be difficult to activate these muscles and for them to function as they did pre-pregnancy. Pilates is therefore very well suited for women returning to exercise after pregnancy.

What is Diastasis Recti?

During pregnancy the abdominal muscles stretch as the baby grows. A diastasis occurs when the muscles and connective tissues are stretched beyond their capacity and separate where they meet along our mid line, the linea alba, and this is called a diastasis recti (DA).  You can feel the linea alba on yourself by contracting your stomach, like if you are doing a sit up, and feeling above your belly button. If you can feel a separation, where you can place two or more fingers in, then you are classified as having a diastasis recti.

How can I improve my diastasis recti?

You can improve the appearance of the separation and improve the function of the muscle by doing specific exercises that target these core muscles. Having an assessment and following the guidance of a specialist physiotherapist will ensure you have the most appropriate programme to follow.

 What should I avoid if I have diastasis recti?

To keep things simple, avoid any strenuous activities that make your tummy visibly bulge out. This is a good indication that you abdominals have not been able to function appropriately to control the movement. You must only do exercises throughout which you can control your abdominals.

Things to avoid include:

  • Lifting heavy objects
  • Staining on the toilet
  • Abdominal exercises such as sit ups
  • Holding a baby on one hip
  • Sitting up and twisting to get out of bed

You will get stronger with a progressive programme of exercises and you will return to the functional capacity of being able to do all these things without thinking about how your body is controlling it.

Can I prevent diastasis recti from developing?

It isn’t possible to completely preventing diastasis recti from developing. You are more at risk of developing diastasis recti if you are overweight or gain more weight than recommended during pregnancy, if you have twins or triplets and if you have poor muscle conditioning going into the pregnancy. Therefore, to reduce your risk it is key to:

  1. Ensure you go into pregnancy fit and at a healthy weight, and maintain this during your pregnancy.
  2. Don’t work your abdominals too much. The best forms of exercise during pregnancy are full body work outs that do not overly focus on your abdominals. If you abdominal muscles become too strong they can become less flexible resulting in a higher risk of developing a split.

At Flawless Physio we are experience in pre and post-natal pregnancy Pilates.

 

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Very knowledgeable physio Team! Was in London on a business meeting and ended up visiting James for some urgent treatment on my lower back. Delighted with the service. James put me at ease straight away. His treatment was paramount in getting me through what was a hectic weekend. Could not recommend enough. Will definitely be back when in London again!
Funky Inflatable Co.
Funky Inflatable Co.
17:29 11 Sep 18
Went to "Flawless Physio" two weeks ago for back pain that I'd been carrying for months. Three sessions later, it's all gone! The staff was very pleasant, professional and gave me a series of simple exercises to do at home. I definitely recommend them. I'll be back, hopefully not too soon ;)
Charles Muzard
Charles Muzard
13:04 24 Sep 18
I was recommended to see James by my consultant following surgery to my ankle. He was extremely professional and knowledgable. He motivated me throughout the process and I have now returned to long distance running thanks to his help. I would recommend his services to anyone
David Burns
David Burns
19:32 08 Sep 18
Awesome team. I ended up having to seek out treatment when my back went into spasm (on going problem) whilst down visiting friends. I saw James and he was very professional and through with his treatment. More importantly he gave me a better understanding about what was going on and how to manage my injury in the future. Highly recommended!
James Tatham
James Tatham
08:03 20 Sep 18
I received treatment from Vicky for a very stiff and painful neck, possibly brought on by tension. I felt confident that my therapist was knowledgeable. The service was very friendly and professional and I felt good progress from the first session already. Vicky recommended some exercises and explained how to do them with very clear diagrams and instructions. I would highly recommend Vicky
Tiziana Guffanti
Tiziana Guffanti
17:23 29 Aug 18
I would highly recommend Flawless Physio. Excellent knowledge/treatment and also brilliant customer care - following up and giving advice. Tailored rehab to suit the type and level of sport as well as lifestyle. My wife & I have been treated by both James & Victoria and they have both been great. Will continue to use for any future injury & rehab.
Joe Gomes
Joe Gomes
19:11 30 Mar 19
I saw Victoria for my dodgy shoulder, and she was brilliant. Very professional And knowledgeable, she really took time to explain what was going on and to treat it. She followed up with me to check I was getting on well with the exercises. She is also really accommodating with timings for appointments. I couldn't recommend more highly, thank you Victoria!
Fiona Hall
Fiona Hall
08:35 27 Mar 19
First class. Had 4 or 5 appointments with Victoria that were always late in the evening, although you wouldn't know it. She took her time, whether that be on soft tissue work, explaining how to do an exercise, or the purpose behind it. A genuine person that wants to help and she clearly knows her stuff.
Jamie Moles
Jamie Moles
21:14 20 Jan 19
Went to flawless physio and vic was great! Training for a marathon and she was very understanding and helpful. Living in the Twickenham area so was in great location! Her specialist knowledge in knee injuries was able to get me back running in two weeks 🏃🏼‍♀️
Ruth Herlihy
Ruth Herlihy
23:44 25 Jan 19
I injured my leg (ITB) training for the Berlin Marathon and then made it far worse it by trying to run it. Victoria has been essential in my recovery, helping me understand how to strengthen the right muscle groups and get back to running. I have been very impressed by the depth of knowledge and insight. This weekend I will run the Cancer Research 10km. Thank you!
Paul Carpenter
Paul Carpenter
17:02 28 Jan 19
Really impressed with the service provided at Flawless Physio. Vicky was knowledgeable, professional and her invaluable treatment and advice got me to the start of this year’s marathon when I’d had to stop running with 8weeks to go. Without the advice and care I received at Flawless Physio, at best I’d have limped my way round the course and at worst, not been able to take part at all. Definitely recommend!
Katy Gomes
Katy Gomes
11:03 30 May 19
James helped resolve a hamstring injury that had troubled me for the best part of a year. I'll certainly use Flawless Physio for any future issues. Highly recommended.
Sandeep C
Sandeep C
18:02 30 Apr 19