I miss having six pack abs, don't you? Ha! Who am I kidding? I NEVER had a six pack!
What is diastasis recti? This is a gap caused in the abdominal area from separation of the abdominal wall. During pregnancy as the uterus grows, it stretches muscles in the abdomen. Within the abdominal area there are two large bands of muscles. This can cause those to separate and sometimes even be torn a bit. That leaves the gap we were referring to. To identify it a different way; the muscles that allow you to have a six pack - those are the ones that can and may separate. Some will notice a bulge in their stomach that makes it look as if they are still pregnant. This can lead to a hernia if not taken care of or watched by you and your specialist. Have you ever heard of women leaking urine after giving birth? This is most likely the culprit for it! Obviously this isn’t an everyday conversation. Diastasis Recti is more likely to happen amongst women who have given birth multiple times or had several babies at once. This isn’t just something women who have been pregnant get! Men and children can have it happen to them as well, after an injury or surgery.
Luckily there is a self-check you can do at home to see if you do suffer from this. It’s easily done by laying flat on your back, knees up with your feet flat against the floor. Raise your head and shoulders off the ground like you would do during a sit-up. Place your fingers on your stomach, right above your belly button and gently push. There is where you can feel the gap. There are different variations of this. Open diastasis, open below the navel diastasis, open above the navel diastasis, and completely open diastasis. There are ways to heal this though - don’t worry. Certain exercises should be avoided that focus on your core. No matter how right they sound, they can actually worsen the separation! Stay away from things like crunches, sit-ups, or planks. Avoid yoga poses that focus on your core. While it sounds like it should help, it doesn’t. All of these focus on tightening your abs alone, not pulling them back together.
A couple exercises you CAN do to help close the gap are flat stomach exercises (also known as transverse abdominus exercises), such as towel assisted crunches. Towel assisted crunches work by wrapping a towel around your abdomen with the ends in the front area. As you pull up into your crunch, also pull both ends of the towel up and together as if squeezing your abdomen. This pulls the muscles toward each other as you raise up, unlike regular crunches where muscles are only tightened. Most doctors recommend exercise during pregnancy to help prevent this from happening. Be sure to consult your midwife or doctor after giving birth to find out when this can be started, as you want to help your body and not cause more harm than good!
- The Placenta Pill provides professional placenta encapsulation, tinctures and prints to families in the Denton, Grapevine, Fort Worth and Dallas area.
Photo credit: KPP
Losing your hair shortly after giving childbirth is nothing out of the ordinary. This is called postpartum hair loss. It is normal and temporary. To give an idea of how long this last it can go on for six months up to a year. This just depends on the woman and her hormone levels. The amount of hair loss is something that depends on each woman as well. It can be very dramatic or very little. Any other time in her life, between 80-90 percent of hair person has is actively grown while the other percentage is in what is referred to as a resting stage. Once the resting stage is over, this hair falls out. You probably have noticed it before; during shampoos or simply while brushing your hair. It has been said the average women sheds around 100 hairs a day. During pregnancy, however, your estrogen level and hCG comes into play with the growing stage. The resting stage is prolonged. This leads to fuller, thicker hair.
Once baby makes its entrance into the world, your estrogen levels as well as several other hormone levels take a sudden vacation per-say. They drop in levels tremendously! This leads to more of your hair entering the resting stage, and within a few months, it is likely to notice more hair falling out when you brush or shampoo it. Not every new mom will notice dramatic changes during her pregnancy with her hair. Postpartum hair loss is more common among women with longer hair. If this becomes excessive seek medicinal attention as it could be something along the lines of anemia or postpartum thyroiditis which are treatable. I know you’re probably thinking… “Oh no!! What can I do to save my hair from this happening?”
Unfortunately, there isn’t a prevention but you can try different products such as hair thickening agents or mousse to make your hair appear fuller during this period. Do avoid heavy conditioners, these will weigh the hair down and not help the appearance of fuller hair at all. Have you always wondered why its so common for moms to get a shorter hair cut? Sometimes referred to as a mom cut? This is one reason behind it. It does have advantages of being easier to care for while having a newborn around!
After baby, make sure you are eating healthy. Foods to help improve hair heath would be anything dark and leafy for iron and vitamin C. Sweet potatoes and carrots are good as well for the beta carotene. Don’t forget to take your daily vitamins, too! Continue your prenatal vitamins as long as you are breastfeeding, and don’t forget to take your placenta pills!
-The Placenta Pill provides professional placenta encapsulation, tinctures and prints for families in Denton, Grapevine, Fort Worth and Dallas areas.