During pregnancy the abdominal muscles can pull apart and create a gap (Diastasis Recti) as your uterus expands and your belly grows. After you have the baby, this can sometimes heal on it’s own, but often needs some help in the form of proper exercise and movement (tip: don’t just start doing crunches!).
Did you know you can utilize kinesio taping to support your abs during pregnancy and postpartum? I didn't...until I took a training and and was wowed with all the techniques you can use to have a more comfortable journey through pregnancy and beyond. I've even used it on myself and my "baby" is almost 4 years old. (By the way, when did that happen?!) Perhaps you've seen athletes taped up, such as in the Olympics. It wasn't just a colorful accessory. Each taping serves a specific purpose.
Kinesio taping uses flexible, cloth-like tape to gently lift the skin and allow better blood flow, lymphatic drainage, and decompress inflamed areas in the body. Basically, it makes room for your body to work more efficiently, and provides support for areas needing a little help. And the good news is unless you have a special condition that prevents you from using it - it's safe for pregnant and postpartum women to use. Just make sure to double check with your provider to get the a-okay!
Here are three main ways it helps specifically for abdominal support:
1) It provides gentle support during your pregnancy as your belly expands.
2) It supports the transverse abdominals(the deepest layers of abs) as you work with your body to help those knit back together after birth.
3) It serves as a reminder to you to be aware of how you’re engaging your core - keeping your awareness in how you move and use those muscles to provide the optimal conditions for healing! (And it can be more comfortable/convenient than wearing a belly belt - it stays on while you sleep, bathe, etc.)
Kinesio taping isn't a cure-all - it's simply a tool you can add to your repertoire of prenatal and postpartum care, for added care and comfort. It generally lasts up to 5 days, depending on placement and activity level. It's a nice addition to the things I can offer my clients; it's quick to put on, and low maintenance.
Kinesio taping can also be used for nearly every other physical complaint in pregnancy. Carpal tunnel, back pain, belly support, sciatica, edema, etc.
- Callie Corless, BBCI
aka The Swaying Doula