Why I’m still at Week 5
As I was in a plank position, holding onto weights, grunting loudly and drawing them up toward my chest one at a time my husband said, with some alarm, “should you be doing that? Don’t hurt yourself and make it worse, you know you’ll regret it.”
He’s so reasonable and logical, I love it and don’t love it if you know what I mean. And yes, I regretted it. And no, I’m not quite ready for the new moves.
I put down the weights and went back to the web site where, clear as day, Wendy says:
Stay on Phase 2, doing all the exercises, stretches + alignment shifts DAILY, for 2 weeks at least.
Moving on: your midline must have firmed sufficiently, the gap narrowed + reconnection must have been established to withstand the exercises. Not sure? Try them! But don’t leave Phase 2 whilst you have: 2+ finger width diastasis, with still soft / unsupported midline connective tissue and/or pelvic floor weakness (sudden urgency or any leaking when rushing to the toilet), OR if you have been doing them for less than 2 weeks!
Which led me to the question:
How accurate is self-measurement of a diastasis recti, anyway?
I was able to find two studies on this.
- One study was from 1987, in which participants were measured by palpation (aka the hand method we all use) and by ultrasound four days postpartum.
- The second was from 2012 and used women in varying stages of life (some postpartum, some not, all with a diastasis recti). They had two physical therapists, one with 20 years experience, one with seven years, perform measurements with their fingers (palpation). In 15 out of the 40 cases, the two physical therapists got different measurements. Still, they basically conclude that palpation is “good enough” given how expensive ultrasound is.
My own measurement, with zero years as a physical therapist, was at least a 3-finger-width diastasis around the umbilicus. I feel it’s gotten smaller above and below. This is significantly larger than it was a couple weeks ago, sadly, which I attribute to:
- Doing exercises I shouldn’t have
- Skipping a few days
- Not walking enough. Walking “barefoot” is as integral to the program as the exercises, so I need to get out for longer walks. I am probably averaging 4 miles a week right now, but that’s because Target is a 1mi walk and Whole Foods is a half mile walk.
I’m the type of person who doesn’t own a scale and doesn’t like numbers attached to her body, so I kind of hate having to worry about the width of my diastasis recti at this point. But, for safety, it looks like I’m stuck here for awhile until this magical firming takes place and I can measure at a 2-finger or smaller width.
A note about equipment
I promised I’d update when I got new equipment in order to do the exercises. For the Intensive 2 material, I got an all-cotton yoga bolster and 5lb hand weights from Target. She says you don’t need the bolster, but it’s useful for baby blockading and other things.
If it were easy to do, doctors all over wouldn’t act like it’s impossible! So, onward I go and hope that I have some lovely ladies alongside me getting strong again, too.