Monday, February 20, 2012

Beyond the Bump: The Tupler Technique with Kangaroo Fitness

I've started a few new and exciting programs and activities around Ottawa to support my growing bump and to prepare my body for birth and a new baby. This growing a baby stuff is hard work and there is alot of buisness that goes on behind the scenes!

I feel fortunate to have met some local business owners (many of them Mom themselves!) over the last year that offer amazing programs and I've jumped at the opportunity to try them out. First up is The Tupler Technique with Kangaroo Fitness!

I had the pleasure of meeting Susanne from Kangaroo Fitness in the Fall while attending one of her  information sessions on the Tupler Technique - a research based program that can heal diastasis recti. I was very interested in what she had to offer in her Perfect Pushing and Mummy Tummy programs and with a friend who was seven months pregnant at the time, I had the perfect opportunity to tag along and learn more.

From Kangaroo Fitness' website:

Diastasis Recti during Pregnancy
Most women develop diastasis recti during pregnancy. A diastasis will have an impact on your overall core strength including your pelvic floor, on the effectiveness of your pushing, on how fast your abdominals recover from an C-section, on how your belly looks after the baby is born and on how much back pain you experience during your pregnancy.  
The two halves of your recti muscle are joined together at the linea alba, a string of connective tissue. During pregnancy, as the uterus grows, that muscle lengthens and causes the two halves to separate. As the muscle separates, the connective tissue stretches sideways making it thinner and weaker. Now, instead of muscle, you have weak connective tissue supporting your lower back and your organs. No support for the lower back translates into more back pain and no support for your organs means more difficult pushing during labor.  
With diastasis recti your growing uterus is held in place by a separated recti muscle and stretched out connective tissue. Pushing the baby out is very difficult to do with a separated muscle. The uterus will tilt forward as the connective tissue cannot hold it in place properly. When it tilts forward the cervix moves out of alignment with the vaginal canal creating a detour in the baby‘s passage through the birth canal.

Susanne's program really appealed to me because I believe that strengthening your body during pregnancy is extremely important to prepare for birth and to help your body recover. I have always believed as long as you are healthy, pregnancy should never be an excuse for inactivity and that preparing for birth and post-partum should be treated much like training for a marathon as well as providing the best environment for baby to develop.

When I met Susanne I had my abdominal muscles checked for diastasis recti and although I thought I still had a significant gap, Susanne assured me that my core had returned to an almost normal state after carrying E. I could notice a slight gap between my muscles that would cone out if I leaned back, showing that I still had a slight diastasis and that I hadn't completely strengthened my core back to it's pre-baby state. Little did I realize that I was actually a couple weeks pregnant at the time so I would be meeting with her again in the near future!

I am now currently working on the 6-week program and in the first three weeks of the "Elevator Exercises".  When I first practiced the exercises I could feel other areas of my body trying to compensate for my weak abdominals.  At 26 weeks now and with my belly stretching out and making room for baby I could feel tightness in my lower back, upper back, shoulders and legs when concentrating and breathing through the exercises.  My belly button popped out much quicker this time around (a sure sign of diastasis recti) and my belly certainly cones when I crunch up.

I have finally put a full week in after having to start over a couple times. I must admit - this isn't a program for slackers! It involves concentration, breathing and body awareness and motivation! I have now got into a better routine of setting a timer and making sure I complete my exercises throughout the day.  The best part is they can be done at my desk while I'm at work and during my commute in the car to and from work. No more slacking!

I am really looking forward to seeing the benefits to this program which will include:
  • increase core strength for pushing baby out
  • strengthening my pelvic floor especially since it wasn't properly strengthened after my first birth
  • reduced lower back pain - I had sciatic pain throughout my pregnancy with E
  • proper posture and uterus alignment
  • quicker recovery and minimizing that post-partum Mummy Tummy
I am now much more aware of my body movements especially when getting out of bed or picking up E; making sure I am supporting my core and not using any forceful forward motions. After a few days of exercises I felt some pain in my lower back but that has now diminished as my core is strengthening. Near the end of my exercises I can also feel my pelvic floor really working - just like kegels! It's amazing how these simple exercises are really giving my body a full workout.

Stay tuned for more updates as I work my bump during the next 6 weeks and beyond!

Disclosure –  Susanne has offered me her services and materials in exchange for my written experience with her program. The opinions on this blog are my own. 

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