Nutrition and Healing

Sunday, October 23, 2011

1 Week to go - the Labor Push

Okay, I am down to the wire. One week, two days to go until my due date. Since the 6th week or so I have done at least 10 sets of 100 Tupler Contractions every day. I truly feel this has made all the difference in my pregnancy. Even more sets are recommended towards the end of the pregnancy, because obviously the growing uterus is giving you a constant forward forceful motion which tends to make the abdominal separation or diastasis wider. Doing the Tupler contrations, bringing "in" the transverse, fights back against this as you use your muscles to approximate the abdominals. So, I have been doing 12-13 sets (of 100), although I know I would benefit from 15x100.

With all these exercises, I have been strengthening my abdominals for the "marathon of labor" as well. I have practied using the transverse to push the baby out (done by bringing the abdominals back towards the spine and relaxing the pelvic floor). This can/should be practiced every day during a bowel movement, so this will not be something "new" to try during labor.

Last pregnancy I pushed out baby girl number two in just a few pushes - slowing down - so I didn't tear, but using my abdominals to push instead of holding my breath and bearing down - which is more likely to make the diastasis bigger, and pop blood vessels than give you a very effective push. I held a splint to approximate my muscles while I pushed, protecting my diastasis, but also for strength, since the muscles fire better when approximated.

I had a scare two weeks ago, when they thought my baby girl was breech, but last appointment she was not, and I pray she will be head down so I can use my trained abs to push her out.

Email me with questions for more info about training your abs for labor, and, if you are anywhere near Baltimore or D.C., I can train you personally before, during, or after pregnancy to teach you the tupler technique® to rehab or prevent a diastasis.

Monday, October 17, 2011

You are excused from Crunches!!!

Sit ups and Crunches -are NOT the answer!!

What if I told you not to do sit-ups or crunches? My sister in law had a c-section a few years ago, and her Dr. told her after six weeks she could start doing crunches. I cringed because I know that crunches or any exercise in which you raise your shoulders off the ground from a backlying position, will make it impossible to hold in your transverse abdominal muscles and give you a bulge out, right at the belly button. The problem is, there is a weak point in the connective tissue at the belly button and crunches can cause a diastasis, or separation of the rectus abdominal muscles. If you already have a separation from having a baby (most all women's recti muscles become separated as a result of the growing uterus when they are pregnant), than crunches will make it worse!!

So, what is the answer? The Tupler Technique®, which teaches you to pull the belly button in towards the spine in everything you do as well as specific transverse muscle exercises to start with to strengthen the transverse and bring the two halves of the rectus abdominals together, so the separated connective tissue can heal.

You must also avoid certain movements like jack-knifing in/out of bed and certain exercises which cause the belly to bulge out at the middle, making your separation worse.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Showing less in the third pregnancy, is it possible???

After contemplating why I was showing so early, I think I can attribute it to 3 things:
1) I was pregnant - thus, my body had extra relaxin to help make things nice and stretchy especially at any weak spots in the body, like weak joints or at the belly button where there is a weak spot in the connective tissue.
2) I was doing modified push-ups in bootcamp class - MANY of them! I was one of few doing girly knee push-ups, because I felt I could not keep my transverse muscle all the way the the spine (a key to this technique)0 while doing regular ones.
3) I was doing lots of PLANKS. I was doing them for 10 seconds because that is all I felt I could do and still keep my abs ALL the way in - and the instructor wanted us to do them for 1 min at a time!

So there is my formula Relaxin + push-ups + planks = full blown difastasis.

This is why I now recommend for all my clients to AVOID exercises performed in hands and knees or any bellydown position! You have ALL the weight of the organs on the connective tissue that you are trying to heal. All this weight on my stretchy relaxin filled connective tissue was too much and quickly gapped my abdominal separation. Even though I felt I could keep my muscles to my spine with my modified techniques, I could not keep the weight off my connective tissue.

I though I was doing better than the rest in my class - because when they did these exercises unmodified I could see their organs LITERALLY drooping towards the ground due only thin connective tissue over their organs instead of protective muscles.

Soooo..... to close my story, I have been extremely vigilant in my Tupler Contraction exercises, avoided exercising in a bellydown position, and I was showing LESS at 2-3 months than at 6 weeks! And, I continued to not show for quite a while, and continually recieved comments about this from those who knew I was pregnant.

Now, I am 8 months pregnant, and although VERY short torsoed, I still get comments about my belly being small. I would definitely attribute this to the exercises and splinting this ENTIRE pregnancy. This has made SUCH a diffference!! I have had much less uterine ligament twinges/pain as well. My back has felt better, and I have not had trouble rolling over in bed like in past pregnancies, as the splint gives me great support.

Usually pregnant women show more and sooner with each pregnancy, and the ONLY way I know to reverse that is the TUPLER TECHNIQUE® which is what I teach here at Reclaim Your Core!

Did I cause my own Diastasis with exercises?

Why are you so small, and you are 8 months pregnant!? I have gotten this question a lot this pregnancy, maybe because I just moved into a new area, and people are super nice here (I am sure this has A LOT to do with it), but I give MUCH of the credit to the Tupler Technique®. The Tupler Technique® is a program designed to heal the diastasis, or bring the separated rectus abdominal muscles (that separated during pregnancy) back together. By the way, the separation tends to get worse with each pregnancy. The tupler technique® includes very specific exercises to perform to bring that separation back together, and many movements and exercises to avoid so as not to make the separation worse or keep it from healing.

Sooooo...... I am giving credit to my belly being smaller this pregnancy to performing the Tupler Technique® exercises.


Here is my story this pregnancy: To get through the winter blahs and keep myself moving, I started going to the gym on base. I was recruited by some ladies to go to a Mommy Bootcamp class held 4 days/week. I had known about this class for a year and a half, and decided it was about time to try it out. There were many exercises in the class that I had to modify to avoid making/creating diastasis (i.e) crunches, double leg raises, bicycle and cross-over ab ex's, but I enjoyed the resistance work outs, the running on the track, and socializing with the l

adies. Plus, there was a t-shirt incentive that kept me going to class o the days I didn't feel like it.

Well, by the end of February, my husband and I were THRILLED to learn we were pregnant! But, by mid to end march, I was already starting to "show"!

What! The baby was smaller than a spanish peanut, why was I showing???!! Reluctantly I checked my diastasis, to see how wide it might be. Five finger widths wide was my answer!

Appalled this happened so fast and furiously I jumped into the Tupler exercises full throttle, performing my 10 sets of 100 contractions/day and started wearing my splint religiously. I took a break from the Boot-camp class and focused on the Tupler's and running. Within 2 weeks, I had closed my diastasis (the gap between my recti (abs) to a very shallow 3 fingers wide in the middle and 2 at the top and bottom.

Of course, when I found out my diastasis was 5 fingerwidths I pondered just what had gone wrong????? After all, I was educated and educated others on how to close and maintain a healed diastasis! I have been teaching this to women for years. To be continued .......