Under pressure…



I’m a massive Queen fan! And this great song always goes through my head when talking about diastasis and pelvic floor dysfunction. Any excuse to play a good song!




"...Pressure pushing down on me
Pressing down on you no man ask for..."

Pressure plays a massive role in creating and maintaining a diastasis, pelvic floor dysfunction, prolapses and hernias. If we’re not able to control the pressure in our tummies, or our intra-abdominal pressure (IAP), we’ll struggle to resolve or control these problems, and will likely make them worse.

Excessive IAP can come about for many reasons, including doing exercises incorrectly, or when we’re not ready for them, poor posture, poor diet or digestive problems to name a few. Even pregnancy; diastasis occurs during pregnancy due to the pressure created by the growing baby. See in the picture of me below, at the end of my last pregnancy; I carry my babies all out front- that creates a large amount of IAP, pushing on my abdominal wall, pushing the muscles apart. It is needed to allow the baby to grow. But we want to resolve it, or at least be able to control IAP, after the baby is born.




I have a fairly sensitive digestive system. A few years ago I had a nasty bout of food poisoning, which lasted 3-4 days, and never really settled completely. I’ve had full investigations and everything appears clear, so I think I’ve probably developed IBS (self diagnosed!). If I don’t eat well, I suffer with bloating and tummy aches. I’ve noticed since Mattie was born I’ve been…well…somewhat windy! This means that I have excess gas in my abdomen.


So…why am I telling you this??


I’ve recently taken a couple of photos of myself to track my progress while I rehab. I noticed in two photos taken a week apart quite a difference in my tummy. The first was taken at the start of half term, the second after. We went to my inlaws in Cornwall over half term and had a lovely time, including indulging in pasties and chips by the beach...as you do when you're in Cornwall. While the second picture was taken, I was feeling bloated and very uncomfortable in my tummy. Notice how much more my tummy protrudes in the second compared to the first?




So what does this mean for me? Whenever I’m bloated or have excess gas in my tummy (which is much of the time at the moment), this is causing an increase in IAP. That pressure has to go somewhere, and it will push against my abdominal wall, causing my tummy to ‘pooch’ out as you can see in the picture, pushing the tummy muscles apart. Because of this, no matter how many exercises I do, if I don’t address my bloating, I’m going to struggle to sort out my diastasis.

Resolving diastasis and other postnatal problems has to go so much further than doing a few 'quick fix' exercises. We have to look at the bigger picture.

In the meantime, while I work on this, I'm going to look forward to a child-free outing to the O2 in December to see Queen and Adam Lambert LIVE!! Excited...MUCH!


Anna Curtis is a fully qualified and insured Sports and Clinical Massage Therapist, and Personal Trainer, specialising in Pregnancy and Postnatal. She is owner of BodyResults and co-owner of TeamMama

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