When I started teaching FITMOM Classes almost 7 years ago, very few people were talking about Diastasis Recti (DR). In fact, up until I had Jakob I had never even heard of it, and now I spend a good chunk of my day educating people about optimal core health, especially during pregnancy and postpartum. Thankfully, in this short time, the field of research is growing and I am committed to learning it all. I LOVE to learn new skills and information that increases my knowledge to ensure that our classes are safe, functional and effective for all!
Initially, you may have come to learn about DR because you come to my class and I yammered on about it. Or perhaps you did some investigation on the internet one day because you did not like the ‘look’ of your tummy after baby and you found some information that way (many a google search has led some of you to me!) Regardless of how you learned about it though, it is important to take a few minutes to complete a self-assessment and determine if a separation is present and learn the safe & effective restorative exercises & postural changes that will improve the function of your core.
Although abdominal separation often presents as a cosmetic problem (aka Mummy Tummy), it’s actually an indication of a pressure problem (the contents of your abdominal cavity are straining your abdominal wall, pressure can move up, out or down). Abdominal Separation is also an indication of a core that is not functioning optimally. Don’t feel bad. Almost 100% of postpartum women have some amount of separation, including me! So, you’re in good company. However, over the past few years I have made changes to some of the behaviours/habits that were contributing to my DR and over time I have improved my core strength and function.
- I stopped tucking my butt under. If there was a bumper sticker that read “Former Butt Tucker” I would buy it and display it proudly
- I sit on the floor more than I sit on chairs (except if I am being honest, I am slouched on the couch right now, better move!)
- No more rib thrusting (Actually I am not a rib thruster, but lots of YOU are, so I put it on my list of things to change)
- I learned how to do a kegal properly (thanks to some pelvic floor therapy)
- I breathe WITH my diaphragm
- I learned how to activate my transverse abdominal muscles properly (TVA)
- I stopped “sucking my tummy in”. This just makes a DR worse. In fact, it actually increases pressure, and not in a good way. Now I let my tummy relax. And when the old habit of sucking it in rears it’s ugly head, I adjust and relax.
- I try and stretch the muscles that are shortened as a result of butt tucking/anterior tilt (hamstring lengthening, calf stretch and the beast of them all, the psoas)
- I learned how to improve my alignment. So that when I am standing, walking, lifting and carrying and sitting I am better aligned. I LOVE Katy Bowman. If you want to learn how to move better, check her out. She’s in my head, like I am in your head. I can hear her (even though we have never met) whisper “ribs down”. If you ever read her stuff you will know what I mean.
- I became ‘Core Aware’ and made small, mindful changes to improve my strength & function.
Sure, there’s always room for improvement, but I am 100% stronger than I was 7 years ago! It is a process. There is no magic pill. It involves work, but I remind myself I am worth it and You are worth it too!
Below you will find a quick and easy self-assessment guide that you can use to check yourself for abdominal separation. If you have any questions, ask me! I am happy to help AND if I don’t know the answer, I betcha I know someone who does! Click on the link below to access the PDF.