3 Ways Breathing Can Make or Break Your Diastasis Recovery
It was a case of “Dr Google strikes again”.
I thought "Oh crap!- My body is so messed up.”
That first foray into trying to fix my diastasis left me feeling lost and defeated.
The result from scouring the web for information on where to start?
I couldn’t even breathe right!
Up til then, I had no clue that my breathing had anything to do with my abdominal separation.
If this is news to you too, don’t worry.
I’m going to spell out why the right type of breathing is crucial to healing your diastasis and how it helps to support your core and pelvic floor.
(I've included some nifty tests so you can find out what's going on for you and start working on it right away.)
I know it sounds dull and boring.
Who wants to work on their breathing?
It’s oh so tempting to skip this step and get on with doing something that feels more productive.
Your breathing patterns can make or break how fast you heal your diastasis - or if it heals at all.
The right kind of breathing sets you up with a solid foundation.
Great posture and a strong, well functioning core and pelvic floor depend on it.
It’s a big deal for improving your diastasis, leaking or pelvic floor issues.
Here's the scoop on what you need to know.....
1: Breathing Mechanics
When we’re talking about breathing, what we really mean is your diaphragm.
Your diaphragm is the muscle at the top of your core pressure system and how it moves directly affects your pelvic floor function.
To heal your diastasis you need to learn to control your internal core pressure.
The wrong type of breathing pushes pressure out into your diastasis or down onto your pelvic floor. (Both shallow breathing or breathing into your belly do this.)
You need your diaphragm to move well to control your pressure.
Your diaphragm also connects into your stomach muscles
(the Rectus Abdominis and Transverse Abdominis) and through these to your pelvic floor.
If your diaphragm isn't moving properly, it affects how well your ab muscles and pelvic floor function.
Let me put it simply:
You need to have good core control if your want to fix your diastasis, stop leaking or work on your pelvic floor issues.
So it's worth taking the time to get your diaphragm working properly again.
2: Paradoxical Breathing.
Remember when you were pregnant and got out of breath going up the stairs?
Your baby squished everything up so your lungs and diaphragm couldn’t expand.
You couldn't take a deep breath even if you wanted to.
(Did you know your ribs get pushed up and out by about 4 cm by the end of pregnancy ? This stops your diaphragm from functioning properly.)
Guess what - your body can get stuck there.
Your ribs stay flared and you keep using your pregnant breathing pattern.
It’s called Paradoxical Breathing.
What’s happening is your diaphragm sucks upwards when you inhale instead of expanding down into your lower ribs.
Let's try a quick test.
Take a look in the mirror and take a deep breath in.
What do you see?
Did your shoulders lift up towards your ears?
Did your chest push upwards and forward?
Did your belly inflate?
These are Shallow breathing or Belly breathing patterns.
You’ll need to change how you breathe if you have either of these patterns as they're not helpful to your diastasis recovery.
Your next step is to find out how your diaphragm moves.
Take the test in the video to check your diaphragm.
If you think you have paradoxical breathing, don't worry.
Often focusing on it can be enough to reprogramme how you breathe.
(Make sure you check out the next video for a great exercise that will help you do this).
3: Better Breathing For Your Diastasis.
So how should you be breathing?
What you want is for your diaphragm to come down and expand as you breathe in so it can contact and help push the air out as you exhale.
You want to see your ribs, chest and back expand as you inhale - think opening 360 degrees
Ideally, your pelvic floor movement will match up with this.
The two should move in sync.
(Let's just take a second here to appreciate some 90's boy band goodness.)
Getting your pelvic floor to move in the same direction as your diaphragm is key to getting your core pressure under control.
(It'll stop you bearing down on your pelvic floor and making your symptoms worse as well.)
I find that having something to work against helps my clients to feel where their breath is going.
Watch the video for one of my go to breathing exercises to you get started:
Did you know that you breathe on average about 24,000 times per day?
That's a lot of opportunties to work on your diastasis simply by focusing on your breathing.
- You don't even need to get changed or break a sweat.
I know it’s not the most exciting thing in the world.....
But giving your breathing some attention makes a massive difference to your diastasis.
Want some more simple, quick and easy things you can do that'll have a huge impact on your core and pelvic floor ?
Make sure you get my free guide to take your Diastasis Rehab to the next level.