What the heck is Diastasis Recti?

Hello, Mama’s!!! Greetings and Salutations!!

As you already know, if you’ve been reading my blog at all or even glanced at my bio, I am a mama of 5 kiddos. This means I’ve been pregnant a whopping 5 times. Well I’m sure there are mama’s who btdt but for me that seems like a lot. Enough to maybe make me a pro at all things baby and pregnancy related? Not at all! lol Everyday is a learning experience. My favorite saying is, “You learn something new everyday and everyday you forget something too!”. Now I have been working on my health and fitness this year. Things I’ve spoken about in my past blogs (Check those out if you haven’t already). Eating healthy, going vegan, working out. So far this year I have lost a total of 30 lbs and I feel much better than I did last year at this time. I have way more energy and can move so much better and my joints don’t hurt. My one stubborn spot though is my belly. I figured since I had 5 children that this would be a stubborn area when it came to losing fat but after losing weight everywhere else I was starting to get a little discouraged. I figured maybe I would look up some standing ab exercises I could do at work. I have a job where i am at a desk for a full 8 hours and can sit for that whole 8 hours if I wanted to but of course I choose not to. I try to stand most of the time because that’s how I gained a lot of my weight during my last pregnancy… sitting all the time! So I thought to myself, why not find a standing ab workout i can do at work? So I took to YouTube to see if I could find a tutorial for some standing ab exercises. Post-Pregnancy Standing Ab workouts, specifically. Well as you know (If you use YouTube, anyways) YouTube pulls any and all videos it thinks might be related to what you are looking for and I found a lot of videos on Diastasis Recti. I had no idea what it was.

It was crazy to me that after 5 pregnancies, I had never heard of this before. Apparently, when our bellies stretch from our growing uterus so do our abdominal muscles. Sometimes, depending on how the baby is sitting or if it’s a big ole chunky baby, he or she can put more pressure on those muscles than should be which causes the abdominal muscles to stretch to accommodate them. With some women, the muscles go back together after giving birth, but for others the gap remains even after birth. Well my last 3 babies were big babies but I believe I have had diastasis recti since my first pregnancy 18 YEARS AGO. I always wondered why my belly button never looked the same. It sunk in. It was like there was a gap in my stomach and my belly button just sunk right in. I just figured that was a part of having a baby. Now that I know , I look back and realize that that wasn’t normal. Many of my friends and even my own sister and mother didn’t have that after having children. Their stomachs were fine besides maybe a little flabbiness and stretch marks like the average mother. All of my boys were big babies. My girl was the only small one, weighing in at 4lbs 13oz. The boys were 8lbs2oz for my 17 year old and 3 year old, 7lbs 11oz for my 6 year old, and a whooping 9lbs 6oz for my 1 year old! Now if you are wondering if you too might have diastasis recti, there are many videos on YouTube showing you how to check yourself to see if you have it. Its  a finger test. Most women have a gap of  2-3 fingers wide. Well I guess since I had no idea what this was and had never done anything to try and fix it, I am about 5-6 fingers. This just means I have a longer road ahead of me than some other mama’s. According to the videos you can fix your diastasis recti anytime. It’s never too late which was very encouraging for me. It can be 17 years later and you can still start to work on it. I even typed diastasis recti into the search bar on Facebook and found groups for mama’s with the same issues. I joined a group called 30 Day Challenge For Women with Diastasis Recti. They have 30 days worth of workouts for you to do and everyone is on different days and you work at your own pace. Now you can also find tons of videos on YouTube as well. I found plenty of standing ab exercises designed to help heal this diastasis recti and I really believe they have been working. I literally feel my ab muscles now a days. From my pelvic muscles up to my ribs and even around my back. I guess I never realized that to have strong abs you also have to have a strong back. All of these muscles work together to give you that perfect posture that we lost being pregnant! I can see a difference since I have started doing these specific exercises instead of just my regular crunches. Below are some pics of me so far this year. I plan to start a 12 week TurboFire schedule today so i will be taking new pictures and taking new measurements and will add those in my next post but as you can see, the standing ab exercises i started in July made a little bit of a difference.

According to a lot of the YouTube  videos, doing regular ab workouts can actually cause your diastasis recti to become worse. This is because your muscles are seperated and only have a thin layer of flesh (or whatever it is) between them that are keeping your intestines in. This is why women and even men with diastisis recti are more prone to hernias. I know that I plan on having a six pack one day. That is one of my goals in this fitness journey that I am on. My husband has had a six pack since I’ve met him and it is something I have always been envious of. Since I had my first child at 18, I never had one and have battled with my weight ever since. I feel like I was lucky to have happened upon this information at just the right time. Doing regular ab workouts before healing my diastasis would have made it worse and possibly have caused injury. Now,  in no way am I a professional on this issue. Just ask your health care provider about this topic next time you go in for a check up, if you can. My husband said I should do this before just assuming that I had it but I did the test that I had looked up online and figured I would just save myself the co-pay. Now if you have great insurance or enough money, there is a reparative surgery to fix diastasis recti. If that is something you want to look into as well.

Sorry for the if the picture seems a bit gory. It’s a good look at the actual abdominal separation before and after surgery.  I, on the other hand have decided to try a corset along with the diastasis exercises. I saw many good reviews about the Bellefit corset so i decided to give it a try. I’ll let you all know how that goes.

Well, I’m going to WRAP this up. lololol I crack myself up! Thanks so much for letting me rant and rave about this topic with you guys! lol

 

Till next time Mama’s!!!

 

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