Healing Diastasis Recti
If you follow me on Instagram (@pinkandblueblog) I have been sharing a lot about my journey in healing my rectus diastasis since having my fourth baby. If you aren’t familiar with what this is, it’s the weakening of the linea alba/connective tissue that runs between your “six pack” muscles. As a result, it causes the connecting muscles to separate. This is common in pregnancy.
I was quite petite when I became pregnant with Maxton (my first) and since he was 11 pounds (WOW), I was left with a four-finger separation. Meaning, there is a four-finger-width separation between my abs. I first learned of this during a Mom and Baby Yoga class I signed up for with Maxton. Someone specializing in healing rectus diastatsis came into our class to educate us on the topic. I had the worst case in the class, and was told that I should try to heal it before having another baby. Well, I didn’t realize how important this actually was (in my head I am yelling at 26-year-old Helen) and didn’t. After having Everly (my second child), my OB noticed it but told me the only way to repair it would be through surgery. Physically, there was no signs of it but I could definitely feel it when checking myself.
To check for rectus diastasis, you would do the following: Lay flat on your back with your knees bent. Place two to three fingers just above your belly button. Tuck your chin and lift your head off the ground (keep your shoulders on the ground) until you feel your abdominal muscles activate. You will feel the edge of the rectus muscles hug your fingers, at which point you may have to adjust how many fingers you are using. You will then assess the gap at the belly button, and both three fingers above and below the belly button.
After having Isla (my third child), I didn’t think much about my rectus diastasis, assuming it had just healed itself because it has been almost seven years since my last baby. Fast forward to 2022 when I had Elowyn (my fourth baby), my body decided to physically tell me: I should have been healing it over the course of the last 11 years. Physically I could now see the separation. A visible bulge that protruded around my belly button that was not changing. At my six-week post-partum appointment, my OB told me after having 4 big babies (all ranging between 9 and 11 pounds), I would need a tummy tuck to repair the severity of my rectus diastasis. I was so upset with myself, that I didn’t actively try to repair it over the past 11 years.
I went home and immediately started researching how to heal severe rectus diastasis (without surgery). I realized I started following Nancy Anderson Fit and the Birth Recovery Center on Instagram shortly after having Isla, but never really looked into the programs they had to offer. At the end of October 2022, I decided to sign up for the Ab Rehab Program, to begin healing my diastasis recti. This is my before picture:
This is waaaay out of my comfort zone, but I feel like this journey is important to share, because I felt like the odds were against me. I had nothing to lose by trying to heal my ab separation myself; but knew it was going to take time and effort. I was determined to heal it by the Summer of 2023 (don’t ask me why, I just needed some kind of end-date in my head). I still have a ways to go, but this was my progress as of the middle of March 2023: 4.5 months of working to heal my diastasis recti:
There is still a “bulge” and I am still a “work in progress”, but there has been soooo much improvement, not just visually, but how I feel. Although I had to pause the program for a few weeks, I plan to get back to it this month and make time for me again.
So to those of you out there who are dealing with diastsis recti and have been told or believe that surgery is your only option, I highly encourage you to check out the Birth Recovery Center and give their Ab Rehab Program a try. I am so impressed with how easy the workouts are to follow and of course, the results. You can heal your abs at any time post-partum. It doesn’t matter if you are only 6 months or 10 years post-partum – you can start at any time. Some have seen results a lot quicker – but after speaking with some of the coaches there, they confirmed that cases that are more severe take longer to heal (mine). You can choose a membership that offers support of various coaches 24/7; or you can simply pay for workouts and follow at your own pace. They offer great educational resources that provide so much insite into diastasic recti, pelvic floor healing, c-section recovery (including scar healing) and nutrition. I hope this provides hope/support for at least one of you! It can be so discouraging to see women “bounce back” with no effort after one or multiple pregnancies, and I am here to remind you that what I experienced/am experiencing is completely normal and should be normalized more. Remember, your body is amazing. 🙂