We’ve talked about how kinesiology tape can help during pregnancy but, what about postpartum?
Not surprisingly, taping can help with all stages both before, during, and after a woman gives birth.
A woman’s body goes through an enormous amount of change during the 9 months she’s carrying her baby, not the least of which are physical.
Posture significantly changes during the 9 months of carrying a child:
- Forward head posture
- Anterior pelvic tilt
- Shortened and tight musculature of the low back
- Tight pectoral and upper trapezius muscles
- Over-stretching of the hamstrings and gluteus maximus
- Pronation of the feet
Most often, attention is given to the anterior body after pregnancy however, incorporating posterior postural taping as well as taping for proper foot position can create a significant improvement in discomfort and a return to activity.
After the baby is born, unless the mom is mindful to make corrections on her own, kinesiology tape can serve as a non-invasive tool to facilitate proper positioning and bring back proprioception and activation to these areas. If the mom had to deliver via c-section, than taping can definitely assist with scar tissue work after appropriate surgical healing has taken place.
These 3 applications are generalized. Assess each one of your client’s correctly and use kinesiology tape according to your findings.
1. Diastasis Recti and Basic Abdominal Taping
In the case of Diastasis Recti, a woman’s rectus abdominus physically separates. Typical reasons for this happening are carrying a high weight baby or multiples, if it’s a second or third child, if the pelvis is narrow, or if the woman is over 35 when she becomes pregnant.
Using kinesiology tape for this condition is an easy anterior application on the abdominals that encourages proprioception, engagement, and postural changes that narrow the “gap” in the abdominal wall. Even if Diastasis Recti is not present, taping the abdominals and diaphragm to encourage proper rib position over the pelvis as opposed to the typical “rib flair”, can significantly contribute to returning to a more functional posture as well as a diaphragmatic breathing pattern.
2. Taping the Lower Leg
Beginning at the arch of the foot, a helical taping application up the lower limb that promotes a balanced foot position can have a direct effect on re-centering gravity and minimizing the anterior pelvic tilt. As the foot returns to a neutral position, this effect can translate into a lesser degree of femoral internal rotation and pelvic tilt. Note also whether there is edema in the lower leg and tape for fluid management accordingly. Due to the foot being a “high traffic” area, this application might only last for 1-3 days versus the typical 3-5 days on other areas of the body.
3. Taping the Posterior Chain
A prominent low back arch and discomfort might be present with many postpartum clients. A decompression strip across the site of pain can help with pain management thus promoting movement as opposed to a stiff and rigid guarding behavior. Often the hamstrings and glutes are overlooked when addressing this issue but they play a significant role in restoring correct posture and alleviating the compressive nature of the anterior pelvic tilt.
Encouraging glute and hamstring activation with kinesiology tape can help with proprioception to those areas. Running parallel strips of tape from the upper hamstring, over the glutes and up the erector spinae to the middle to lower trapezius may contribute to returning to a neutral center of gravity and activation of posterior chain musculature. Shorter, interrupted strips of kinesiology tape can be placed along the same areas versus one long strip to achieve the same affect.
Due to the forward head posture, some clients might experience posterior neck pain as well. Applying a criss crossed pattern on the posterior, superior shoulder area that leads to or near the opposite, inferior angle of the scapula can also encourage a correct upper posture and position of the head.
As with any intervention involving kinesiology tape, be sure to refer to your client’s primary care physician and always use a 2” test strip on the inside of the wrist or forearm if it’s the first time your client is using kinesiology tape. The skin is more sensitive during and after pregnancy so take precaution.
About the Author
Stacey Thomas, L.M.T., S.F.M.A., F.M.S., N.K.T., C.F.-L2, has been dedicated to human movement and athletic performance since 1997 and certified as a sports massage therapist since 2005. She holds certification in Functional Movement Screen, Selective Functional Movement Assessment, Neurokinetic Therapy and CrossFit Level 2, as well as other training and soft tissue modalities. She is credentialed by educational organizations regarding human movement and soft tissue treatment. You can find her in one of her three Front Range, Coloado, clinics treating athletes or teaching courses for RockTape.