Monday, September 21, 2015

Myth: Twisting causes diastasis recti

When I became a certified pre and postnatal fitness specialist in 2002, my course manual said that twisting caused and worsened diastasis recti. Curious as to why, I scoured the sources at the back.  I couldn't find any backing up this claim.  I did my own research and still could not find a study that proved twisting during pregnancy could cause an abdominal separation.When I contacted the authors to ask about their source, they never returned my calls or emails.

I have seen this idea popping up again.  Genuinely curious to find out if there was now research to back up this claim, I again contacted the well-meaning individuals who were telling prenatal women that twisting would cause their abdominal muscles to separate.  

Guess what? Still no research.  In one case the author said it was her opinion and that moving forward she would make that more clear.  In the other case, the speaker said she wasn't clear and she had meant something else.  

Twisting is a normal movement pattern.  We need to twist in order to put dishes away, grab a file at our work station or pass a water bottle to our child in the back seat.  Gentle twisting during pregnancy flushes toxins, relieves tension, and improves mobility.  Our clients often sigh with relief as they gently ease into a twisting pose.

There is no research to support the idea that twisting during pregnancy can cause Diastasis Recti (abdominal separation). It is a safe position with benefits.  If a pregnant woman enjoys it and finds it comfortable, there is no reason why she cannot benefit from this position during both exercise and rest.

Monday, September 14, 2015

Myth: Pregnant women should continue with their pre-pregnancy exercise routine.

We read this a lot online.  

Where it comes from: The author is usually trying to communicate that it is safer for pregnant women to do things that they are used to.  This makes sense, but it is just half of the sentence.

Perhaps a better way to say it is...

Pregnant women should continue with their per-pregnancy exercise routine so long as it follows the guidelines for exercise during pregnancy.

and maybe add...

Previously inactive pregnant woman should ease into an exercise program that follows the guidelines for exercise during pregnancy
When we leave out the second half of the sentence we may be putting women at risk.  When we neglect to give guidance to women who were inactive before they became pregnant, we are preventing them from the many important benefits of an active pregnancy

There are specific guidelines for frequency, intensity, time and type for both cardiovascular exercise and strength training.  These guidelines apply to all healthy pregnant women with normal pregnancies.  Fit 4 Two recommends completing a PARmed-X for Pregnancy form with your doctor or midwife prior when making decisions about exercise during pregnancy.