Thursday, April 28, 2011

Diastasis Recti

**If you found my blog while researching diastasis, welcome! I get many of the same questions emailed to me regarding this post, so I thought I'd try to answer them here. I was 4 months postpartum when these pictures were taken. I have done physical therapy, transverse abdominal exercises, worn a splint/abdominal binder and tried the tupler technique. None of this has made a difference. My stomach greatly improved by 9 months postpartum (on its own) and even more so by 12 months postpartum. However my diastasis is unchanged. Once I am done having children I will be getting a tummy tuck to correct my hernias and diastasis and to put my body back together again.**

I start postpartum physical therapy in two weeks to help correct diastasis recti which is leftover from my pregnancy. Diastasis recti is a separation between the left and right side of the abdominal muscles that covers the front surface of the belly. A diastasis recti looks like a ridge that stretches from the bottom of the breastbone to the belly button. As your muscles relax throughout the day, the ridge gets bigger. Any strain on the muscle causes the size of the ridge to increase as well. To give you a better idea, here's what my stomach looks like.

For several weeks now, I've thought that my stomach wasn't healing quite right. But every time I mentioned it to someone I was told that I "just had twins" or that I was being too hard on myself or (and this is my favorite) I was asked if I had an eating disorder or if I was suffering from postpartum depression.

I finally said to hell with it and scheduled an appointment with my OB. And, as it turns out, I was right. My abs were so stretched from the last trimester of my pregnancy that the muscles are abnormally (i.e. more than 2 1/2 finger widths) separated. Additionally, the right side of my stomach sticks out farther than the left side, which isn't surprising considering that Reese - my right side baby - used to curl up in a ball and scoot her little heiney up under my rib cage at night.

{ what my stomach looks like when the muscle is relaxed }

{ what it looks like when I tighten my core }

Anyway, while my body will continue to heal with time, only specific core work will fix the problem. Thankfully I was able to locate a physical therapist that specializes in postpartum recovery. I'm eager to start PT. I think I could love my postpartum body (battle scars and all) if my stomach healed properly.

So that's that. I'm not entirely crazy (yet). I really hope this does the trick. I've read if core work doesn't realign the muscle that the only other option is surgical correction, which is something I'm not willing to undertake. I hate hiding under big shirts and my back is freaking killing me - something I'm sure isn't helped by scooping up the bambinos a thousand times a day.

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