This requires adjustments to alignment and load-bearing, entire core musculature reconnection and strengthening, great postpartum nutrition, hydration… and rebuilding collagen.
Collagen is the stuff that binds together at the front of your abdomen, where all the abdominal muscles meet (or not in the case of a diastasis!). If the collagen doesn’t heal or regenerate, then the gap can’t close.
The very fabulous Jessica Drummond was my guest speaker at the MUTU Vation Houston workshop in October 2014, and her session blew everyone away with new knowledge and insights on hormone health and healing through nutrition. This guest post deals with one of the issues that came up during this session, and that has been raised before in our customer group. Here Jessica shares her extremely educated response to the question:
Do you need to eat (animal) gelatin after pregnancy to recover?
We always get questions on whether or not humans need to eat animal gelatin or collagen directly in order to rebuild their own collagen postpartum. This is really a great question because it seems odd that if oxen and cattle and other large animals can rebuild their own collagen by eating plants, why can’t humans?
The answer is that humans can, it’s just not as efficient. If you’re a new mom, who is vegetarian or vegan, and you’re recovering well, feeling great, and eating a healthy plant-based diet that’s high in protein from nuts, seeds, beans, and sprouted grains, I don’t recommend that you change anything. Cattle and oxen are herbivores. Humans are omnivores, so we can rebuild collagen (for our overstretched abdominals, and strained or torn pelvic floors) more efficiently from animal proteins, especially those from the skin, cartilage, and bones of other animals (aka gelatin.) We have the capacity to rebuild from either plant or animal sources, it’s just a matter of efficiency.
Thus, if you’re a healthy vegetarian or vegan, and you’re working hard to recover your abdomen and pelvic floor postpartum, eat lots of plant protein, take great care of your digestion so that you can best absorb the protein that you’re eating, and get plenty of vitamin C.
On the other hand, if you’re struggling to recover your abdomen or pelvic floor, you would like to eat to optimize your healing, and you don’t mind eating animal products, eating gelatin is a great way to recover faster!
What should I eat to recover after childbirth?
Let’s discuss the specific foods and supplements that can support the healing of your abdomen and pelvic floor after delivery.
- Drink bone broth or use it in soups or for cooking grains. Bone broth is the absolute best food source for rebuilding collagen. Bone broth contains the gelatin, glucosamine sulfate, chondroitin, and hyaluronic acid that are necessary to build collagen. Here’s a great recipe for bone broth that you can make in a slow cooker.
- Supplement with gelatin. The three best brands that provide the highest-quality collagen and gelatin powders from pasture-raised cows are Bulletproof, VitalProteins, and Great Lakes. You can add these supplements to your protein smoothies, or those that don’t easily dissolve in cold liquids can be used to make Paleo gelatin desserts.
- Not keen on bone broth? Finally, if you don’t have time to make bone broth, or you just can’t stomach it, Designs for Health has just released a new product, called PurePaleo. It’s a protein powder made from a high-quality source of hydrolyzed beef.
I hope that clears up the gelatin and collagen confusion! Start a delicious pot of bone broth brewing on your stove (or in your slow cooker), and enjoy the nourishment.
Jessica Drummond, MPT, CCN, CHC, the Founder and CEO of The Integrative Pelvic Health Institute, is passionate about caring for and empowering women who struggle with women’s health conditions such as endometriosis, PCOS, bladder pain, low libido, hormonal imbalances, weight gain, period pain, painful sex, and post-surgical, orthopedic, or pregnancy related pelvic conditions. She is equally passionate about educating and supporting clinicians in confidently and safely using integrative tools to treat chronic pelvic pain, bowel and bladder, and other women’s health issues. Having over a decade of experience as a women’s and pelvic physical therapist plus owning a private women’s health clinical nutrition and coaching practice gives her a unique perspective on the integrative, conservative options for pelvic pain management. Jessica was educated at the University of Virginia, Emory University, The Institute of Integrative Nutrition, and Duke Integrative Medicine.
She is also among the medical experts in Women’s Pelvic Health from around the world who endorse and approve the MUTU System program.