Post Baby Body

January 10, 2014

After months of back and hip pain, following the birth of my second son, my OBGYN recommended I see a physical therapist who specializes in pelvic floor rehabilitation and postpartum recovery. The therapist noticed I had a 2.5 finger-wide separation in my abdominal muscles (a.k.a. Diastasis Recti). She created this magical brace made of Lukeotape, pulling my muscles back together, from left to right and then right to left. It was instant pain relief. I could easily carry my children around and had no more back pain.

I was so amazed by this change that I went on Facebook and told everyone I know.

“For the past 8 months, I have had considerable back and hip pain. In short, I felt like an arthritic 90-year-old woman. I have been to several doctors and have been seeing a physical therapist for 6 months. Earlier this week I went to another physical therapist who specializes in postpartum recovery. She discovered I had a split in my abdominal muscles and she created a corset across my belly, made of therapeutic tape. It has only been two days (*knock on wood*) and I see a HUGE difference. I feel like my “old” self again. I can move with ease and even carry the 20+lbs baby around without back pain. If you are having pain post-partum, don’t wait to see if it will go away. It may be a “simple” fix.”

That first week with the tape was great. The therapist warned me that some people’s skin have a bad reaction to this tape. Mine seemed fine leaving it on for 48 hours at a time.

The second week, I was still seeing benefits from the tape. Every time I took the tape off, my back pain would return. Near the end of the week, though, it became harder and harder to remove the tape, as if it were sticking to me harder than before.

The third week, it was quite painful to remove the tape, but I saw such a great benefit from it that I grinned and bared it.

The fourth week, as soon as I put the tape on it hurt. So I didn’t leave it on very long. It had left a huge rash across my belly, that lasted the entire week.

I went back to the therapist yesterday, 5 weeks later, and my 2.5 finger gap is now down to “no more than one finger”.  So the pain was not for nothing. There was improvement! Not only has the gap become narrower, but it has also decreased in length.

The therapist told me that I could also use an ace bandage, so I tried it out today. It is working great. 

I was going to just post an update on my Facebook to my friends, but I decided this is good information to put out there on the interwebs. If you are having back/hip pain months after giving birth, find a good physical therapist in your area who specializes in postpartum recovery. You won’t be sorry.

Please do not put this tape directly on your skin. There is a white “cover-roll” that goes beneath it to protect your skin. I used the cover-roll and still had irritation. Talk to your doctor or physical therapist for full instructions!

Pregnancy and Childbirth

August 5, 2011

A friend of mine recently told me she is pregnant. (Don’t worry, I won’t name names). It brought back memories of my pregnancy and all the things I wished I would have been told about pregnancy before becoming pregnant. So here it is; my list of things “they” don’t tell you. Fair warning, I was not one of those people who “just loves to be pregnant.” It is a necessary evil.

  1. As soon as you make it publicly known that you are pregnant, people will unconsciously look at your stomach every time they talk to you. It is very uncomfortable. But to be fair, you have probably done it to other pregnant women.
  2. If you are a stomach sleeper, try to train yourself early in your pregnancy to sleep on your side. Though, if I remember correctly only on the right side. I think it is the left side that you are supposed to avoid because it could cut off your blood supply. (I know you are thinking now, “Oh, she was one of THOSE pregnant women…” Yes, I am a mild hypochondriac.)
  3. The sacrifices you make in pregnancy (caffeine, deli meat, wine, your body) merely foreshadow the sacrifices you make as a parent. (And I’ve only been going at it a year and a half… I know there are many more to come.)
  4. You will feel like you have an alien life-form growing inside you. Feeling the baby move (when it is big enough) is amazing, but when it gets to the point that you have a full grown baby inside of you and you can feel his/her elbow ready to pop through your belly, you will be shocked and horrified all at the same time.
  5. When you get into the last stages of pregnancy and you start having Braxton Hicks contractions and are wondering to yourself, should I be timing these? Don’t. Don’t start timing them until they start to become so uncomfortable you can’t time them. (That is what your spouse is for. If you are going at this alone, God be with you!) I had false labor pains for about a week and a half before I went into active labor. I obsessed over timing them, which only made them worse. Learn from my mistake. Don’t do it.
  6. So-called “pregnancy brain” doesn’t go away after you give birth. It takes a while to feel like your brain is fully functioning. I am now 18-months-post-partum and still have pregnancy brain from time to time. (Okay, I’m just absent minded.)
  7. You can read and prepare for childbirth all you want, but NOTHING will prepare you for how you will feel after giving birth. For some reason, I thought I’d be perfectly fine after delivery and I would be able to go back to normal movement. Several WEEKS passed before that happened. I remember going to my first doctor appointment after giving birth and she asked how I was feeling. I told her very sore and she said, “Like you just gave birth?” Well, yeah… now that statement makes sense.

Suggested Resources: 

I’ll keep this short. I have read countless books about pregnancy, childbirth, and child rearing. I tried to read a wide variety of them so I could be well-versed in the subject and could make an educated decision as to how I want to raise my own children. There are a lot of crazy theories out there. These are my recommendations on reading material:

  1. Dr. Sears Baby Book was by far the best pregnancy and newborn resource I owned. If I only had one, this is the one I would want. He is an attachment parenting advocate, so if that’s not your thing, he won’t be either.
  2. Mayo Clinic’s guide to a Healthy Pregnancy was very helpful, but beware, it was written by a hospital, so they include all the scary things that could happen, too.
  3. As far as childrearing goes (remember, I only have a toddler) my favorite “expert” is John Rosemond. His expertise is in child discipline. His books The Well-Behaved Child and Making the Terrible Twos Terrific have been “eye opening” for me (though The Well-Behaved Child is far superior). Even though he is a child psychologist, his whole stance is that (for the most part) child psychology is a bunch of bull and we should be “disciplining” our children with boundaries and common sense instead of trying to negotiate with rewards and punishments on charts. Everything in his books are based on common sense, not how are you going to screw up your child if you don’t do the right thing at the right time. He insists all parents should maintain the proper authority over their children and be comfortable in a leadership role. (Just to make it clear, having authority over your children doesn’t mean beating your child until they submit to your every wish.) In other words, he says the one phrase every parent should become comfortable saying is, “Because I said so” and meaning it. I really like him.
I know I am not remembering all the things I thought “I wish I would have known this before.” I need your help remembering (It must be that silly 18-month-post-partum pregnancy brain thing). What are some things you wish you would have known about pregnancy or childbirth?
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