Resources for core & pelvic floor dysfunction

Pregnancy support bells, belly wraps, online exercise programs for pregnancy and postpartum... We have tried most of them. Scroll down for our recommendations.
 

Pre and postnatal online exercise programs

The three programs we have decided to include here shared a few things in common: they are all backed by pelvic physiotherapists, they are core and pelvic floor safe and they are integral, meaning that they not only pay attention to exercise but also to nutrition and provide some sort of support for its members. That said, there are some differences among them. Depending on your situation, your particular preferences or even your personality, you could choose one or the other. They are all effective, well developed and free of false promises.

 

MuTu System*

One of the few truly integral and sound programs out there for diastasis recti rehabilitation and general postnatal recovery. 12 weeks of exercise carefully designed to improve core strength & coordination respecting pelvic floor health. The program emphasizes the importance of nutrition (and provides thorough nutritional guidance), which is a fundamental extra. It pays a lot of attention to proper alignment, provides huge amounts of valuable information on all things diastasis recti, and has a wonderful and supportive community of mothers going through the program. All in all the most complete one on the market. One of the main reasons you can see MuTu here is because we have seen first hand dozens of success stories at the practice.

Strong points

  • designed for diastasis recti rehabilitation
  • Internationally recognized in the pelvic physio field
  • supportive community of thousands of "MuTu mamas". A non judgemental space full of love & good vibes
  • beautifully designed and full of tools to help you achieve your goals (cheat sheets, journals, an app, etc.)
  • lots of science based information available
  • focus on alignment
  • no splints

Weak points

  • in many cases you will still need the personal assessment of a pelvic physiotherapist to get good results. If you don't contract your TvA properly but you are not aware of it, or if you bear down when intra abdominal pressure raises, most of the exercises won't work. But then this is a caveat of every single online exercise program. 
  • It's not a program for athletes: it's a program to safely reduce diastasis recti & "mummy tummy", get stronger, slimmer and recover post partum. As such, it should be done as a first step before returning to sports. Don't expect much cardio, although the intensive workouts can get... well, intense :-).
  • It has gotten very popular over the last few years. For this reason it has become a bit less personal and specific, delegating the task of clearing up doubts on the private community. I believe they are now trying to solve this issue by training health professionals on the method worldwide. 

Pregnancy exercise (NZ)

Lorraine is an experienced personal trainer specialized in pregnancy and postpartum. Her programs are well known in the international women's health physios community. At Pregnancy Exercise you will find prenatal and postnatal programs, but also a very unique 2-week program to turn a breech baby with postural changes and specific exercises. Programs emphasize nutrition -with full nutrition plans for 3 to 4 weeks- and are full of sound information about pregnancy and postnatal recovery (including diastasis recti). Pregnancy Exercise is not as focused as MuTu on diastasis recti, but it is definitely part of the pre and postnatal programs. All programs are core and pelvic floor safe and designed to fit every stage of pregnancy and postpartum. Birth2Fit is the perfect program for the cardioholics out there: it includes core safe cardio workouts for postpartum. 

Strong points

  • both pre and post natal exercise programs
  • personal support by Lorraine
  • you can choose the length of workouts
  • core safe cardio workouts
  • good choice for sporty moms
  • lots of science based information available
  • no splints

Weak points

  • in many cases you will still need the personal assessment of a pelvic physiotherapist to get good results. If you don't contract your TvA properly but you are not aware of it, or if you bear down when intra abdominal pressure raises, most of the exercises won't work. But then this is a caveat of every single online exercise program
  • there's no focus on alignment. For us this is a fundamental issue on diastasis recti recovery that can make a big difference
  • Pregnancy Exercice programs are programs to be in shape during pregnancy and get in shape after, and do it safely. This is not a weak point in any way, but might not be the number one postpartum program for women seeking more specific diastasis recti rehabilitation help.

Mother Figure*

This is our no bulls&%t choice. Meredith, a bookworm personal trainer who had 3 kids and a diastasis recti tried every product/program out there, visited dozens of health professionals (physios, personal trainers, doctors, you name it) and read everything available to try to find answers to her "problem". With a very skeptical approach, she created her own program to gather the best of every method and discard the unscientific claims and false promises of most of them. But the best of Mother Figure is its focus on something that every single other program neglects: body image issues. 

Strong points

 
 
  • Evidence based
  • Developed by someone who experienced DR firsthand
  • Focus on small details that only pelvic physios would pay much attention to. Small details that can make all the difference for DR recovery
  • High quality information & educational readings
  • Focus on body image
  • Very affordable
  • Honesty, directness and truthful advice

Weak points

  • in many cases you will still need the personal assessment of a pelvic physiotherapist to get good results. If you don't contract your TvA properly but you are not aware of it, or if you bear down when intra abdominal pressure raises, most of the exercises won't work. But then this is a caveat of every single online exercise program. In her favor we have to say that she makes an extra effort to show you tricks to detect and correct this small but basic details.
  • It is a small scale program. It works. But don't expect spectacular designs, fancy meal plans, cheat sheets, etc. The nutritional part is mostly tips.
  • It's not a program for athletes: it's a program to safely reduce diastasis recti, get stronger, slimmer and recover post partum while learning to love your body. Don't expect cardio.
 

Prenatal belts & Post-partum belly wraps

The debate about wrapping the belly postpartum is a long one in the health community. There are some good points in favor and some good points against... We don't want to keep on with the discussion here. Let's just conclude that very gentle postpartum wrapping right after childbirth and up until 5-6 weeks after can be a good idea to help the body get rid of excess liquid and provide some tissue support. It can be very beneficial for moms that went through C-section: it allows for better movement and shorter recovery times. As for pregnancy, SI belts can be of great help to mothers going through pregnancy related pelvic girdle pain. Unfortunately, quality belts and wraps are not particularly cheap. If you want a reliable, good quality product, check the small list below.

 

The AB-Tank*

Postpartum Long wraps providing good abdominal and pelvic support in a very gentle way. Developed by pelvic health professionals.

Baby Belly Belt

Pregnancy SI belt Developed by Dianne Lee, an authority in pelvic physiotherapy. Very effective for Pelvic Girdle pain and immediate postpartumThey distribute to Canada and US, mostly, but they have a few distributors in Europe as well. Check the link to find one.

EVB shorts

Ideal sport shorts for moms who would like to resume training but need some pelvic and abdominal support. Click here to purchase and learn more


Reading material*


Apps for pelvic health

 

Bwom: evaluation; personalized pelvic floor and core exercises depending on results, and guidance. If you don't have much time and you want mostly corrective exercises, this is the app for you. It includes hypopresive exercises, a really strong point. Backed up by pelvic physiotherapists.

Rost Moves Mamas: tips and postures to avoid pelvic girdle pain during and after pregnancy by the creator of Rost Therapy, Cecile Rost. Simple and practical.


Zero drop & barefoot shoes

 

The Drifter Leather: custom made, zero drop shoes with vibram soles. Beautiful & stylish designs for a smaller price -and better taste- than the most famous barefoot shoe companies.

Vivobarefoot: Our favorite brand of barefoot shoes. Walking on Vivo's actually feels like being barefoot. They are pricey but worth it. Drifter Leather's designs are generally more stylish in our view, but the quality of these shoes & soles is quite unbeatable.

Vibram: The most popular brand of barefoot shoes. We haven't tried them, and aesthetically they seem quite unpleasant ;-)

Xero sandals: Affordable -and super comfortable- barefoot sandals. 

Merrel's: thicker soles than we would like to, but nice and somewhat affordable designs.

Lehms: if you only wear snickers and you want the barefoot type, try Lehms. Just mind that shipping costs to Europe can turn out to be quite high after custom's tax...

Bobux: for growing feet.

 

*DISCLAIMER The starred* links are affiliate links, meaning that if you buy a product through that link, we earn a small commission. Starred or not, any program or product reviewed here belongs to this section only because we can vouch for it. Because we have tried a list of similar products and this one turned out to be the best. If the product no longer lives up to our expectations, it will be removed. The commissions help us support the website. 

 

If you have a product that might go on this list and you would like us to try it, contact us