If you are or have been pregnant, chances are, you have a diastasis. Don’t worry, this is usually when I get the blank stare so, if you don’t know what it is, you are not alone. With that said, if you have a diastasis, you are also not alone. A diastasis recti is extremely common among pre- and post-natal women.
What is a diastasis?
A diastasis is the separation of the outermost abdominal muscles or, the rectus abdominis. Separation occurs because the pregnancy hormones soften connective tissue as the uterus pushes against the abdominal wall. When these muscles separate, the connective tissue that joins them stretches sideways becoming thinner and weaker. A diastasis is usually measured using fingers. Some women have a one finger diastasis, other women have a five finger diastasis. Typically, a diastasis remains in the one to five finger-wide range. In more rare occasions, women have as much as a ten finger diastasis.
I know it is disheartening to discover you have a diastasis or to discover that this is a common post-natal issue. Let me encourage you with some important details:
* Your diastasis can be healed with proper rehabilitation exercises.
* Healing your diastasis will help you reach your goal of flattening out your middle.
* YOU have the power to heal your diastasis and, most likely, you do not require surgery.
* With the proper rehabilitation, you can have stronger abdominals than you did before childbirth.
* Rehabilitation and conditioning can begin days after giving birth or having a cesarean section.
* You can do diastasis rehabilitating exercises anytime, anywhere, even while you are breast feeding!
* A diastasis can be healed at any time in your life. It is never too late.
* It is important to heal your diastasis even if you plan to carry a second child. An un-healed diastasis can cause you to carry your second child much larger causing a more uncomfortable pregnancy.
* Using a fabric splint will help support your abdominals while your diastasis is healing.
* Finally, the top life-style change while healing your diastasis is to NEVER DEPEND ON FORWARD MOTION TO LIFT YOU FROM A FLAT LYING POSITION. This will open your diastasis even more. This also means, no crunches, no “jack-knifing” up from bed, no sit-ups. (Don’t be discouraged, there are MANY abdominal exercises you can do while healing your diastasis).
How can you check yourself for a diastasis?
* Lie on your back with knees bent and feet on the floor.
* Place one hand behind your head, exhale, and lift your head and shoulders off the floor in a “crunch” position.
* Use one hand, fingers extended, and press it gently into the center of your abdomen.
* Move your hand down your abdomen, feeling for the left and right sides of your rectus abdominus (six pack muscles).
* At about two inches above your navel, at your navel, and two inches below, use your fingers to measure the width of your diastasis in those three abdominal locations.
So, now what?
For some of you, this information is a huge relief. For others, it may be a challenge. For some, it is frustrating to learn this information weeks, months, or even years after trying to get rid of that last bit of “belly softness”. I have seen, firsthand, the power of healing a diastasis. Committing to rehabilitating your diastasis by executing proper exercises, making small yet imperative lifestyle changes, and learning more about how exactly your body has been affected post-birth will make a difference physically and emotionally.
If you are feeling called to take the next steps around healing and feeling better about your center and body, please get in touch with me for a one-on-one conversation via email or phone.
* We will talk about the next steps toward re-gaining your shape and strength.
* I will be able to answer any questions you may have.
* We will address any new-mom issue that leaves you feeling just not “the same”.
* You will discover if setting up a one-on-one personal training session is right for you.
Words from someone who’s “been there”–
“At first I didn’t know what diastasis was. But after having two babies in seventeen months, I knew that SOMETHING about my abdomen was not right! I ended up just telling Charlotte, ‘I need to fix my divide!’ With some individual coaching, she taught me simple things that I could do to strengthen and heal my stomach muscles. I am seven months postpartum now and still have some work to do, but knowing that I can recover has encouraged me that I don’t have to give up on my body after babies!”
-N.B, mom of Clark 7 mos. and Thomas 2 years.
I ask all of you to please forward this newsletter to any and every mom and mom-to-be you know no matter where they reside. This information is meant to be shared so that women, as a whole, can have the power to understand their bodies in a deeper, more clear manner. Thank you!
Personal Trainer and Pilates Instructor