Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Healing My Postpartum Tummy (Diastasis Recti)

Like most women, I have struggled with accepting my postpartum body. My stomach is forever changed by stretch marks and wrinkly, saggy skin. I am slowly learning to love myself and find beauty in my mommy marks and loose skin, though it is still a struggle. Aside from my physical appearance, one of my biggest challenges has been regaining my core strength. It seemed that no matter how much I worked out and focused on my core I simply wasn't making any improvements. Because it takes time to lose baby weight and tone our bodies, I assumed it would just take a little more work. As time went on I started realizing that not only was I not improving but I was experiencing some other symptoms too. I noticed that my pelvic floor was increasingly weak and a few times I actually collapsed because I threw out my lower back simply picking up my baby. If that weren't enough it seemed no matter how much weight I lost, my tummy was always bigger then the rest of me. This was not normal! Despite the well meaning encouragement to just "give it more time" I knew I needed to find some answers.

Open and honest... This is my tummy. Some days its ok, others it is devastating.
 After much searching I saw an ad on a blog I frequent for family friendly workouts. I clicked on it and saw a tab that said "Diastasis Awarenes". I really believe it was God led that I clicked that tab. After all, I had never heard of diastasis and had no reason to click on it. I am so very glad I did! Bethany Learn of Fit2B has made it her mission to spread the word about this issue so that women (and men) can finally experience healing. As I read each symptom it resonated with what I had been experiencing since my first pregnancy. I finally felt hope that I could feel normal again!

As you can see I am way out there at 39 weeks! It's easy to see why my muscles didn't come back together on their own!

So what is Diastasis Recti? I found this definition online (source):

Diastasis recti (also known as abdominal separation) is a disorder defined as a separation of the rectus abdominis muscle into right and left halves. Normally, the two sides of the muscle are joined at the linea alba at the body midline. 

Basically it is your "girdle muscle" that normally holds everything in. This is your true core muscle that wraps around your entire middle section. Without this muscle working properly and comping together then you are not only going to have a poochy tummy but potentially a weak pelvic floor, sexual disfunction, weak bladder, back problems and more. I immediately watched Fit2B's "Do You Have Diastasis Recti?" video. Sure enough, I had a 4 finger separation in my transverse abdominal muscle!

I immediately looked at Bethany's Tummy Safe workout plan. I have been following her workout plan for the last 3 weeks and have seen and felt huge changes! Amazingly it only takes me between 9-20 minutes a day 4-5 times a week. I am a busy mom of  two children ages 2 and 8 months so I know how hard it is to make time... but even I couldn't deny that I had at least 9 minutes a day! The initial workouts are very mellow, no big movements. I definitely was surprised at how much I could feel the workouts. Bethany is great to listen too, not at all irritating like some video trainers. I greatly appreciate her attention to proper posture and muscle use. It seems that just when I start to do something improperly she will say something like "Don't be tempted to arch/curl/flair". Most of all I feel nourished physically, mentally and emotionally after I am finished. It feels good taking care of myself! Along with a flatter tummy, I am strengthening my pelvic floor without doing a million kegals a day (which weren't working before this anyway). This has been a huge blessing! I no longer feel the discomfort I was experiencing since having children. I also feel connected to my body again. It isn't  called your core because your main muscles are there!

Notice that its not just a flatter stomach! My posture has also improved after just 3 weeks!
If you think you might be suffering from Diastasis Recti, be sure to watch the Fit2B "How To Check For Diastis Recti" video, click here. It takes less then a minute to check and roughly 6 weeks (depending on your body) to fix it! Also, be sure to sign up for her newsletter! It will grant you access to the Totally Transverse 1 core workout, free of charge! This is the main workout you will need to heal your transverse muscle, I highly recommend giving this a shot!

Are you interested in hearing more about what Fit2B has to offer? Along with the Tummy Safe Pathway (over 25 videos), Bethany also offers pregnancy safe workouts and "regular" workouts for those that don't have a problem with Diastasis. Yoga, pilates, aerobics... You name and she's probably got a great video for it! Use this coupon below to get 3 months for just $20 which is a $10 saving (affiliate coupon)!

Coupon Code: hdfit2b



Written By Happily Domestic Contributor: Brittney Thompson

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19 comments:

Alyssa said...

I've been doing fit2b videos for the last month and was also amazed at how much stronger I felt after just a week of the videos. I feel refreshed and energized for my day after working out with Bethany, and I'm glad to know I'm taking care of my body, which will help me take care of my baby! Congratulations on your progress so far :)

sonyamorris (Sonya Morris) said...

WOW! You were nothing but baby in your 39 week photo!! Your results look amazing! I have heard of this and will check out the program. I just had my little guy in March and my doctor stitched my muscles back together but I am sure the exercises will help out even more.

Anonymous said...

I am amazed at the difference. I can attest to seeing you in other pictures that there is a real difference. I will start doing that soon though it might be too late for me!

Lori

Brittney Thompson said...

Alyssa-

I will definitely be continuing to work out with Bethany. I really believe she is gifted in her ability to connect and teach through her video! I feel much better taking care of myself. It is so much more then physical! Thanks for commenting!

Sonya,
Yes, I carry very far out in the front. I am only 5'1" so I think there just isn't anywhere else for them to go, lol! Definitely check out her video "How strong is your core?" Even if you don't have Diastasis Recti, you may need further core strengnthing before moving to normal workouts. Thank you for saying something!

Lori,

Thanks mom :)

Anonymous said...

will the diastasis ever heal completely? I have a pretty large gap and feel very depressed about it.

HappilyDomestic said...

If you do the exercises until the gap closes and then stay on top of it, I see no reason why it would come back unless you got pregnant or something. Good question for Fit2b Studio. Maybe ask them on their FB page?

Trisha said...

My diastasis is GIANT. I want to cry every time someone asks me about my "pregnancy" or comments on it. It's hard to get dressed and go to work a lot of days. I eat well, exercise regularly and yes, for me too it seems to just become more and more disproportiate. I had a consult with a surgeon yesterday and he said nope, not a hernia. just diastasis. I was totally distraught yesterday with no options. thanks for the post and pictures. I just started my own "online research" today and fit2b is on my list of hits to check out. Seeing someone's experience and photographs helps a lot !

Unknown said...

Check out the tummy team. I am finding hope in working with then online...

Kaely said...

I just want you to know that I am very thankful for this post, and also for your postpartum tummy picture. It's encouraging and relieving to know that I'm not the only postpartum mommy with a tummy like that. I literally could claim this is a pic of me, as my stomach is identical (I am just 2.5 weeks postpartum with my 3rd Cesarean right now, so currently it's still more 'inflated' hehe, but this is what it looks like when my uterus goes down!). It's encouraging to see your progress with this and I'm planning to work hard on healing mine after I'm cleared for exercise. It's encouraging that others have the same and are working to recover. Thanks again for the post!

Kaely said...

I just want you to know that I am very thankful for this post, and also for your postpartum tummy picture. It's encouraging and relieving to know that I'm not the only postpartum mommy with a tummy like that. I literally could claim this is a pic of me, as my stomach is identical (I am just 2.5 weeks postpartum with my 3rd Cesarean right now, so currently it's still more 'inflated' hehe, but this is what it looks like when my uterus goes down!). It's encouraging to see your progress with this and I'm planning to work hard on healing mine after I'm cleared for exercise. It's encouraging that others have the same and are working to recover. Thanks again for the post!

Anonymous said...

I can also attest to the fact that this works after several years. My son is almost 12, and I've seen amazing results over the last few months.

Family Nicholson said...

yes i am SO grateful for your tunmy photo. literally none of my friends tummys look like mine plus i have an awesome scar from my herniated umbilical surgery. its so nice to know I'm not alone

Anonymous said...

I am so thankful to find your site. Thank you for posting your pictures. Looks just like me and I cant wait to fix the huge gap I have. I ordered my splint today and joined fit2b. Did the first few workouts and couldn't believe I could feel every movement. So excited. Thank you again!

Anonymous said...

I have see your progress and this looks amazing. I have 3 years old Twins and got to know that I suffer from Diastasis Recti only a month back. I am very positive seeing your transition and hope to achieve similar results. Thanks for the confidence you have put in me...

Jennifer said...

Is it worth addressing the issue if you plan to get pregnant again soon?

Nicole said...

@jennifer YES!! Especially if you're going to get pregnant again! I had a 3 finger diastasis after #3 and also started having issues of tinkling when I would sneeze or cough. I started doing the Foundational 5 and then got pregnant shortly after. I continued during pregnancy and the tinkling issues actually went away while I was pregnant! No leaking in the last trimester. After baby #4 I only had a 2 finger diastasis which closed by 12 weeks post partum. I also wore a splint off and on with baby #4. I felt so much stronger during my last pregnancy and a whole lot less lower back pain. This was also my easiest labor and delivery.

Anonymous said...

I have 3 children and my youngest is now 5 years old and my stomach still looks like this. I workout and watch what I eat everyday. Sometimes twice a day and it does nothing but bulge out and still looks the same. I thought I was the only one like this. My stomach was that big while I was pregnant with all 3 kids and now that I read this, it all makes sense now. I am definitely going to check this workout out and add it to my routine.

Anonymous said...

I was sticking out further than you with my third baby AND carrying lower! She is 3 & I still look like I could 5-6m preggo! Sick & tired of it! Tired of feeling like I look how I did after my first baby only to look in the mirror & see something completely different that doesn't feel like me. Hate how I look 'cause it doesn't reflect how I feel. I have tried different things & they caused me nothing but discomfort. :-( Willing to look into this.

Anonymous said...

YES!!!! I had DR after my second & didn't know it 'til after my 3rd baby. I showed way earlier with my 3rd baby AND stuck out much further AND carried much lower. I had to be laying down during labor with my 3rd AND they but an abdominal binder on me to push baby up so that she could get to the birth canal 'cause she was actually hanging over my pelvic bone. It will just be so much worse if you don't try to strengthen it before getting preggo again. The things I wish I had known after baby #2!

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