Diastasis Rectified

My journey to heal postpartum diastasis recti


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Mourning the loss of my heels

shoes

A fundamental benefit of the Mutu program is that you aren’t required to wear an approximating diastasis splint (side note: it’s die-ASS-sta-sis, not die-ah-STAY-sis as I once thought). Anyway, this is a good thing because you have to wear the splint 24/7 with the Tupler (pronounced Tuh-pler, not Too-pler) technique except for when you shower.

In exchange for not being corseted by the splint, we must try to decrease your intra-abdominal pressure. Or, we need to stop pooching our bellies out and scrunching up our lower spine because it’s stretching out our abdominus recti. Tucking the rear under and sucking in to try to pretend you don’t have a pooch will likewise do you no favors.

In order to decrease the intra-abdominal pressure you must:

  1. Get rid of all of your heels, even the slightest heel. Ladies, this means I had to get rid of my beloved Frye boots that I wore almost every day during pregnancy. Any lift at all will pitch your whole body forward and you’ll have to tuck-and-suck to be upright (heels also flare your butt up, creating a sexier/more baboon-like look). I bought two pairs of Tieks and one pair of Uggs (pictured) and I literally wear no other shoes. More closet space!
  2. Walk totally upright with your weight in your heels. I feel this most when walking up inclines with a stroller (hello, life in San Francisco!).
  3. Stop jackknifing when getting up.  This is the toughest for me because I always used to rely on the abs to bring me up. I kind of saw it as an extra strengthening exercise. No longer.
  4. Squat when doing all lifting. This one was not bad when the baby was 10-15 pounds but now I find it really difficult not to compromise other muscles when lugging around the man baby.

There are other things but the basic premise is body awareness and creating an environment that is conducive to healing the connective tissue. I say that with a little hesitation because most doctors say that healing the connective tissue between the muscle bellies is impossible and you have to get surgery, so I consider this all one big experiment.

*Note: I am in no way affiliated with Mutu and have not signed up for their referral program because I am not far enough into the program to endorse it. My only motivation for writing these posts is to find some solidarity and help me stay committed to the program!

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My starting over point – the belly before, during, and after pregnancy

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This is me at 8 weeks pregnant, the day before I went into labor, and then at 5 months post partum (my transverse abdominis is not engaged). What a difference a diastasis recti makes!

It’s difficult for me to look at these shots. I really expected to bounce back quickly as I knew only 12% of women who exercise during pregnancy get a diastasis recti. No one in my family has ever had one. In fact, when my mom visited me at 8 weeks post partum she asked if something was wrong with my belly and I got offended. I should have gotten a clue! I just didn’t expect it to happen to me.

If you are currently pregnant

If you are currently pregnant and wondering if you have a diastasis, keep an eye out when you are doing push-ups. I never did crunches, in an effort to avoid a diastasis, but I did do push-ups. I saw a dome like a big hot dog running down the middle of my belly. I was ignorant enough to think it was my abdominis rectus, when it was actually my innards poking through! 

In retrospect, I would have also cut out the side arm balance way before 9 months. Word to the wise.

Tupler recommends splinting with her approximating splint and extenders while pregnant. I don’t know if I will splint post partum (I’m waiting to see if Mutu works), but I will definitely splint in my next pregnancy.