Diastasis Rectified

My journey to heal postpartum diastasis recti

Week 5 Again, or Why I Am a Wee Bit Discouraged

3 Comments

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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 Status

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:

  1. Doing exercises I shouldn’t have
  2. Skipping a few days
  3. 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

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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.

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Author: diastasisrectified

I am charting my progress as I recover from a diastasis recti and get back to an active lifestyle.

3 thoughts on “Week 5 Again, or Why I Am a Wee Bit Discouraged

  1. I can certainly relate to your frustration.
    Again, I’m 16 months post-partum, and it seems as though it took me 7-9 months before I felt like I could do anything other than walking (and sometimes running), for fear of doing something harmful to my mid-section and widening my diastasis. At 9 months, I returned to the gardening work I had done before and during pregnancy — bending and squatting, digging, hauling buckets full of weeds, etc — and at first this felt scary…and mentally exhausting because I was constantly thinking “belly-button to spine,” “engage your transverse,” etc. Also, I started doing more weight training at this point with dumbbells at home, always making sure my core was engaged to the extent that it could be. It was not until more recently (~14 months postpartum) that I felt like my core was feeling more normal….there’s still ~2-finger-width gap at my belly button (-smaller than that above and below-), but my muscles do feel stronger somehow. It is easy to get discouraged somedays because, even on an empty stomach first thing in the morning, I still have a paunch…..one that can be more-easily-than-before sucked in, tightened away, and displaced, but it still exists. All this said, though, I am encouraged that things are getting better (–what seems like– FINALLY).
    I recently purchased the 12-week MuTu programme, and I started it on Monday. (Thanks for your input.) I decided to start with Week 3 because I feel like it’s the best place to start considering where I am physically at this point…..I wanted to start out with Core Phase I for sure, but I felt like I was ready for the Intensity Workout I already also.
    Anyway, I really appreciate your posts — your thoroughness and honesty. Thank you.

    • Haha, I totally agree that it’s mentally exhausting always having to interrupt your normal activities with a “belly to the spine! fifth floor! keep it engaged! do not tuck your bottom!” over and over ad nauseam. I am so glad you decided to purchase the program and will be joining me. Since you’re already ahead and I am going to be stuck on week 5 for awhile, we might end up going through it at the same time. It sounds like you are in a great place to have excellent results, and I hope that ends up being the case for you! I have the same paunch that I am equally disheartened by first thing in the morning. :\ Anyway, thanks for the support. I am not exaggerating when I say it really helps me keep pushing on, especially when I feel a bit over my head. I just hit 7mo pp, so I am hoping that my trajectory follows yours and things start to come together (literally and figuratively) before too long. Also, since moving to the city I miss my garden terribly! Mowing the lawn, though, not so much.

  2. I don’t really know where this post fits in in the scheme of things, but having read some of the other comments on the various entries, I wondered if it might be helpful if I shared my experiences with the Tupler Technique (and also my take on MuTu thus far — I’m only 4 days in).

    When I was doing my initial research about diastasis recti (at ~2 months postpartum, August 2012), I don’t remember coming across the MuTu System.
    The Tupler Technique was the main protocol I found, so I bought a splint and the corresponding book and DVD to see if I could make sense of things. I’ll admit, splinting actually felt pretty good because it gave me the support that my core just couldn’t provide on its own, it helped remind me to do the exercises called for in the program, and it helped me look (with clothes on) more like my old self, which was nice for my mental health. However, there are definite downfalls to the splint… 1) it doesn’t seem breastfeeding-friendly. I felt as though I was constantly un-velcro-ing and re-velcro-ing because it wasn’t all that comfortable to have on during feedings. Also, I was getting up 2-4 times at night to nurse (and so, was not getting much sleep), so I did not find it sensible to sacrifice ‘quality’ sleep for the sake of wearing the splint during the night, as called for in the program. 2) I found the sizing of the splints ‘off,’ and, in the end, I bought two — one for when I started the program, and then, as my body got smaller, I bought another in the next size down (though I’m not convinced that it was solely the program that made my midsection smaller….perhaps it was a combination of healing time and splinting…?) 3) I did do the program pretty faithfully, but it was hard to stick with a routine (after many weeks) where I felt like I was supposed to be exercising by doing it, but it hardly resembled exercise. (Does this make sense? — It seems that even though you’re not breaking a sweat with MuTu Core exercises, it is presented in a ‘workout’ or ‘exercise’ kind of way, which is nice because it helps bring back the familiarity of exercising.)
    I do not wish to undermine the effectiveness of the Tupler Technique. I was so, so thankful to find a program that would guide me in the direction of zipping up the gap, and I do think it helped. And again, I was glad to have splinted, not only for whatever effect it had on improving my abdominal muscles, but also for the effect it had on my mental state as well.

    So, after ~6-7 months of doing the Tupler Technique, I continued on using no formal ‘diastasis remedying’ method, just doing a modified normal routine of gardening, walking, light weight training, and every once in a while doing what abdominal exercises I could of “Ab Exercises for Moms, The Ten Best” (a MuTu YouTube video I found) once I found them (a few months ago). These things seemed to be working fine; however, I felt like I was just maintaining the progress I had made, instead of making further improvement.

    Having found MuTu by this point, I started looking into the programs in more detail, and at about the same time, I found this blog (*thanks again for starting it*). Without much hesitation, I purchased the MuTu 12-week program and am enjoying it so far. Again, my experience with MuTu is fairly limited (~4 days), but so far, in comparison to the Tupler Technique, according to my sensibilities, I find Wendy’s presentation more pleasing, the exercises more enjoyable, and the MuTu method more wholly edifying. I find myself wanting to say one more thing about MuTu, though, and that is this: I so appreciate Wendy’s positive outlook. She exudes sensibility — notions of level-headedness, hopefulness, and priority organization — and genuine encouragement. Yes, I am certainly hoping for good, solid results, but I also find myself already feeling better about being in my own (postpartum) skin.

    I suppose that’s all for now. Thanks for reading — I hope this post is helpful in some way.

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