These last couple weeks have been pretty busy and I haven’t been able to write my own posts for you guys! I do apologize, so this week you will get two. The other will be on Friday. This post about diastasis recti is the last of my four part series and I hope you have enjoyed them as much I have writing them. So lets get started shall we!
Diastasis recti – what is it?
With the joys of motherhood come many terms that we never would have thought of before such as sitz bath (love these by the way), peri bottles and the one most people don’t even think about is diastasis recti. For all you mamas out there, how many have heard of diastasis recti? Maybe a lot of you or maybe not many of you at all. Have you ever pee’d yourself when coughing, sneezing or laughing? Are you having painful sex post baby? Yea that’s not normal and you shouldn’t think because you had a baby that its okay.
Diastasis recti also know as abdominal separation is the separation of the muscles along the mid line of the abdomen, typically as seen in women during and after pregnancy. According to mayo clinic, the growing uterus stretches the muscles in the abdomen during pregnancy. This can cause the two large parallel bands of muscles that meet in the middle of the abdomen to become separated by an abnormal distance — a condition called diastasis recti or diastasis recti abdominis.
In other words, its that little pooch that we seem to still have once the baby weight has gone away. There are a few exercises that can be done to help and some that are actually harmful. First rule of thumb would be to seek help from a physical therapist (PT). Whether you think your separation is severe or not it is still a good idea to ask for help.
Just to throw this out here though, diastasis recti isnt just a post pregnancy issue even though it happens to most women. It is an abdominal issue that could even happen in men and children.
What is the issue?
With diastasis recti comes pelvic floor issues such as peeing your pants and painful sex; two of the things we don’t talk about in our mommy groups. Before I met Amy from Modern Mommy PT , I thought peeing my pants was a result of having a baby. I thought there was nothing I could do about it and even having painful sex after baby I chalked up to normal from the tearing. Even though it most certainly could’ve been that, I soon learned that my pelvic floor was weak.
In the crunchy mom groups you would think we would talk about DR right? We talk about cloth diapers, potty training, elimination communication and baby led weaning right so why not diastasis? I first realized I probably had diastasis recti when I was apparently pregnant baby #2. I say apparently for a reason lol. If you dont know that story already let me summarize it real quick.
When Malakai turned one years old, I was three months pregnant with Roman and had NO IDEA! “India how did you not know you were pregnant though?! I just didn’t know, what can I say. I got sick maybe a few times. Slowly switching to a plant based diet obviously was the reason right? Nope! Anyways, I had a pooch and thought nothing of it. That was probably a combination of my pregnancy bump and my abdominal separation because the pooch was there for months after Malakai was born.
What to do about it?
I have since learned that there are excercises to help with it and to avoid the ones that can be harmful such as crunches and planks; who knew?!
Sometimes severe cases need surgery and extensive PT support, but usually modified at home exercises can help. For now on when I am talking with my mom friends about how they’re doing and healing, my next question will be ” How is your pelvic floor?” It is actually pretty funny to me how personal we can get in conversation about motherhood and this is something that just doesn’t come up. This will change for sure, at least with me. With one of my many jobs as being a doula, I provide resources to parents and this is one of those topics because if no one talks about it, then how will we know?
Do you have diastasis? Did you know about it before this? Comment below and let me know! This seems to be an issue among the majority of us, so I would love to hear your thoughts.