Monday, 11 September 2017

Diastasis recti! My experience

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When I had my third child, I was determined to get my belly back to its normal size, I had promised myself that I was going to get my body to the best shape possible. Once I was cleared to start exercising, I went right to it, no waste of time! A few months later, I had lost a significant amount of weight, from 75kg to 56kg. I was happy with the result, but was still concerned about my belly because it wasn't cooperating like the rest of my body, if anything it seemed worse. I looked five months pregnant, I didn't understand what was going on.

The solution had to be more ab exercises, I figured. So I started doing more planks, crunches, sit-ups, anything to tone my belly. Nothing helped. I started experiencing waist pain so I took a break from exercising.

I tried not to think too much of my "mummy tummy", but I got reminders once in a while. My kids have asked me several times if I was having another baby since my belly was big. On one occassion, someone I had not seen in a while saw me and asked if I was pregnant, I smiled politely and told her I wasn't. 

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I knew something wasn't right, but I didn't know what exactly it was. I could tell my posture was slightly off. I resumed planking, crunches and other traditional ab exercises to strengthen my core, but the more I did these the more my belly appeared bigger. One day, I was going through Instagram and saw a random post on diastasis recti. The symptoms sounded familiar, a quick examination showed I had a separated abdomen. I studied as many materials as I could on it, I learnt how to check for a diastasis recti. A proper check revealed I had a three and a half finger gap in my belly. Wow! 

How come I had never heard of diastasis recti before I did? Why is it not talked about? I attended postnatal clinic and it was never mentioned as something to look out for. 

What is a Diastasis recti?
Diastasis recti, also called abdominal separation is the widening of the gap between the two sides of your six pack muscles (Rectus Abdominis). When this separation is too much, it causes the belly to protrude.

How to check for a diastasis recti?
  • Lie flat on your back with your knees bent and your feet flat on the floor.
  • Place your fingers a little bit above your belly button, apply a little pressure.
  • Lift up your head and neck about an inch off the floor, if you feel a gap, that means you have a diastasis recti. 

I'm happy I found out what the problem was because that is the first step towards healing. A diastasis recti can be healed by surgery(tummy tuck) or targeted core exercises that encourage healing. Traditional ab exercises only worsen a diastasis recti, stay away from them.

I have decided to go the route of exercise to heal my gap. With a little patience and consistency I believe I should achieve a significant level of healing.

Do you have a diastasis recti? Have you successfully healed your diastasis recti? We would love to hear about your experiences.

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