Got questions about postpartum fitness? Search ten websites and you may find ten different answers. Then there’s the books, the magazines and the videos – each with its own point of view. How does a mama know which to trust? When it comes to postpartum fitness advice, who’s the expert?
Needless to say, I’ve spent a lot of time researching postnatal fitness. We could say obsessing, but let’s not. I’ve found a variety of recommendations from trainers and fitness instructors. I’ve also found some conflicting information. What I haven’t found is a definite authority on the matter.
Doctors and midwives are well versed in matters of obstetrics, but don’t necessarily have knowledge of fitness training. Conversely, many fitness experts know about training, but not about postpartum considerations. You can find trainers certified in postpartum fitness, but quite frankly, that piece of paper is about as easy to get as a drivers license. I know. I have both. This is not to say there aren’t experts out there. It’s just tricky to decide who they are and which advice to follow.
My biggest question has been about appropriate abdominal exercises for flattening the tummy. It’s a particularly important question if your abdominal muscles have separated as mine have. (See Dec. 14th Post, “I’ve Come Undone”). If you’re curious too, here are examples of what “they” have to say and offer. You decide who to trust.
- Crunches may do more harm than good in the initial postpartum period
- The secret to a flat stomach is to rebuild the deepest abdominal muscles, the transverse abdominus
- Claims it’s a myth that separation requires surgical repair
- Says “manual splinting of the abdomen may perpetuate muscle weakness”
- Offers a video on postnatal core conditioning
Makes sense to me. Plus, the website offers detailed information to back up the recommendations.
Julie Tupler, RN (maternalfitness.com)
- According to Dr. Oz, she’s the expert on treating diastasis recti
- Recommends the “Tupler Technique” for closing diastasis. It includes splinting shown here.
- To learn the Tupler Technique, buy the book or DVD then sign up for the workshop or private sessions.
Ms. Tupler has a lot of impressive credentials and the price tag to go with them!
- The “Postnatal Workout” video warns not to do the featured abdominal exercises if experiencing more than 2-3 centimetres of separation
- Does not provide any alternatives or specific advice for treating diastasis
- A personal email from Andrea suggests that I could try “a hand on interaction called splinting”
Andrea has the benefit of both personal training and childbirth education qualifications. It’s disappointing that she does not offer more advice since she is really touted as a postnatal fitness expert here in Canada.
- This video does a decent job of explaining diastasis and demonstrating how to diagnose it
- Recommends only pelvic tilts & abdominal contractions if experiencing 2+ finger widths of separation
I don’t know who this woman is but the video is easy to understand
Samsara Pole Studio (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QBJcZpL1MAQ)
- Suggests considering surgery or pilates, depending on the degree of separation
- Emphasizes the importance of talking with your caregiver
This pilates instructor gives a long-winded but detailed explanation on how to diagnose diastasis. It amuses me to hear her talk, LOL.
Baby Center (babycenter.com)
From what I can tell, this site offers no advice on dealing with ab separation after pregnancy. Disappointing since they are such a “go-to” site.
- Offers a system called the Baby Belly Fat Loss Plan
- “Tone and flatten your baby belly in just minutes a day”, he says
- Warns that some exercises should be avoided because they can cause more damage
- Includes diet as a key factor for losing baby belly
This trainer claims to have postpartum experience. He alludes to the diastasis issue but sheesh, the website is one LONG sales pitch! This is the exact type of resource I’m skeptical about.
What recommendations have you found? Where/Who do you go to for postnatal fitness advice?