It can be really easy to think that we just have to ‘do kegels’ and ‘do more core work’ to fully recover from having a baby. But hold up! Our muscles do not work in isolation, so it makes sense that we have to look at the whole-body system when we’re coming back from an injury (like childbirth!).
Let’s look at the mechanics of all the muscles that go into postpartum repair.
In the Postpartum: Repair course we spend a lot of time showing you the anatomy of your work, so you can visualize the muscles you want to work and get better results!
The Pelvic floor
The pelvic floor is the foundation of your house! The pelvic floor sits in the bottom of the pelvis and keeps the internal organs lifted up.
The glutes have everything to do with the pelvic floor! The glutes are super strong and are attached to your pelvic floor. When your pelvic floor is weak, the glutes take over (but not in a good way). Plus, in pregnancy and postpartum, we tend to clench our glutes which makes them tight and weak..not a great combo.
The diaphragm sits underneath your ribcage and is responsible for helping you breathe. It’s an often overlooked muscle that needs a lot of attention during postpartum repair.
We get into all 4 of the muscles (it’s not just one!) so you can see how they relate to the rest of the system. Plus, you’ll see what the deepest core muscle looks like, which is key to true postpartum repair.
Here’s a more detailed look at your abdominal muscles:
Now: put a Canister On Your Base
Ok! Now that you are in tune with your pelvic floor and engaging your base, let’s put a lid on your canister.
Think of your midsection as a jar.
Your pelvic floor is the base of the jar, and the abdominals are the glass walls. The lid…is your diaphragm! It looks like a portobello mushroom and sits just under the ribs.
This “jar” makes up your core, which we call the abdominal canister. Did you know your core isn’t just your abs but includes your pelvic floor and your diaphragm? And this canister is essentially a pressurized system that helps your core function properly.
Want to learn more about why this lid is so important? Watch this video:
The pressure in your canister always wants to be balanced, and as we move around, the pressure moves from areas of high pressure to areas of low pressure to maintain this ‘balance’ – kind of like a balloon. Our bones and muscles have the job of keeping us aligned so the pressure stays inside the body, not ‘leaking’ out.
What happens with the pressure is off?
When the pressure in the canister unbalanced, outward pressure finds the weakest point of resistance, and in most postpartum moms that is in the abdominal wall (where we get ab separation) and in the pelvic floor. ‘Leaking’ can present itself as pelvic floor weakness, prolapse, abdominal separation and rib flaring – all of which we will go over in the next few modules.
Now, a visual for you:
Imagine a juice box. If you held a juice box in the middle and squeezed, the pressure would send juice out the top and the bottom of the box. If you squeezed it on one end, juice would surely come out the other end with a lot of force.
But if you squeeze it on the top, bottom and middle all at the same time? The pressure inside remains the same and nothing collapses in the box and nothing comes out!
Our job during this time of repair is to ensure that your abdominal pressure system is functioning 100% so you don’t get any leaks.
The first part of making sure your pressure is balanced is knowing where your leaks are.
We know this can sound daunting and even downright scary. These leaks are definitely worth addressing, but please don’t worry that you are falling apart or doing everything wrong. We can help you!
The first place to start is by assessing where you are. If you haven’t taken the assessment of your core and pelvic floor strength, you can do it now at the bottom of this article.
And if you’re ready to get started working on your pelvic floor and core strength right now, check out the Postpartum: Repair course and get started!