Mama Belly Rehab… What Nobody Told Me

There’s a lot of stuff people don’t tell you about pregnancy, childbirth and your post-partum body. If you’re lucky enough to have a supportive community of women in your life then maybe you have the inside scoop, or some of the scoop. Like most women, after giving birth to my first baby I was eager to get back to a version of my pre-preggo body. I am blessed with good genes- I am naturally slim and tall but I gained close to 40lbs while pregnant. I kind of thought getting back to my previous body would be quick… not easy, but quick. Every woman is so different and has a different tale of getting back into her old jeans… we see celebrities in tip top shape after like 6 weeks! I now seriously question how that is humanly possible. I know that exercise and eating healthy are the only ways to get a healthy body, so I was prepared to put the work in.

So that’s what I did, I slowly introduced exercise back into my routine. I went to yoga classes, I started running again when everything “down there” felt secure (which was not until 5 months by the way). Fast forward a WHOLE year and I was finally feeling like I was in my old skin… it took me that long. I even trained for a super crazy 11 mile snow-shoe race about 9 months post-partum! It just took my body longer. Specifically, my tummy was just not the same! I was doing HIIT (high intensity interval training) workouts with Aaron and really focusing on getting my core back… we were doing insane amounts of crunches, planks and ab work. It wasn’t until last week (yeah, I’m now 15months postpartum) when I was getting a massage from Regina that she enlightened me… “you have a diastasis recti, did you know that”… a WHAAAT?diastasis-drawing She explained that I had a fairly common post partum situation called diastasis recti which basically means your abs become separated as a result of the intra-abdominal pressure from your pregnancy. Regina went on to tell me that healing a diastasis was super important for optimal functioning of the core. I told her about all the crunches I was doing and she said “Yikes. That’s the WORST thing you could be doing, and you are actually making the separation larger”. Blew. My. Mind. Why didn’t anyone tell me this?? Why didn’t my doctor let me know about this? Why didn’t my doctor check me for this before giving me the OK to exercise? Here I am working my butt off to get in shape and I’m making my abs worse. Anyway needless to say, I did my due dilligance and researched the heck out of how to rehab a diastasis recti. There are two options that seem to dominate thepost-partum diastasis community and they are: Tupler Technique and MUTU system. I ordered both. Currently I am in week #1 of the Tupler Technique… this method involves targeted strengthening of the transverse abdominus and requires you to wear a splint (check out my photos below, I am so sick of people asking me if a.) I hurt my back or b.) if I’m “waist  training like Kim Kardashian) . So here I am with this ridiculous splint and an optimistic hope that this method will work. I want to have a core that supports me… especially for pregnancy #2. Here are some fast facts about diastasis recti:

  1. You can always heal a diastasis no matter when you had your baby.
  2. According to diastasis rect rehab specialists, you should NEVER do crunches or other abdominal work that causes your body to “jack-knife” because it isn’t engaging the transverse abdominus muscle and therefore causing more harm than good
  3. Women who are planning on becoming pregnant can pro-actively strengthen their transverse abdominus to prevent a diastasis recti and support a faster vaginal delivery.
  4. Tell your friends! Spread the word! Knowledge is power ladies : )

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