diastasis recti healing

The Second Stage of Labor: Pushing and Protecting the Pelvic Floor

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Contributed by Chantal Traub

Throughout the years of assisting women in birth, I realized that many moms are unprepared for the 2nd stage of labor. The second stage is when the mother assists her body by pushing the baby out. As a doula, I've heard many interesting stories about labor and delivery. I would find myself at the playground with my children or at a party and chat with a mother who would say “oh you are a doula, let me tell you about my birth!” Sometimes it is a beautiful birth experience, often, it is a story about a disappointing or a physically traumatic birth that led to ongoing pain with intercourse or urinary incontinence. A woman past childbearing age might tell me she had developed an organ prolapse or leaking.

During pushing, the muscle tissue in the pelvic floor will give as far as it needs to. Sometimes, this can result in a small tear, which eventually heals well, but could subsequently contract or atrophy due to the trauma and cause problems later in life. There are ways to prepare and protect the pelvic floor, for example: choosing the right providers, the positions you use to allow your baby to descend, the provider's patience at the time of crowning, your nutrition, and habits and lifestyle, and exercises that strengthen and tone the pelvic floor.

Over the years, I have talked with providers about better preparing mothers for the 2nd stage of labor. One of the answers that I'm given is that “she will figure it out while doing it and she only has to do it once, for her first vaginal birth, because pushing is so much easier and shorter the second time”. And I would think, yes that's true. The muscle strength and ability is there and there is a normal learning curve in the beginning of the 2nd stage, but...?

We, as pre-and postnatal providers, keep seeing so many postpartum issues, shouldn't moms prepare better? Wouldn't it be good to know beforehand how to strengthen your pelvic floor during pregnancy and before entering menopause?

In my workshop, you will learn how the pelvis and fetus interact as well as simple exercises to bring awareness to your pelvic floor. You will review breathing and positions for pushing, and I will offer you tools and tips to prepare.

One of the many ways to help tone the pelvic floor during pregnancy, post-baby and beyond is the practice of yoga. Below are some of my personal favorites. In my yoga classes, I will tailor the poses to your levels and abilities.

 

Chantal Traub is a certified doula, childbirth educator and yoga teacher who has been
assisting expectant mothers for over 15 years. She maintains the passionate belief that there is a better way to help mothers prepare to push more effectively and protect the pelvic floor during pregnancy and birth. Chantal offers expertise and guidance to
pregnant women who want to prepare for birth and beyond. She is certified by both
Lamaze International and the Childbirth Education Association of Metropolitan New
York and is a board member of the Childbirth Education Association of Metro NY.
Chantal runs a private doula practice and offers private childbirth workshops. She's a
mom of two children.

Postpartum "Rehab"

We are excited to introduce FPC's first postpartum class, "Rehab".  We LOVE the fitness scene, trying new classes and finding fun instructors around the city.  And as much as we love you, our goal is not to keep you at FPC forever.  Our mission is to guide you safely through pregnancy and rehab you post-birth so you can go back into the fitness scene with more strength, body intelligence and total confidence that you aren't doing anything to potentially harm your body.   

Having been through pregnancy ourselves, we recognize that getting that 6-week "OK to exercise" from our care providers provides a huge disservice.  Labor and delivery are a marathon and depending on the type of delivery you've had, your body may need some major (sometimes months) of rehab.  Unfortunately, our health care system hasn't caught up to our needs.  We feel every woman should go straight into working with a specialist in order to reconnect to her core, TVA and pelvic floor post birth.  And many of us also need to work on healing a diastasis recti, recover from a Cesarian birth or address any pelvic floor issues that have come up.  

If you've been down this road, you know that working with a specialist can be expensive and PT is not always covered by insurance.  Many of us give up and figure, oh well, these aches and pains, discomfort, tummy bulge, (insert any random ailment here) are all just part of being a mom.  

STOP right there!  None of that is true and we believe that in order for you for us to be the best moms possible, we need to first take care of ourselves.  Not to mention, babies demand a lot of heavy lifting.  We need to be sure our bodies can hold up to the task! 

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This is why we are introducing "Rehab".  It's the individualized care and knowlegde you would get from a specialist in an affordable, small group format.  This is the first step to getting yourself safely back into your favorite classes in the fitness world.  Your body will never be the same after pregnancy, and we don't mean that in a bad way.  We're here to help you honor the new you and teach you to be grateful for what your body has done.

"Rehab" is pre-crawler baby friendly so there is no excuse for not taking the time to devote to your healing and recovery. Whether you've had a Cesarian birth, natural birth, working through pelvic floor problems, or diastases, this class is safe and encouraged.  "Rehab" is taught by FPC co-founder, Joanie Johnson, who is a pre/postnatal corrective exercise specialist as well as diastasis and core consultant. We also work with women's health specialists and PTs and make further referrals as needed.  As with all our classes at FPC, you are in safe hands.