Binding, Nutrition, Exercise & Posture
Are you getting conflicting information about the best way to fix your stomach muscle separation after the birth of your baby?
It's important to get the healing process started as soon as possible in order for you to not only get back in shape, but also to prevent back and hip pain during your recovery. It is not unusual to get different opinions from friends and family but also medical professionals.
So let's have a closer look at the 4 main options that are often offered to women and see what really works. I will discuss the pros and cons of each one.
An old and ancient tradition of wrapping the stomach muscles to increase recovery and healing postpartum. There are now specific binders available which are more comfortable for women to wear and there are some that are suitable post a C-section.
Do they Work?
Using a belt/binder or wrap will work initially as it can help to bring the abdominal muscles together. It will also help support your torso during the first 7-10 days post birth. Following surgery it will reduce pain and help a women move around much easier.
How Long Should you wear it for?
Women will benefit from a type of binding post birth but you only really need to bind if your Diastasis is wider than 3-4 cm or you have had a C-section. I strongly advise wearing a binder asap post a C-section to aid recovery.
You should wear the belt for no more than 3-4 weeks reducing the amount of hours you wear it for each day over this time period.
The belts can feel awesome on as they offer support and most are now comfortable. Healing is improved and there is reduced pain following a C-section. Other benefits include assisting with shrinking the uterus, supporting internal organs the lower back and hip muscles, reducing diastasis.
Over wearing a binder can significantly reduce the the strength of already weakened abdominal muscles. Women learn to rely on the belt for support instead of contracting their own muscle belt.
How can good nutrition help heal a diastasis?
Poor nutrition along with excess weight gained during pregnancy will decrease how well the nervous system can connect with weak muscles in order to regain muscle strength.
An increase in abdominal bloating caused by either a food intolerance or excess weight will also prevent adequate contracting of the muscles. Diet definitely needs to be addressed in order to heal your stomach muscles.
Does it work?
80% of how we look is related to the food we eat. So the food you have eaten during your pregnancy and what you are eating now will definitely affect your results.
If you know you are still 10kg over your pre pregnancy weight then some of that extra pregnancy weight is going to be sitting on your stomach. So its not rocket science that you are still going to have a mummy tummy if you are 10 kg overweight.
Good nutrition also helps to promote cellular and muscle tissue repair, helping to heal a diastasis.
Good nutrition postpartum will help return your body back to its pre pregnancy weight, will reduce excess weight and abdominal bloating speeding up the recovery of your separated stomach muscles.
Need to be prepared and find time to make and eat it!
Exercise post birth is essential for you to regain the strength and stability of your 'core'. If you can't contract weak core muscles then you are putting stress on the spine and hip joints which can lead to all manner of pain and discomfort. 39 weeks of being stretched as baby grows has serious side effects. Diastasis recti is one consequence of the stretching and must be healed properly if you are to regain your pre baby shape and core strength.
Does it Work?
Yes with specific postnatal exercises women can completely close a diastasis and regain core strength.
Correct rehabilitation exercises done soon after giving birth will help heal your diastasis, promote better posture, improve pelvic floor muscle strength and general well being.
Finding the time and also remembering how to do the exercises may prove challenging. The wrong exercises like crunches and frontal planks will prevent and cause further separation.
Poor posture pre and post pregnancy will increase diastasis and prevent it from healing. If you go about your daily activities constantly sticking your abdominals out, the muscles are not going to knit back together.
Any benefits of your exercise program will be undone if you are not thinking about your posture.
Does it work?
Yes, thinking about your posture during the day will help heal your diastasis but this alone will not heal a diastasis.
Improves recovery if following an exercise program and can reduce pain.
Holding good posture alone will not fix a diastasis
What You Need to Do to Heal Your Mummy Tummy
They all work together in helping you heal your separated abdominal muscles. You won't see the results by just doing one.
Binding certainly doesn’t work without contracting weak core muscles and activating your own natural muscle belt.
Good posture can’t work by itself unless the muscles are strong enough to offer support to help correct alignment.
The best nutrition won’t help strengthen weak core muscles.
Exercise can be undone without thinking about correct posture.
Doing a combination of the above will ensure that you heal your diastasis recti. Depending on the size and depth of your separation will effect how quickly it heals.
Give yourself time to recover as it may take anywhere from 6 weeks to 9 months to completely heal. I would suggest you follow a specific postnatal exercise program to ensure you are doing safe exercise which will promote recovery and healing. Have a look at the 12 week postnatal exercise and wellness program Birth2FitMum on my website.
Further reading: How Binding Helps Post A C-Section