What I Learned at Kelly Dean’s Prenatal Continuing Ed Course

What I learned Kelly Dean's Prenatal class Fit2b.com

Okay, I get a bit giggly at my own cheesiness whenever I can work my last name – which is “Learn” – into a blog post. And now that I’ve got that tidbit out of my exhausted brain, I can tell you some of the AWESOME things I learned while on a roadtrip with Kelly Dean of The Tummy Team to Medford, OR to audit her accredited course “The Importance of Core Strength in the Prenatal and Postnatal Client”… This is going to be rambly because – hello! – I’m still on the roadtrip while writing this, and I’m going on 3 hours of sleep and way too much caffeine. Don’t hate.


Kelly has been mentoring me for two years, and this was not our first road trip together. I love her dearly, and we talked the WHOLE time, and I got a ladybug in my pants and had to take them off to fish it out while she drove us at 65 down I-5, and I was privileged to spend 8 hours with some midwives, doulas, maya massagers, gyrotonix instructor, labor/delivery nurse… It was bliss to watch them take in this vital information on helping their lady clients find healthier flatter tummies through an understanding of diastasis and core anatomy. Plus I learned a ton!

What I learned at Kelly Dean's prenatal course - Fit2b.com
One of the many great qualities of Kelly as a teacher is that she puts herself on the table and lets us feel her core!

I’m telling you, if you ever get a chance to take a road trip with a licensed physical therapist who specializes in your favorite topic, do it!!!!! I got to drive her prius and buy her coffee and – call me a Kelly groupie – but I was just there to soak it all in, let her teach me and watch her teach others. Sheeee issssss incrediblllllllllleeee!!!!

Kelly demonstrates how to check for a diastasis in a 30 week client... fun to feel the baby kick us! - Fit2b.com
Kelly demonstrates how to check for a diastasis in a 30 week client… fun to feel the baby kick us!

This is how I write when I’m not trying to teach or make a certain point… and when I’m just really excited and when I’m low on sleep -slash- high on coffee (don’t worry, I’ve also been drinking lots of water) So here are random things I’m learning while I’m sitting here listening to her on my big, bouncy birth ball… Did I mention I slept overnight in a birth center? I really wanted to sneak a long, hot bath in one of those ginormous birth tubs at midnight last night, but I didn’t… sigh. ANYWAY, MOVING ON!

  • Muscle responds quicker than connective tissue. The muscle rebuilding is going to make you feel better whether you have a small or large separation.
  • SI problems, pelvic floor problems, and sitting a lot are co-related to a wider diastasis at the bottom above the pubic bones.
  • If you have tight chest muscles (from nursing babies or too many pushups/planks) then when you stand up, and your ribs flare because your pecs attach to your ribs, then that will pull your diastasis wider at the top.
  • If we challenge a weak muscle to the point where it fails and recruits another muscle to do its job, then we’ve taught that weak muscle to give up and pass the buck to another muscle. If we challenge a weak muscle to the point of fatigue and STOP before it gives up and passes the buck to a stronger muscle, then we’ve truly put our nervous system on notice that we want THAT muscle to do ITS JOB not wimp out.
  • No muscle in the body needs to be fully engaged and tense all the time. (please no comments about how our brain is our biggest muscle) but we get stuck in modes of movement that force certain muscle to always be “on” and never relax which also creates dysfunction.
  • There is much debate about whether a diastasis is a separation or a stretching or a weakness, and the terminology and hyperbole confuses the issue which is that people are INJURED and have trenches (my choice of wording for this sentence) in a muscular area that should NOT have a trench in it!!!! Can we just stop arguing as experts, and all bring our stuff to the table and respect that [most of us] are genuinely wanting to help our clients get better? Kelly is really good at not arguing the jargon, so this is MY own observation, not something I learned at this workshop.
  • For some people, mental sanity is more important than their physical health. Kelly and I both feel strongly that if someone loves to run, but it’s tearing them apart, we’re going to help them run in the safest way possible because we recognize that it feeds their soul. We just want it to be an educated choice and have the information of what it’s doing to their body and why it’s contributing to their pain and health issues.
  • Midwives in workshop reporting that their pilates instructor, bike riding, kickboxing clients have the hardest time RELAXING and letting baby out thus ending up with c-sections because they are so TIGHT from being good at kegels but terrible at dissociating their TvA from the PC mucle. “It’s like you’re squeezing the toothpaste down but the cap is still on!” LOL!
  • If it takes 21 days to learn a new skill or habit WITHOUT stress, pain or small interruptions of the two-legged, begging, drooling variety… then how can we expect a mom in labor to suddenly find and activate her god-given girdle muscle to assist her uterus in pushing out baby…
  • The pelvic floor has both fast-twitch (sneeze!) muscles and slow-twitch (constant gardener) muscles, and we need both of those fiber types to be strong but not short/tight for us. A true kegel is a lift (targets slow-twitch) and hold (fast-twitch) but we ALSO need to learn how to LET THAT MUSCLE GO
  • Final thought: Nope, no more for now. My brain is fried, and what happens in Medford, stays in Medford!

Oh my goodness, I could keep writing and writing and writing… This was 8 hours of amazing information, some new, some old, some a rethinking of what I already know, some very mind-blowing to me. And this is a workshop with a woman I talk to ALL the time. I feel like I can always keep “learn”ing … can’t we all? Goodbye, Wise Women & Trillium Waterbirth Center! Thanks for hosting us!

What I learned at Kelly Dean's Prenatal Course - Fit2b.com

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