Everything You Need to Know About Splinting During Pregnancy
Women often begin their pregnancies with a functionally weak core and, as a result, develop diastasis recti (a separation of the abdominals) and other related symptoms. We recommend intermittent abdominal splinting in conjunction with The Tummy Team’s Prenatal Core Training Program.
Here are The Tummy Team’s guidelines for splinting during pregnancy:
- We don’t usually splint during the first trimester. Splinting is the most beneficial during the second or third trimester when there are more demands on your body.
- Splinting should always make you feel better, not worse. Never power through pain or ignore what your body is telling you. If you are ever feeling overheated, crampy, nauseous, or anything else, then take a break from the splint.
- We recommend splinting any client with significant diastasis recti (3 fingers and deep, or more). If you have a severe diastasis, it’s clear your abdominal wall is not strong enough to support your growing uterus without complications like a hernia. The splint will help protect your tummy from further damage.
- We do recommend splinting when clients are suffering from pregnancy related pain, such as: abdominal pain, low back pain, pubic bone pain, hip pain, SI joint instability, sciatica and more. The splint will provide the necessary support your core craves to eliminate that pain.
- We recommend intermittent abdominal splinting late in the pregnancy as the baby gets heavy and your muscles need a break. The splint will provide the support you need to give you much needed relief.
- Abdominal splinting is highly encouraged to support optimal fetal alignment. Wearing a splint even during contractions and the pushing phase of labor will help keep the baby in optimal alignment and helps you coordinate the necessary muscles to effectively push the baby out.
FAQ's for Splinting During Pregnancy
Can splinting during pregnancy help heal diastasis recti?
An abdominal rehab splint wraps around to support your corset and your transverse abdominis. It can help reverse your diastasis recti during pregnancy by bringing the two sides of the separated abdominal wall together, placing the connective tissue in a lax position to speed up healing. The splint can also help reinforce the corset muscle which can help alleviate back pain, hip pain, pregnancy related abdominal pain, sciatica, SI joint instability, and much more.
Can splinting during pregnancy help with fetal alignment?
When your core is strong and working as intended to support a growing uterus, it places your baby in optimal alignment – head down and aligned vertically with the cervix and birth canal. However, if your core is functionally weak, then the splint can help pull the baby up and in, placing the baby in better alignment. This position puts the least amount of unbalanced stress on mom’s body during pregnancy, alleviating common pain symptoms. But optimal fetal alignment also sets the stage to place effective pressure on the cervix to stimulate and intensify contractions, therefore steadily progressing labor.
Should I wear a splint instead of an SI belt?
A splint is a great addition or alternative to an SI belt (a belt that helps stabilize a hypermobile pelvic bone). However, SI belts are not very comfortable during sitting or some movements. The abdominal rehab splint will support the pelvis in a very similar way, but is much more comfortable and flexible during movement.
Should I wear a splint or maternity support belt?
Maternity support belts are not recommended because they don’t support the abdominal muscles well and require you to rest into the belt to get any support. Instead, an abdominal rehab splint will reinforce what your muscles are meant to do and will promote optimal alignment.
Can splinting help with poorly positioned babies (breech or transverse)?
The splint will help pull the baby up and in which puts the womb in a tight position. However, this won’t give a baby in a poor alignment room to flip and turn later in pregnancy. So if you late in your 3rd trimester and know your baby is not in optimal alignment, take a break from the splint and give the baby time to move. Once the baby is flipped and head down, then splinting can help keep the baby in the right alignment leading up to labor.
Should I splint postpartum?
Outside of the United States, most cultures choose to splint, or “bind,” the belly after delivery. We believe it helps reconnect and protect the stretched-out abdominal muscles. And because new mothers are generally more focused on caring for their newborns than tending to their tummies, a splint works wonders without much extra effort. Splinting immediately after delivery as well as the first few weeks postpartum can help with healing, reconnecting to your core, back pain and even postpartum depression. For best results, we recommend using a splint in conjunction with The Tummy Team Core Foundations Training Program.
What are the guidelines for splinting after a cesarean?
Always consult with your doctor regarding their timing for splinting. Generally, as long as there is no infection, clients are safe to splint immediately after. We recommend always wearing a layer under the splint against the skin. While fastening the splint, be sure to exhale and engage to be sure the splint is snug like a hug around your tummy. Gentle steady pressure often feels supportive. If you have any hypersensitivity to the area, start to address that with placing gentle counter pressure along the incision for a few minutes several times a day to help the nerves calm down. Always listen to your body. If splinting ever makes you feel worse, take a break.