If You're a Mom Reading This, You Should Check for Diastasis Recti!
This post is going to be a little more personal today and it is specifically aimed towards women. It's personal because it's something I have struggled with after having three kids. And it's important because all women should know whether their abdominal wall is weakened or not.
Whether you've had a baby a month ago or decades ago, this blog post is for you. I didn't learn about diastasis recti until late 2018. But it's been a thing as long as women have been having babies! It's more commonly referred to as ab separation. Diastasis recti can keep you from doing a lot things safely. A weakened abdominal wall can cause leakage (do you struggle with sneezing or laughing too hard?) and it can create undo stress on your back as it tries to make up for what you lack in abdominal strength. It can also be worsened postpartum by unsafely picking up a baby.
It is also important to note that diastasis recti is not limited to women that have had children. Diastasis recti can affect any woman that has been doing exercises unsafely. Fortunately this issue can be fixed! And it's something that you can work on no matter your age or stage of pregnancy.
The first step to knowing if you have diastasis recti is to do a self-check. The picture above shows me performing a self-check by lifting my head slightly off the ground and pressing in at my belly button. You then see how many fingers wide your separation is and how deep it is. If you have checked and you don't have an issue here - great! But if you have even a small separation then you can fix it.
After a self-check to determine if you have diastasis recti you can immediately start to strengthen the muscles of the abdominal wall. There are specific exercises that engage the core muscles without putting extra stress on them. A simple YouTube search will bring up some options but my tried-and-true method is through the Every Mother program. (Just to be clear I am in no way endorsed or paid by this program, but it is something I have found that helped me to close my ab separation.)
Every Mother is a wonderful program that has something for everyone whether it's during pregnancy, postpartum or years beyond. I have been doing the exercises with great results and I have much better control over my abdominal wall. Running has become easier for me because I have greater control and I haven't done one sit-up since starting the program! Yep - you get to stop laboring away at sit-ups because they unsafely stress the abdominal wall. All of the workouts are 30 minutes or less and many of the workouts in the beginning can be completed in 10 minutes. There are videos to walk you through every step of the way and there are even programs to further challenge you once you have completed the initial "Body Reclaim" path.
Please note that I am in no way a medical professional in this field. This is simply my experience with an issue that is more common than we realize. I only wish that I had learned about the Every Mother program with my first baby! Even if you are a stay at home mom like me, then this program is a breeze to add into your daily life. There is also an app for your phone to make it easy to accomplish these exercises whether you're at home or traveling. I'm always thankful for the time I spend strengthening my body. I can't tell you how pleased I am to know that I won't blindly enter into a later stage of life with a weakened abdominal wall.
So if you are having any trouble with a weak core, pelvic floor issues, low back pain or if you feel like you still look pregnant months or year after giving birth, try the Every Mother program. If this post helps only person regain control of their abdominal wall then I will be happy. Let me know if you experience a gain in abdominal strength!