My name is Natalie Hodson, you may have heard of me because of my expertise in the fitness industry, or perhaps because you have seen my viral video "Perfectly Imperfect" I made a few years ago showing the stretched skin I have on my stomach from delivering two ten pound babies.
Yes TWO TEN POUND BABIES!
Today, however, I’m going to break my silence on a topic I have always kind of tried to keep a secret because I was so embarrassed to talk about it.
I gained around 70lbs during both of my pregnancies which was a lot of weight for my body to carry.
For a long time after I had my babies, I really really struggled with accidentally peeing my pants during any type of exercise.
I even completely peed my pants one time on camera while we were filming for my company Dollar Workout Club.
I was mortified.
Any time I would laugh too hard, I’d pee my pants.
Any time I would cough, I’d pee my pants.
Jump on a trampoline...pee my pants!
You can imagine my embarrassment.
How helpless I felt.
On top of that, I always had lower back and hip pain.
AND I always had this bulging part of my lower belly I could NEVER get rid of.
It wasn’t until years later when I realized all these problems I was having were connected, and it was NOT MY FAULT.
And that's when I reached out to Dr. Monique Middlekauff who helped me completely heal all these issues!
And what she helped me understand was that while I was pregnant, I experienced what many women do during pregnancy which is something called Diastasis Recti and Pelvic Floor Dysfunction.
Now, if that sounds like a foreign language to you, don’t worry, I explain it all here.
Basically what happens, is that during pregnancy, your outermost abdominal muscles separate.
Your muscles need to expand in order to make room for your growing baby.
What can happen, however, is that the connective tissue holding those muscles together can thin and weaken as it gets stretched out.
This can create an issue after pregnancy if those connective tissues never get strong enough to bring your abdominal muscles back together.
What can often times look like a lower belly tummy that never seems to go away, could in fact be a case of Diastasis Recti where your abdomen muscles never properly healed.
Secondly, many women have pelvic floor dysfunction after pregnancy, and that is what can cause accidental leaking, pain during sex, lower back and hip pain, pelvic floor prolapse, and other issues.
You might be more likely to develop Diastasis Recti as a result of pregnancy if you:
- Are pregnant with twins or triplets
- Deliver a baby who has a high birth weight
- Have repeated pregnancies
During pregnancy, the growing uterus stretches the muscles in the abdomen.
This can cause the two large parallel bands of muscles that meet in the middle of the abdomen to separate.
Diastasis Recti might cause a bulge in the middle of the abdomen where the two muscles separate.
The condition might be noticeable when the abdominal muscles are tense, such as during coughing.
Diastasis Recti develops in late pregnancy, but is usually most noticeable right after delivery.
The muscle separation often lessens in the months that follow.
However, some degree of separation might remain decades after childbirth.
Diastasis Recti can weaken the abdominal muscles, cause lower back pain and make it difficult to lift objects, or even do other routine daily activities. Now don’t worry, this is something that can be healed even if you had your babies decades ago, and it doesn’t matter if you had a vaginal birth or a c section birth, and we can teach you how to do so by clicking the button below.
It’s important that you test for this because there actually are exercises that make it worse!
Understand that incorrect exercises, including crunches, can actually INCREASE the Diastasis Recti separation.
All corrective exercises should be in the form of pulling in of the abdominal muscles rather than a pushing of them outwards, as Monique and I demonstrate in our videos.
We used years of our expert fitness background, and Monique spent years getting her PhD, to understand the science behind the exercise routines that provide the best results.
Aggressive abdominal exercises, during pregnancy, and after the first trimester may also contribute to the development of Diastasis Recti.
Alternatively, there is always surgery.
Yet if you’d like to avoid expensive cosmetic surgery, consider letting me help you.
If you are like me, the day your babies were born was possibly one of the best days of your entire life.
There is nothing I wouldn’t do for my children, and I don’t ever regret the changes in my body because of those two beautiful babies.
I just wish so BADLY someone would have told me these secrets sooner so that I could have fixed the accidental leaks, had a flatter stomach, and narrowed the gap in between my abs.
I have been in your shoes, I know how embarrassing and frustrating it can be, and there’s no judgement on my end.
Let me help.