Forum / Let's Discuss! / 5 Months Post-natal - Client can't find her core!

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On: October 27, 2014 18:05 PM
Dear Jen, I have a client 5 months post-natal (natural birth). She did barre training through-out her pregnancy and is now coming to me to help her get rid of her 'pooch'. She has returned to her pre-pregnancy size but is lacking tone in her glutes and core. Since I just attended Mary Bond's workshop I have been working with her on posture (she sits at a desk all day and I think the barre training has made her habitually 'tuck her tail'). She is very active (P90X, Flywheel, etc.) We have done pre-pilates work engaging the pelvic floor and TVA activation (supine and on all fours) but she says she literally cannot feel her center. She tends to suck in her belly (above her naval) versus activating her TVA and pulling the abs in and up. Is is possible that after only 5 months that someone has a lack of sensation in this area? I am signing up for your online post natal course, but I need some creative queues to help her. As always, thanks for your help!
On: October 29, 2014 13:29 PM
Hi Ann, This is a great question and a training situation that most of us have encountered or will guaranteed if you stay in the movement profession. First, you are right on the money about a number of different points and observations from your post. First , I am not a fan of the fitness ballet barre classes for pregnancy. But that being said I am sure there are some very creative fitness barre teachers out there who teach it to the pregnant population in a very safe effective way. I would love to hear from our community on this one and be educated about that. In my experience, the fitness barre classes give very few modifications for the pregnant client that are actually geared to keeping her safe, preparing her for labor and resisting the pregnant posture and therefore imbalance and sometimes pain either during pregnancy and/or after delivery. One of the common misfortunes of a consistent fitness barre regime during pregnancy is the emphasis on tail tucking and therefore tightness in the back of the pelvic floor and around the sitting bones ( not a great preparation for labor) and in turn a flattened lumbar curve. And the really troubling fact is that this posture doesn't disappear after the baby has arrived. With all the body and emotional upheaval, mama has to hold onto something tightly and it ends up being this dysfunctional posture. And if it weren't enough that this posture is first not attractive , second often creates lower back and sacral issues , third the dreaded "pooch" and forth ( the worst) creates a prime situation for prolapse of our pelvic organs. Two very important function of the neutral curves of our spine are to act as shock absorbers and be able to digest forces and also to protect , house and secure our organs in the proper place. When we reverse our curves, especially our lumbar curve we create a disastrous situation over time because we can no longer digest the intense Intra abdominal pressure and without the natural curve of our lumbar spine our pelvic organs slip back and down. ( Don't mean to be dramatic but maintaining the curves that are natural to the human body should be a no brainer and on the top of the list as far as our health and fitness goals.) So, Ann, you are right about her probably sitting on her sacrum while she is at her desk. She will never get her flattening TvA abdominals back with this habitual posture. It is brilliant that you are working on her posture and the pre pilates exercises and concepts. I suspect with what you are describing she has a split above and below her belly button ( diastasis) The fitness barre and the other traditional work she was doing overtrained her upper abdominals. Her outer corset is working too much for her. She needs to shed it. That will take some down training of that outer corset to get into the subtler activation of her inner corset. This will take a lot of brain work and patience on her part. She will not be able to ab crunch or tail tuck herself into the body she wants. She really should follow your lead. You are on the right track with her but it will take consistency and time. 5 months is not a long time and yes a lot of moms will still not have their bodies back in that short amount of time. If she is going to put a time limit on it maybe 9months ( but I would say more like 15 months). The post pregnancy online workshop as well as the practical release is the ticket for this client. I am also filming a foundational mat on sat that will also help a great deal with this population. The Female Pelvis by Calais-Germain would also be a essential resource. Thanks for being such a curious, exceptional teacher. I am very proud of you. Love Jen
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