T Nation

Post Pregnancy Advice


#1

hey all-
my wifes hips have really spread through the past two pregnancies. She is on her third and her hips have spread out even more. She wants to try one of these two product:
Shrinkx Hip Compression Belt
HipSlimmer post-pregnancy compression corset

she has also had quite a bit of ligament stretching in her abs as well so she is looking at:
Postpartum Support Girdle Belt

This is our last kid and Ill support her in anything she wants to do . . . but what I want to know is if any of these products will actually help her? The reviews on amazon and what not are pretty diverse. They are largely positive, but basically everyone says they are painful to use. I just cant help but feel skeptical.

Does anyone have any experience? are the benefits basically placebo?


#2

Spam?

If not time. Time and proper restrengthening of the muscles. A girdle would just make it worse IMO. Girdles hold crap in not strengthen or 'fix' anything. Also a placebo benefit? Ask her how that placebo works at the end of the day.


#3

Having had two children, I don't understand how compression wear would help with what you're describing. Seems like it would be contraindicated, actually. Is it really that your wife's hip structure is so much wider or that she's just carrying extra weight? I'd bank on the second, in which case she just needs the magical combination of diet and exercise.


#4

no its not spam - honest question here.

she is carrying a little extra weight, but not much. but her hips have widened to the point where her knees point noticeably to the side (like she is duckfooted, but she was not before having kids). the hips compression is not for cosmetic reasons, she actually attributes a lot of her knee pain to having had kids because of the way that her legs now are.

the stomach compression is for cosmetic reasons.

I can kinda buy the idea that repositioning the hips prior to relaxin leaving the system could help her. I just cant buy into the idea that the stomach compression thing will help at all.


#5

Is such thing possible? Dam. I have no clue re kids but if pregnancy seriously changes the hip shape and alignment of joints, thats something I would want to talk to a doctor about!

Beyond that of course we always recommend strength training in here.

Not um, garments? Unless they are for decoration.


#6

she has talked to her doctor about it, and has gotten two alt. opinions. basically each of the three doctors said that it happens to some women: learn to live with it.

there was a chiropractor who said he could fix her hips, but he was full of crap.


#7

adopt.


#8

Live with it is unacceptable advice. You are right to reject it. I don't know enough to offer further advice other than continue researching... and I can't imagine strength training could HURT.


#9

Live with it is unacceptable advice. You are right to reject it. I don't know enough to offer further advice other than continue researching... and I can't imagine strength training could HURT.


#10

Huh. Another reason to default to kidnapping...

Anyways. Don't have children so I can't speak to girdles and the spreading of abs and whatnot, but if the hip spreading issue has caused problems in her alignment, then I think that's probably the best place to start in terms of getting her to feel better overall.

I say this because you mentioned that her hips have caused knee pain (and rightfully so if she's duck footed now) - so you'd definitely want to have her readjust her posture and gait so that her knees can stop hurting. This will ensure good knee health in the long run, as well as allow her to start exercising more comfortably. So yeah, if the chiropractor can't help, then I would look into some sort of "fix your posture" type work, coupled with some other knee friendly exercise (swimming, bike riding) and some strength training esp for her back (I assume her her posture kinda meh too what with her wonky gait, etc.).

I've pimped out this book in the past, "The Egoscue Method of Health Through Motion." Personally its helped me a bit, not as much as I would like, but I think that's my own fault for being inconsistent. But it has some pretty sound advice re: fixing alignment and things like that. I mean, she does sort of have to learn to live with her hips having spread if that is indeed a normal, natural by product of baby making, so I suppose she has to teach her body how to live under this condition, no?


#11

I know during pregnancy women make a hormone called relaxin which causes soft tissues including ligaments to stretch (thus facilitating an easier birth but causing problems elsewhere).


#12

Sorry she's having so much trouble. I can't speak to the hip problems, but you mentioned "stretched ligaments" in her abdominal area.

Does she have diastasis recti (split in her abdominal muscles at the center line)? If so, this website might help. http://diastasisrehab.com/ They do recommend an abdominal splint to try to pull the muscles back together and let them heal, if the split isn't too severe. Also, planking to strengthen. Traditional ab exercises like crunches and leg raises will actually make it worse, and can widen her waist instead of pulling it back in.

I have three kids and had an umbilical hernia and diastasis recti after my third. Leg raises made it worse, and I ended up having it surgically repaired. Have your wife PM me if she wants to talk about my experiences with that.


#13

thanks for all the info, we do really appreciate it.

i agree that strengthening muscles will help regardless. However, even walking long distances is painful. Her knees swell up like grapefruits. there is a poliquin coach here in town that I am going to set her up with as well.

yes she does have diastasis recti. I can never remember that name. That is good information on the leg raises and crunches. we really had no idea that it made it worse, but a doctor did tell us that the only way to repair it was through surgery. almost a direct quote "you will never be able to do enough sit ups to fix this issue."

I guess I should also clarify that we are expecting our third kid at the end of this month. So she still has relaxin in her system. This will be our last kid, so she is seeing this as window of opportunity to "fix" things; so to speak.

"Diastasis Rehab Splint" sounds a lot like "Postpartum Support Girdle Belt". Do you know anyone that has used this with success?

edit

i guess the "Diastasis Rehab Splint" is part of a protocol, so it is more involved than simply putting on a corset like device


#14

The Tupler Rehab splint is super low-tech. You can use a scarf or piece of fabric that is approximately 5 feet long and 6 inches wide. Hers is made of terry cloth I think. She has you wrap your belly tightly with that to pull the halves of the recti together. Then, her rehab protocol basically involves breathing exercises that have you pull your belly button in toward your backbone, planks and plank-type maneuvers. NO pilates 100 type moves.

She has you roll to your side to get out of bed. Anything that looks like a crunch is avoided while you are trying to encourage the muscles to come back together. She'd probably want to splint her abs for a couple of months right after the baby. Tupler claims it can heal mild cases of diastasis, and minimize more moderate ones. I'd say it's worth a try. Even if it brings her split abs closer together, maybe her tummy will heal flatter. The compression garmet may help, but I wouldn't think it would pull the muscle together as well as splinting.

My experience. After baby number three I had an outie belly button. I had diastasis but I don't think it was severe. I could feel a distinct split down the mid-line when I did a crunch. My waist was about 24 inches. After lifting and doing LOTS of ab work my waist spread to 25 inches. At first I thought I'd just thickened up the muscle on my back and abs. NOPE. I had pain at the belly button when I laughed or coughed, and when I did leg raises.

The outie thing was much more pronounced. The diastasis leaves NO support for your belly button. It's the biggest cause of umbilical hernia in women. So, I had an awesome surgeon and when he fixed my hernia, he also sutured up my abdominals from above my waist, all the way down to the pubic bone. My waist went back to 23.5 inches, which is about where it was before kids. They will tell you the diastasis is cosmetic, but it is functional. You have nothing but a thin layer of facia holding your guts in. My surgeon was very cool to fix mine and call the whole thing a hernia repair.

I bought the Lose Your Mummy Tummy book after my surgery, because a PT recommended that I be careful not to do stuff that would tear up the sutures. MOST of her book is just really basic stretching and BW exercise like learning to squat your BW properly. I was sort of disappointed in that, but it did have some helpful tips.

Note: Her book makes only a passing mention to women who have problems getting their pelvis to heal back together properly. For pubic bone separation, they apparently also sometimes try splinting the hip area, and advises walking sort of like a mermaid. Also nothing that spreads your legs wide for a couple of months, use your imagination there.

You don't want to stand up while lifting something heavy, make love with legs wide, sit cross-legged, step over a child-gate, or even take large strides. In other words, nothing that would encourage the pelvis to separate while it's healing. I don't know if that's possible. That problem sounds like it can be especially painful. Best of luck.


#15

thanks for info. Ill see if the library here has the Mummy Tummy book.