Let's Talk about Pelvic Floor Exercises, Diastasis Recti, and Holistic Approaches to Infertility with Dr. Lizzie Kieffer, DPT

Show Notes:

[1:10] Our reviewer of the week, MadStidham, says: “At 33 weeks pregnant I realized “Holy cow, I really don’t like some of the things that went down with my first labor/delivery,” and I started trying to find resources on natural hospital births. Enter this podcast! I started listening about a week ago (I am almost 36 weeks at this point). I am SOOOO happy I found this podcast, it’s exactly what I was looking for and I feel more informed and excited about my birth with each listen! I’m confident that I can have the birth I want!”

You guys, these are the reviews I live for! By the time this episode airs, you will have had your baby, and I hope you share your birth story with me and our listeners! 💜

We tend to think of pelvic floor exercises as something you do postpartum. This week's guest, Dr. Lizzie, DPT, talks about how crucial it is to prepare your body before and during pregnancy! We talk about pelvic floor therapy, diastasis recti, and infertility. You'll want to listen in for the incredibly helpful information in this episode! 🤩

[2:00] My guest this week is Lizzie Kieffer. She is a physical therapist specializing in pregnancy, postpartum, and fertility. We often think of physical therapy or pelvic floor therapy as a postpartum thing, but there are some things we should be doing right now or can be doing during pregnancy to set us up for a better postpartum period. 🤱🏼

[2:30] Lizzie is a pelvic floor physical therapist. She has found her passion in women’s health. When she was thinking about opening her own practice, she heard from her sister, friends, and family about things that happen during and after pregnancy, she knew she could help! 🙋🏼‍♀️

[4:38] What is pelvic floor therapy? They’re looking at your pelvis, pelvic floor muscles, muscles above and below, bone structure, mechanics and physiology, why you’re having these issues. She does a physical assessment of the pelvis and an optional internal assessment. They recommend exercises and lifestyle modifications. Moms need to hear that it’s common that they may experience incontinence or pain during intercourse. 😖

[6:34] The majority of our listeners are pregnant. How can pelvic floor exercises help prepare your body during pregnancy? There is a lot of pressure being placed on your organs and pelvic floor. Strength training for the entire body is HUGE! That will help you through pregnancy AND labor and delivery. Deep core work and relaxation also play a vital role. 💪🏼

[8:06] Moms may experience “lightning crotch” or “pubic symphysis dysfunction,” which is when the joint right at your pubic symphysis becomes painful due to motions like rolling over in bed. By working on leg strengthening (lunges, specific deadlifts, etc.), you can prevent that from happening. ⚡️

[9:03] I tell moms to check for diastasis recti (DR) after pregnancy, which is the separation of your abdominal muscles. After pregnancy, your abs are very weak. Moms ask all the time how they can prevent it from happening. There are things you can do to help prevent the severity of DR so working your transverse abdominus muscles will help set you up for your postpartum healing phase. You can do this by diaphragmatic breathing, low resistance exercises for your deep core, and functional activities. 😮‍💨

[11:38] Pretty much all women going past 35 weeks of pregnancy will experience diastasis recti. It is absolutely something that can be worked on with consistency and effort! 💯

[13:09] For a mom who has a small gap due to DR, how long would it take to heal postpartum. If you have 1-2 fingers separation, some people may heal within a few months. For others, it would remain that 1-2 fingers and include needing to do diaphragmatic breathing. If you have a 4-5 finger gap, you can still heal your DR. It will take time and effort, but you can heal it without surgery. You want to do the work to heal your core if surgery is absolutely necessary. You’re looking at months not weeks for healing. Give yourself nine months to a year. You’ll need to consistently put in the work! 🗓️

[15:56] What is Mercier Therapy? It’s a holistic and hands-on approach to fertility issues. With your hands, you’re working on the uterus, ovaries, abdomen, and surrounding tissues. They are working to improve the blood flow, circulation, and mobility of those organs. It can be used to address endometriosis, PCOS, unexplained infertility. This is something Lizzie does currently in her practice. 🩸

[18:47] I talk about experiencing unexplained secondary infertility, and Lizzie shares about her infertility journey as well. ❤️‍🩹

[23:50] For pregnant moms, what are things you can do right now to help prepare for birth? Around week 36, work on mental and physical attachment to your breath work. Pick a few positions that feel really good for you (like a deep squat or child’s pose) and work on relaxing your pelvic floor. As you go through contractions, we want those muscles to open and relax so baby can enter the world. By practicing ahead of time, your body is so much more prepared. 🏃🏻‍♀️

[26:02] Breathe in for four seconds, out for eight seconds. Expand your belly and think of your pelvic floor expanding like a flower while you’re inhaling. Doing four rounds of those breaths will get you through the surges of contractions. Once you get the connection, your muscle memory will kick in! It’ll help you work through the process. Say an affirmation to yourself as well! Take note of what your body is doing. Relax your jaw, unclench your fists, etc. 😌

[28:47] Lizzie has created a few PDFs for mamas:

  • 4 Exercises to Relax Your Pelvic Floor
  • Exercises to Strengthen Your Pelvic Floor
  • Newly Postpartum Exercises (Vaginal & C-Section)

[30:04] You can find Lizzie at:

To Leave a Review ⭐️

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ALL the best,


Links Mentioned:

FREE Pelvic Floor PDFs from Dr. Lizzie


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