Adventures in Postpartum Binding
A few years ago, I was outraged at the idea of a celebrity wearing a corset 24/7 in order to get her body back after having kids. Subsequently, I’ve learned about diastasis separation, the pelvic floor and that peeing your pants when you laugh or work out is not normal.
Let me repeat that – if you pee a little when you laugh, walk or exercise, you need to see someone to help restore proper function to your pelvic floor. Even if you’ve had a child or two.
Since I recently had my 3rd baby, I reached out to Samantha Monpetit-Huynh, trainer and co-founder of Bellies Inc. the inventors of The AB Tank. I have always been very cautious of my pelvic floor while working out, and am lucky to work with my friend and personal trainer Dara Duff-Bergeron from Belly Bootcamp, but I wanted to talk to Sam about the science of binding, repairing diastasis and when, in her opinion, I could start exercising again.
The first thing I learned is that Sam comes to your house to do a diastasis assessment! I learned that after 3 kids, I have about a 3 finger diastasis separation. I also learned that in order to heal my pelvic floor, there are some exercises that I can do that seem easy and not really connected to my core.
I thought I knew it all, but man, this was an eye opener.
Sam taught me how to properly do a kegel. Something I thought I was doing right (I was doing them about 50% properly), but most of us are doing wrong! She also taught me about core breath – and how to connect that breathing to my kegels and pelvic floor. Now, I thought this was all that any of us needed in order to maintain good pelvic floor health, but like all women who have had children (and many who have not – elite female athletes are also prone to pelvic floor issues), we often need support from the outside to heal the insides. And this is where Bellies Inc’s AB Tank comes in.
The AB Tank was created by the trainers and physiotherapists at Bellies Inc. to help support the core while you, the patient, work on the core from the inside out. The system is comprised of three pieces – two tanks (a black and a white-person-nude-flesh tone colour) and a stretchy band thing. You get two tanks in order to make sure you wear this thing EVERY DAY. To be honest, this is where I have the hardest time. I know that I need to work on my core and that the AB Tank helps that, but I think, psychologically, that because I know that my core is in OK shape (it still needs work and I really must get to my physio), I’m a little lazy with wearing it ALL DAY. I tend to take it off when I get home, even though it is generally comfortable and doesn’t hinder breastfeeding. What it does not do, however, is look bulky under clothing, which was a big one for me! I am able to wear the AB Tank underneath basically everything.
Along with your AB Tank system, you get online support helping you through your core breathing, and gentle exercises you can do to help rehabilitate your core. I think the whole system is pretty neat, and very gentle. Added bonus – once you learn how to properly do your core breath, you can use it as a way to keep you from stressing out when you need a time out from your kids!
Overall, I am pretty thrilled with not only the AB Tank, but also the little tips and tricks I received from my one-on-one session with Sam (I thought my posture was pretty good, but in fact, IT WAS NOT! Also, I have been sitting incorrectly, my entire life!). I wear my AB Tank about 75% of the time, and realistically, I think that if I had a bigger diastasis separation, I would wear it more regularly. I also find that because of my baby belly (the 15lbs of weight gain I’ll be starting to work on shedding), that the stretchy band shifts sometimes and makes for a bit of discomfort.
I have tried many different types of abdomnial binding and I have to say that for my long torso, I find the AB Tank to be the most comfortable and least likely to shift. I also didn’t completely follow Sam’s request that I not work out outside of my restorative core work for 8 weeks. She knows this, but she also knows that I’m still (mostly) following her instructions of things like no plank and really paying attention to my body.
My long term goal is to be running 30-40km a week again by next year, and not peeing while I do it, so I’m sure that using the AB Tank system, working with my trainer Dara, and focusing on my core strength will get me there. If I loose 15-20lbs in the mean time, too, bonus.
Tell me what you know about the pelvic floor and core strength and tell me if you have been to a pelvic floor physio.
Originally published on The Kids Are Alright.