Pregnancy is extremely stressful on the female body, even if it is uneventful. For the growing abdomen, they pull straight abdominal muscles apart, which later grow back together slowly. The resulting hole is called the diastasis recti.
You can feel them when you lie on your back. In addition, the pelvic floor suffers from weight gain during pregnancy, as does the (lumbar) back. “These are all things that women often have to deal with for months, sometimes years after giving birth,” says mother of two and sports expert Nini Uützer. “And most of the time, a rehab course is not enough to get in shape again.”
Attention pelvic floor: There is a risk of incontinence
As a rule, mothers do not even want to run through life in top shape, but will at least be pain-free again and be able to move freely. When they sneeze or cough, women often feel that something is wrong – because the violent reflex can easily make incontinence noticeable. “And if you do not take care of it, it can happen that you really become incontinent in old age,” says Nini Uuetzer.
This is best observed on the (indoor) playground: very few mothers can take their children on the trampoline. The pelvic floor can not hold the load, it feels uncomfortable. But it does not have to be that way, and it certainly does not have to remain that way. Like most new mothers, Nini Unutzer attended postnatal courses, but found that not everything is the same as it was before pregnancy: “These six to eight weeks of doing a few exercises once a week are not enough to get back in shape to get back Time is too short, and you usually have your baby with you, which you have to take care of from time to time. ”
Nini Uützer’s children are today six and four years old. After having her second child, she gained 20 kilos and always had a small “mummy belly” with her, ie a small protruding belly. “I thought for a while that everything would work out, but it does not. You have to do something about it. ” Not least because the business economist has looked more closely at what mothers’ bodies need. She has also completed various sports training courses specializing in postnatal training.
Three exercises put together specifically for the Berliner Zeitung
Since 2020, she has run a studio in Munich called Nu-Yu (pronounced: new you), where you can book special courses and personal training, also online. Price: drop-in time 16 euros; Four-week course 59.90 euros, personal training 150 euros, also via zoom. “Especially as a mother, you do not have much time to go to the gym, which is why virtual offers that can be used flexibly are a sensible alternative. The goal is for a mother to feel beautiful and healthy again after pregnancy, regardless of the weight and size of her clothes. ”
The sports expert has put together three exercises specifically for the Berliner Zeitung that quickly help get classic mother-body problems under control. “You have to repeat each exercise eight to ten times, then take a minute break and repeat it all twice more, ie a total of three rounds. The changes are noticeable after a few weeks, ”promises Nini Uuetzer. “You can start about three to four weeks after birth, but also years later when you realize your body needs support.” It is important that you avoid anything that affects the pelvic floor and abdominal muscles, especially in the first few months after. the birth or the back too much strain, eg sit-ups, heavy carrying, jogging.
Exercise 1: strengthening the pelvic floor
Lie flat on the floor, preferably on a mat. Then straighten your legs at an angle of about 45 degrees. Your shoulders and back are relaxed on the floor. Then place your hands on your stomach and feel it rise and fall as you breathe deeply in and out. “Now try to activate the pelvic floor while you exhale, by trying to pull your pelvic floor muscles together between the buttocks,” says Uutile. “It is almost imperceptible, especially in the beginning, because the movement is so minimal. Concentrate only on the pelvic floor and do not try to deliberately tighten your buttocks or leg muscles. “
Once you have built up this pelvic floor tension, hold it as best you can and continue to breathe calmly. On your next inhalation, try more or less mentally pulling your pubic bone toward your navel. Hold this for a moment and relax on your next inhalation.
The exercise also works while you are sitting: “Sit down on a stool or chair with your legs slightly apart and your back straight, but only slightly so that your sitting bumps are on the front half,” says the expert. “If you feel your buttocks, try to bring them together as you exhale and pull the pelvic floor together. Then imaginably pull your pubic bone against your navel and your navel against your spine. Continue breathing and hold the tension for a few seconds When you exhale, let go. “
Exercise 2: Closing the diastasis recti
This workout can be practiced lying on your back, on a chair or on a gym ball, as well as in a four-legged position, which Nini Unutzer here describes as an example: “When you are on all fours, you should make sure your hands are below your shoulder joints, and your legs are really only hip-width apart. The abdominal and pelvic floor muscles are very relaxed and the spine is straight. Breathe calmly in through your nose and out through your mouth, also as a ‘pfff’. When you breathe, the chest rises and your stomach opens. When you exhale, both are lowered again. “
If you do the exercise lying down or sitting, you can now place your hands on the sides of your chest. “When you breathe, your stomach relaxes and is very loose. As you exhale, activate your corset muscle by first pulling your navel toward your spine and then your shore arches – as if you were trying to close a corset. The abdominal muscles are tight. As soon as you feel a slight tension in the lower part of the abdomen, activate the pelvic floor even more by tightening it and pulling the pubic bone towards the spine. Hold this card and release the inhalation. “
Exercise 3: Tighten your stomach, strengthen your back
This exercise is not suitable for women with diastasis recti. If you feel fit enough to try it, make the movements slowly and with strength, not fast and with momentum: “Get on the plank and plant your toes so that the body is as straight as possible parallel to the ground. Important: The back must not sink, “says Nini Uuetzer.” And then it starts: Shoulders down away from the ears, pull the navel and chest towards the spine, pull the pelvic floor together so that the muscles are properly activated and tighten. Now hold for 10-30 seconds, breathe calmly. “
Anyone who feels safe and not sufficiently challenged can lift one leg, hold it for three seconds and lower it again. Then the other leg. Five repetitions per page makes sense. You can increase this over time.
Women with diastasis recti should train their oblique muscles. To do this, lie straight on your back and use a mat as a base. Then lift one leg up at a right angle and let the other leg stand on the floor – as if you are lying down on a raised surface, such as the sofa. Nini Uutile: “Once you have established this position, place one arm back next to your head and the other arm next to your upper body. “When you exhale, bring your left knee and right elbow together. The left arm stays seated. If you want to strengthen the exercise, you can take both legs up at right angles in this position and stretch them lengthwise. While inhaling “Return to the starting position. After five to ten reps, change sides. Then take a short breath and start again.”