Diastasis Recti 101 {Learn and Heal}

Over the last few weeks the subject of Diastasis Recti has come up a lot…actually more times than it ever has in the past…and I’m a twin mama {meaning I have a higher risk of Diastasis Recti} This got me thinking & researching and a post was born! If you’ve never heard of Diastasis Recti or aren’t sure exactly what it is, don’t worry, you are not alone.

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Could you have If you have Diastasis Recti?

Here are a few questions that may help:

  • Have you ever been pregnant?
  • Do you have a tummy pooch that won’t go away?
  • Has your innie belly button mysteriously became a outie?

If you answer yes to any of these questions you NEED to do a Diastasis Recti self check {see the how to self check below}

What’s Diastasis Recti?

Pronunciation: dye-uh-STAY-siss REK-tye
Also Known As: diastasis, abdominal separation
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Diastasis Recti is a serious condition that effects 1 in 3 mothers to some degree. Yet, very few of us even know what it is or how to Fix It! {Psst YES it can be done!]

“Also known as abdominal separation, diastasis recti is a condition where the right and left sides of the rectus abdominus (the muscle that makes up the front wall of the abdominals, also known as the “six-pack” muscle) spread apart at the body’s midline. Diastasis negatively affects the strength of the abdominal wall and can aggravate lower back pain.

Abdominal separation occurs most often in response to the force of the uterus pushing against the abdominal wall during pregnancy, but can also happen when there is an extreme over-abundance of sub-muscular (visceral) abdominal fat. In pregnancy, hormones are also partially to blame, as they can soften connective tissue, allowing the separation to occur more easily.” 

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Here I am…32 week pregnant with my twins!

Risks of developing diastasis are greater in women who:

  • Are over the age of 35
  • Have had a high birth weight baby
  • Have had twins, Triples and beyond
  • Have had Multiple Pregnancies
  • Are very Petite
  • Have had Abdominal Separation with a previous pregnancies
  • Have poor abdominal muscle tone
  • Have done excessive abdominal exercises after the first trimester of pregnancy

So why does it matter?

When you abdominal muscles separate, your core’s support is weakened resulting in the tummy pooch that you can’t seem to get rid of {ummm…this could actually be your organs protruding! SCARY} The organs protrude because the muscles are sperated instead of being pulled together! Even scarier if there is ever any trauma this could result in hernia can develop. A diastasis recti may appear as a ridge running down the midline of the abdomen It becomes more prominent with straining and may disappear when the abdominal muscles are relaxed. In extreme cases, diastasis recti is corrected with a surgical procedure known as an abdominoplasty. This creates a tighter abdominal wall.

Diastasis Recti Self Check:

The goal of this self check it to determine how many fingers will fit in the space between the two recti muscles {you can use the Diastasis Recti image above as a guide}

  • Step 1: Lay on your back, knees bent at 90° with feet flat {basically the sit up/crunch position}
  • Step 2: Slightly lift head, placing chin on chest and tighten abdomainal muscles {you may need to relax and tighten to feel the muscles better} Using two finger feel for two ridges down the middle of you stomach {start from the top of your abdomen working your way to your pelvis.
  • Step 3: If you feel separation it is now important to determine the degree of separation. This can be done by  determining the number of fingertips that can fit within the space between the muscles {from left to right}  Separation consisting of a width of 2 fingertips or more is the determining factor for diagnosing diastasis recti.

Do you feel a gap? Is it wider than 2 or 3 fingers? It’s OK, DO NOT FREAK because it is NEVER too late to close Diastasis Recti!

What you NEED to know about  Diastasis Recti?

First, closing Diastasis Recti is all about healing the connective tissue. This healing process and how long it will take in depended on the severity of your diastasis and how committed you are to the healing program {workout}.

Second, if your Diastasis Recti is moderate {2-3 finger gap} or severe {5 finger or more gap} crunches and planks are the WORST THING that you can do.  Why? because these workouts/movements actually pull the muscles apart and will only make your condition worse.

Third, it is SO IMPORTANT to do the self check! You may not have Diastasis Recti even if you are in the “High Risk” category {listed above} At the same time you may have Diastasis Recti even if you have zero connection to the “High Risk” list.

Great Easy to follow Diastasis Recti Workout:

These exercises have been shown to reduce the distasis recti separation!

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Taken from Julie Tupler, RN the author of “Lose Your Mummy Tummy” this is a book I highly recommend for anyone struggling with a weakened core caused by diastasis.

  • Core contraction – In a seated position, place both hands on abdominal muscles.Take small controlled breaths. Slowly contract the abdominal muscles, pulling them straight back towards the spine. Hold the contraction for 30 seconds, while maintaining the controlled breathing. Complete 10 repetitions.
  • Seated squeeze – Again in a seated position, place one hand above the belly button, and the other below the belly button. With controlled breaths, with a mid-way starting point, pull the abdominals back toward the spine, hold for 2 seconds and return to the mid-way point. Complete 100 repetitions.
  • Head lift – In a lying down position, knees bent at 90° angle, feet flat, slowly lift the head, chin toward your chest, (concentrate on isolation of the abdominals to prevent hip-flexors from being engaged), slowly contract abdominals toward floor, hold for two seconds, lower head to starting position for 2 seconds. Complete 10 repetitions.
  • Upright push-up – A standup pushup against the wall, with feet together arm’s-length away from wall, place hands flat against the wall, contract abdominal muscles toward spine, lean body towards wall, with elbows bent downward close to body, pull abdominal muscles in further, with controlled breathing. Release muscles as you push back to starting position. Complete 20 repetitions.
  • Squat against the wall – Also known as a seated squat, stand with back against the wall, feet out in front of body, slowly lower body to a seated position so knees are bent at a 90° angle, contracting abs toward spine as you raise body back to standing position. Optionally, this exercise can also be done using an exercise ball placed against the wall and your lower back. Complete 20 Repetitions.
  • Squat with squeeze – A variation to the “Squat against the wall” is to place a small resistance ball between the knees, and squeeze the ball as you lower your body to the seated position. Complete 20 repetitions.

*No Diastasis Recti will result in very minimal or no gapping of the muscles.

Finally:

If you have Diastasis Recti , I would HIGHLY recommend quitting ALL of the “traditional” abdominal exercises. I would also recommending getting a copy of Julie Tupler’s Lose your Mummy Tummy! Through Julie’s Tupler Technique® it could take you anywhere from six weeks to a year to close your diastasis.

Now GO and do a self check!

References and sources for this post include:

MuTuSystemLose Your Mummy Tummy aka Tupler Technique® , About.comWikipedia

*As always, please check with your medical professional before starting any exercise postpartum.

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The Gabby Mom’s – January Mission: True Treasures

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THE GABBY MOMS

We Gab * We Giggle * We Glitter

Are you familiar with Lorrie Flem and TEACH Magazine (now called Eternal Encouragement)? If you are homeschooling you will want to!! A few years ago a wonderful friend shared Lorrie with me and I have been hooked ever since.  This year I have been given the opportunity to be part of her new The Gabby Moms, I’m so thrilled to be apart of this amazing group of women! My “mission” this January is to share a new book she’s published will all my friends.

True Treasures is an amazing collection of the best of the best articles from the last ten years of TEACH Magazine on topics relating to homemaking, moms, marriage and parenting.

“By wisdom a house is built, and through understanding it is established; Through knowledge it’s rooms are filled with rare and beautiful treasures.” Proverbs 24: 3-4

True Treasures is divided into 6 sections, each one full of inspiring ideas, wisdom from the hearts of women, and encouragement to help you be a better wife, mother, and homemaker.

• Jewels That Make the Heart Sparkle
• Marriages Made of Solid Gold
• Parenting Pearls: Practical and Priceless
• Homemaking That Dazzles Like Diamonds
• Homeschooling Nuggets of Wisdom
• Godly Living That Glitters

Weather you have 5 minutes or two hours, you can benefit from the wonderful encouragement that True Treasures has to offer: such as devotional thoughts, practical tips, encouragement, and inspiration on every page. Every time I picked up the book I was drawn to the marriage and parenting sections. It was wonderful to read and know that their are other Mom’s and Wives going through the same things as I am going through!

While reading in the section Parenting Pearls: Practical and Priceless, I found my self laughing out loud (I will be adding the whining chair from page 57) In Addition I was also really convicted. This caused me to step back and look at my parenting thus far.

As a child, I had a dream. My true hearts desire was to become a Wife to a wonderful man…who I was sure would be Jordan from New Kids on the Block! In addition I wanted have Children and stay at home with them and homeschooling them, just like my mother stayed home and homeschooled me. I didn’t know what the Lord had planned for me, but I knew that that was who I was going to be, a wonderful wife, the best mother, and a great teacher.

Fast forward 20+ years…

Earlier this month my oldest son turned 6. He is a wonderful little boy. Now, he’s 6. With this ‘new’ big boy age there have been a lot new things, losing more teeth, eating more…and…More attitude. Suddenly he is 16, I don’t know what has happened, have I done something wrong? He started complaining about everything, bickering with his younger siblings, and testing every single boundary about 6 months ago.  Bedtime became an unglued mess. I feel like I am losing my patience, I hate yelling but I do, I dislike the kind of Mommy I fear I am becoming.

While seeking the Lord things have become very clear. The Lord has showed me that I have been spending so much time trying to ‘Change’ my 6 year old that I have lost sight of the fact that I need to be the one to change. How can I raise a Christian man, when I am totally unglued? Which became abundantly apparent when I over heard my Children playing together. It was like a ton of bricks on my shoulders, Elias was acting like me. My Heart sunk, ‘is this really who I have become?’ I thought to my self. After spending some much needed time with the Lord, I found my boy and had a much needed talk. I apologized to my precious little boy. How was he supposed to meet these expectation set before him when I wasn’t doing my job and guiding him? Actions truly do speak louder than words don’t them?

While Seeking the Lord, I asked to him to show me where I need to change and boy did he! Spending more time with Jesus was a big lesson I had to learn. I’ll be honest, life gets hectic with kids crying, yelling, asking for this, asking for that. Unfortunately, it’s me who gets lost, my relationship with Jesus gets put on hold. And, for what? So I can lose my patience? I know that is NOT what God wants. 

Jesus is working me and doing some really amazing things. I prayed for the Lord to change me. Before, I was praying like this “Lord, what have I done, why have things be so hard, please help things get better. Amen.” While reading in Philippians something stuck out at me. ‘am I praying for the right things?’

Philippians 4:6 tells us: “Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.”

Over the past few months my prayers have become more like this ” Lord, please help me train my children in a way that is pleasing to you, guide me to be the Mother you want me to be. Please, Lord help me also become the wife that you created me to be…”

Proverbs 2:6 reads: “For the LORD gives wisdom;
from his mouth come knowledge and understanding.”

My life is never too hectic to spend time with my heavenly Father. I have a fire inside me for the Lord that I have not had in quite sometime and it feels WONDERFUL! I have been so surprised that the amount of patience I have acquired through the Lord.  Like today for instance, standing in the middle of my Living Room, I look around and think to myself, ‘it looks like I run an in home daycare with 30 kids.’ I’m not mad or upset; I just laugh and thank God for the wonderful gift of getting to spend everyday with my wonderful Children. The sit down on the floor and play too!

Proverbs 24:3-4 “By wisdom a house is built,
and through understanding it is established;
through knowledge its rooms are filled
with rare and beautiful treasures.”

Living everyday with joy and happiness has left my children living everyday with joy and happiness. Being a mommy is more that just talking at your children, being a mother is guiding your children in more than just word but by actions! My son sees me spending time with the Lord everyday, because of this he spends his own time with Lord, praying for friends and family! He recently was drawing and so excited to show me what he had drawn. “It me mommy, and that is Jesus living in my heart!” With tears in my eyes and warmth in my heart I gave my little guy a squeeze!

Psalm 118:24 “The LORD has done it this very day;
let us rejoice today and be glad. “

Read Excerpts from True Treasures HERE!

At the end of the Parenting section there is a page entitled ‘Bible verses to Pray for your children’ (page 53) No matter how many times I opened the book, with out fail I found my self on that page, reading the verses over and over. These verses are what encouraged and pushed me into this ‘art’ project!

Elias age 6
Simon age 16 months
Gabbi age 16 months

I made a these photos of my children and added a bible verse to each. These photos will be displayed over our bed in our master bedroom. A bright reminder that these three little people are a wonderful gift, given from the Most High.

“But from everlasting to everlasting the LORD’s love is with those who fear him, and his righteousness with their children’s children” Psalm 103:17

Oh my goodness!! I almost forgot to mention ‘Yippee it’s STILL Free!’ (page 85)

Yippee it’s STILL Free is one of the longest running columns from TEACH. In the beginning it contained addresses and phone numbers of companies with free Homemaking and Homeschooling help. Now with the amazing technology we have at our fingertips it is chock full of fantastic websites full of Freebies!!

I completely love gardenofprasie.comthemathworksheetsite.com & letteroftheweek.com they have tons of great printables that my son loves! Our family LOVES pandora.com I think we probably have 10 stations we have created for every changing mood!! There are honestly so many sites listed that I have only visit 2/3 of them!!

True Treasures is a wonderful resource for everyone, weather you be brand new mom to the most seasoned homemaker such as my Mom who was encouraged by the word in the book and wished she had it when all nine of us where still at home. Then there’s me! I have been married for nearly 10 years, a mama for 6 (to my 6 year old son and my 16 month old boy/girl twins), and homeschooling since birth…but structured for 4, and I found encouragement on every page. Truly this is a resource I’ll turn to for inspiration again and again…I already have!

Every Mama, Wife and Teacher needs encouragement and to know that someone truly understands! You can always find the best with True Treasures, Eternal Encouragement magazine, and at http://www.homemakingwithteach.com/.

Click HERE to order your very own copy of True Treasures! The regular price is $19.99, however, if you order before May 31st 2011 you can get $4.00 off by entering the code GabbyMom at checkout. (Only 1 use per customer and per order.)

Please check out all the other great resources available at http://www.homemakingwithteach.com/ including the wonderful magazine where all the articles from True Treasures came from, Eternal Encouragement (formerly TEACH) You can download a FREE SAMPLE ISSUE to see why it is truly a blessing for all women today!

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“Our impact on the next generation may
be far greater than we realize. Don’t discount
your work today. You never know what your long-term
yield will be. Keep on keeping on. Love, Lorrie”
(Letters from Lorrie’s Laundry Room, Spring 2003)


**I received True Treasures for honest review from TEACH (Eternal Encouragement) Magazine as a part of The Gabby Moms blogging program. All opinions expressed are solely my own.**

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Mama Britni