Diastasis Recti Rehab: Week 3 to Week 4

Something is very funny

I have been cracking up for the last half hour! In preparation for week 4, I watched the video to learn the new headlift exercises. Week 3 was pretty uneventful other than really feeling the burn in my transverse and lower back. But this week is going to take a lot of brainpower. As I listened to the instructions on the video, I realized I needed to write some things down.

This strikes me as hilarious and gives me tired-head all at the same time:

In order to engage the transverse, you must remember 5 things about this muscle…Let me teach you the 5 step headlift… There are 4 things to remember before starting the headlifts…It is important to make sure you do the first 3 steps of the headlifts correctly before lifting your head… There are 2 ways for you to know if your transverse is in or out…There are 3 places you need to hold the splint when doing the headlifts…There are 2 visualizations in the headlifts. The first 3 steps are called pelvic stabilization. These 3 steps must be done correctly before doing the last 2 steps of the headlifts.

Bhwaaaahahahahahhahahaha! My head is swimming…

I sure hope I can remember all of that!

In week 3, although I did my exercises, I got a little lazy with steps 3 and 4 of holding in my transverse and getting up and down/picking things up correctly. Also, the splint would ride up to my ribs above my belly button constantly and I would have needed to adjust it with every movement. Since I don’t sit still all day, I’m not sure how effective my splinting was this week even though I adjusted it throughout the day. I’m thinking I might need to order a smaller one. Seems like it would be easier to wear two instead of having to hold the second one for the week 4 exercises anyway.

I really hope this program is going to work for closing my diastasis! I am doing the best I can. One thing for sure is my transverse is getting stronger, my posture is much improved, and I notice my back hurts the next day if I did any slumping the day before. So, I am still building an awareness and seeing results that encourage me to keep going.

Diastasis Recti Rehab: Week 2 Conclusion

My diastasis is as wide as my guitar neck

I am impatient. I want my diastasis to close NOW.

I checked my diastasis this week and it is still 3 fingers wide. I told myself not to check it this early so as not to get discouraged. It’s probably too soon for there to be any noticeable change. But it was like thinking,”I’m not going to eat that reeses peanut butter cup”, which of course makes it much more enticing. Man I love those things. Mmmmm…

I did get discouraged when I checked it yesterday.

However, I have enough insight about myself to realize that maybe I wanted it to still be 3 fingers wide. It would give me a reason to say, “this is not working. I quit”. I pouted for a day, skipped my evening exercises, had glass of wine and melted into the recliner to catch up on American Idol…WITHOUT the splint. Don’t tell Julie Tupler I took the night off.

After the enthusiasm of starting a new work out or resolution wears off, I have to find motivation to keep me going. My tummy’s appearance after the diastasis closes is not enough. In fact, my mummy tummy will never be the same because of how my skin stretched with my pregnancy. This is not about making my tummy look better. At this point in my life, it doesn’t really bother me. I have a beautiful child to show for it and I will have more.

Why is it important to close my diastasis?

Closing my diastasis is about supporting my back to eliminate pain, supporting my organs for proper digestion, getting rid of my umbilical hernia, and strengthening my core for my structural health and future. And most importantly for me, it’s for comfort and positioning during my next pregnancy and labor. If I don’t close my diastasis before my next pregnancy, I could have more back pain and it could affect the positioning of the baby. Also, my 3-finger diastasis could turn into an entire hand or two hands wide if I don’t take steps to close it now. YIKES!

Here’s to week 3! Perseverance, patience, and posture.

Diastasis Recti Rehab: Week 1 Conclusion

The Flying Splint

I’ve squeezed my transverse muscle 4,480 times this week! And that my friends is without doing any crunches… because apparently they are THE DEVIL. According to Julie Tupler, they will make your diastasis larger and possibly create one if you don’t already have one. I’ve never been a crunch fan (a crunchy mama, maybe), but not a crunchy exerciser. I’m not too upset that I’ll never have to do a crunch again.

It has definitely taken some discipline to do the elevator and contracting exercises 3 times a day. I’ll admit, I’ve procrastinated and doubled up a couple of times. The splint is still not my best friend, but I’m figuring out how to wear it and adjust it so that it stays in place better. I’ve taken it off a couple of times this week when I wasn’t supposed to for a short time…

Well actually, I ripped it off, threw it across the room, and did a happy dance. I’m a rebel I know.

However, I’m going to make a commitment to be an even better diastasis student this week. Do you want to know why? Of course you do. Well first of all, since I’m blogging about it I can’t give up now and look like a complete failure. But honestly, I can tell a big improvement already! This is really working! My waistline is smaller, despite the fact that my silly husband has brought home ice cream and reeses peanut butter eggs all week. I know that my core is much stronger because it’s easier for me to sit with good posture and I can feel the muscles working more each day. Also, my umbilical hernia which came back after my fallopian tube surgery is getting smaller. This tells me the connective tissue must be healing.

There are a couple of things I need to work through yet. I get this cramp in my left side quite often when doing the exercises that hurts. I’m also holding in my tummy muscles so much that I find my breathing is rather shallow at times. I have to remember to belly breathe more often and squeeze to the 5th floor when I exhale. I spent so many months practicing to relax every muscle in my body for childbirth through breathing, that I stopped using my abs altogether. Now it’s time to find a balance.

Here’s hoping for a week of patience with the splint and continued healing!

Diastasis Recti Rehab: Day 1

It’s just the first day. I’m not going to give up. But to be honest, this splint is kind of driving me nuts. It keeps riding up. I’ve taken it off to adjust it about 15 times today. Taking care of a toddler does not make it any easier. Sleeping with it on tonight is going to be interesting. The instructions are to have it on at ALL times until your diastasis is closed and only to remove it when bathing.

If I’m just sitting, the splint stays in place. But no matter how tight it is, the second I move, it starts to have a mind of its own. I do a lot of bending over type movements during the day from laundry, to changing diapers, to cleaning up, cooking, and teaching early childhood music classes that involve getting up and down off of the floor. I try to get up and down correctly with a straight back as per the Tupler Technique instructions, but it still moves. I’ve tried it in different positions to see if it stays in place better higher or lower and I’m just not having any luck

I’ve watched the DVD, Lose Your Mummy Tummy, a few times and I’ve taken notes because there are a lot of details and points to remember. I feel like I’m building an awareness of my transverse muscle. I’m not sure if I’m doing the exercises exactly right and breathing or moving how I’m supposed to throughout the day. The perfectionist in me is struggling with this.

Basically the first 3 weeks of the exercises involve sitting and squeezing your abs to strengthen your transverse before moving on to any other exercises. Crunches are a big “no no” because they will cause your diastasis to get worse. That’s OK by me though! I mean, who likes to do crunches?!! I never have. Tupler mentions on the DVD that any kind of “jack knife” type of movement is like fingernails down a chalkboard or chewing on aluminum foil to her. What? I don’t think I’ve ever heard of anyone chewing on aluminum foil. But, I get the point. LOL

I’m sure the 4 steps to the technique will become second nature… hopefully sooner that later!

Diastasis Recti, I’m Taking You On!

Diastasis Recti would be a good band name wouldn’t it? Try saying it 3 times in a row really fast. Diastasis Recti, Diastasis Recti, Diastasis Recti. Phew! I discovered I had this condition at my well woman exam a couple of months ago, along with an umbilical hernia.

My birth doula, who I still keep in contact with regularly, told me about the Tupler Technique for closing a Diastasis Recti. Julie Tupler has made it her life’s work to educate people about Diastasis and how to close one. Apparently it is very common. If you are having trouble getting rid of your “mummy tummy” or you are someone who has done crunches and ab exercises for years but can’t get rid of your pooch, you might have a diastasis. Basically the outer abdominal muscles separate and don’t come back together causing your stomach and organs to be held together by the connective tissue instead of the muscles. It’s important to check your tummy for a diastasis, so you don’t inadvertently do things to make it worse.

I weigh less than before I got pregnant. I lost the baby weight very quickly since I exclusively breastfeed and eat healthy foods. I also tend to snack more and eat the leftover food from my daughter’s meals. It helps when you don’t have time to sit down for a meal! Anyway, my point is that even though I’m thinner and can make my tummy look flat through my clothes, it is definitely a mummy tummy. My skin was stretched so far and I have no muscle tone, so it looks like a deflated, wrinkled balloon. If I’m not deliberately holding my tummy in, there’s a pooch. Luckily my husband doesn’t mind and says he loves it because that is where I carried our baby. Awe, isn’t he sweet! Yes, I know I’m a lucky gal. My tummy used to be my best feature before I was pregnant. Not one roll and it only pooched if I just ate a big meal.

I have come to accept it, being that I know it’s important for me to model a positive self image for Clara. However, when I discovered that I have a diastasis and learned that it can affect my health in so many ways, I decided to be proactive. The good part is that I’ll probably get my pretty tummy back! I’ve received my splint, video, and guidebook in the mail and I plan to start the program this weekend. I’m looking forward to the healing process and I’ll be keeping you updated.