Diastasis Recti

Diastasis Recti….sounds like some sort of gross contagious disease right?  Well, it isn’t contagious, but I have it.  It is really just a fancy medical term for separated ab muscles.  It typically occurs during pregnancy particularly when there is rapid expansion of the stomach.  Yep, that happened!  Thus, I traded my six pack for a four pack.  Of course, I would never trade the two again, but this is a bit of a problem.  While I’ve been lucky enough to shed most of the baby weight, my stomach is a bit, um, well saggy.  I liken it to stretchy, baggy elephant skin.  When I lay flat on my back, my stomach is flat and squishy, but when I stand it sags down.  I know I’m making this sound like a cosmetic problem, which it is.  The bigger issue is that my ab muscles are disconnected and I have NO functional core.  We use our core muscles for most everything from getting out of bed to sweeping the floor.  It is even difficult for me to bend over to pick up the babies.  Can you imagine how bad this will be as they grow? Without a strong core, back problems can ensue.  This is just not good!

I’ve done a bit of research on this and of course consulted quad mamas.  While some believe that
Diastasis Recti can only be corrected with a tummy tuck, there are some exercises that are supposed to do the job.  Unfortunately, pretty much any familiar ab exercise e.g. crunches, planks actually exacerbate the problem.  I am not in the market to go under the knife for a tummy tuck for several reasons.  I would like my children to have a chance at a college fund, plus I’d rather not be recovering from abdominal surgery with four babies at my side.  Yuck!

I am committing to doing 50 modified crunches (small crunch only lifting the head and shoulders while pulling the abs together with my hands) twice daily.  I’m going to take a before picture now for reference.  If you thought I’d show you the “before” picture…you’ve got another thought coming.  When I pull myself all together again, I may have the moxie to post the “before” and “after”, but until then I don’t think so.

While I may not be brave, Christina over at the http://www.ThreeLeggedRace.us bared her belly just four weeks after delivering her triplets.  My belly is not a far cry from hers so you get the idea!

http://www.threeleggedrace.us/the-post-babies-bump-1-month/

here are links to videos of the modified crunch I do:

http://www.nowloss.com/How-to-get-rid-of-diastasis-recti-exercises-after-pregnancy.htm

http://www.pregnancy-info.net/separated_muscles.html

And of course I will share four pack pictures!

Uh oh….looks like Mason committed a party foul. Barf in the crib!

Mason and Sydney

Harper and Rylin

Here’s to putting myself back together again!

 

hugs!

 

Amber

 

17 thoughts on “Diastasis Recti

  1. Aw, hang in there! (no pun intended…) If it makes you feel any better, my one-month belly doesn’t look too different from those pictures, except that somehow I’ve avoided stretch marks. But I can’t imagine having no ab muscles still… 😦 Hope your exercise routine is successful.

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  2. Thankfully with my one and only I didn’t have to deal with the abs but the saggy squishy part, yep we all have it to one degree or another. Looks like Sydney has caught up to the rest of them. I never would have picked her out as the smallest. They are starting to look like one parent or the other a bit.

    and hey Lisa Hewitt, congratulations! Update our blog so we can see pics of the new one and how the twins are reacting 🙂

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    • Yeah, yeah, about that… I may actually have time tonight! It takes me forever, and the times when the twins are asleep and I’m not being munched upon are rare and short. Maybe tonight is the night!

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    • Hopefully in time the squishy is less, but the no abs is just bad. Sydney really has caught up for the most part and now has chubby cheeks!

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  3. Amber, I wonder if you could do some straight leg circles exercises? I’ve done these after having my babies and they work. After doing them, I do contraction exercises. Because every time you do an abdominal exercise, at the point of exertion is when you’re muscles actually protrude. So contractions pull those muscles back in place. Ask your doctor if these are ok. If so, I can show you how to execute them. Very easy but technique is important to protect the back. Let me know sweetie. And remember, I’m in your corner so keep swimming! LOL…. Love u and those 4 babies.

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  4. You go girl! It’s a hard road, we’re still dealing with so much of the “fall out” from the pregnancy. It never ends, does it!? I think it’s great you’re cracking down on the ab exercises. I plan to try doing them soon as well and hope to have a consultation for a TT by the end of the year so I can know what to expect. We started working out budget plans for a TT nearly as soon as we’d found out we were expecting quads. I wonder if I’ll be brave enough for a before and after pic down the road, too. The babies are looking wonderful!!

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    • No kidding! Quad pregnancies aren’t easy on the body! I am doing my best to do my exercise, but haven’t been as good as I wanted to be. Let me know how the consult goes!

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  5. Reconsider your plan. You can close your mid line with proper rehab, but NOT with mini-crunches!
    To repair diastasis recti after pregnancy, you need to start by building a lot of strength back into your deepest abdominal muscle, your Transverse Abdominis, or TvA. When contracted, the TvA compresses the abdomen. The TvA does not move bone. Then after this muscle has regained adequate strength, you need to do specialized postnatal rehab exercises that train the muscle to function properly as a stabilizer.
    If your mid line is very wide, more than 3 finger-widths, you can also add manual splinting of your mid line with your hands to assist your TvA.
    In the mean time, do not perform ANY abdominal exercises that lift/flex the upper body off the floor or against the force of gravity, as these moves will make the condition worse. No crunches, (mini or otherwise), oblique pulses, roll-ups, roll-downs, most Pilates mat work, and yoga moves like “boat pose.”
    All women with diastasis should use the “log roll” technique when rising from the floor, or getting out of bed to protect their mid lines.
    You can find out more at:
    http://www.befitmom.com
    Helene Byrne, BeFit-Mom

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  6. I’ll say that I definitely feel like my body got stronger as the babies got older, and I don’t really have much back pain now 18 months later. I haven’t been committed to doing any exercises to try and repair it, though I do have a friend who had success with some. I was sort of motivated earlier on and then just decided I didn’t care enough to devote the time to exercising specifically for that purpose. But, that’s probably because I’m not feeling pain so I just don’t think about it that much. Good luck to you, and I hope you see results!

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    • I apologize for so many comments…but I just went back and looked at my post and I hadn’t realized how much change has occurred since then! My stomach is mostly flat now except for the extra skin and a little bit of “pooch” but it’s not too noticeable with most things I wear. So if the pictures on my blog are kind of where you are now, then there is definitely the chance that it will continue to improve on its own as your body makes its way “back to normal”. I know it can feel superficial to be concerned with your own body’s appearance when you have four healthy babies to be thankful for, but I think you can be thankful for your babies and be a little bummed about your body changing at the same time. It takes some getting used to, that’s for sure!

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      • My tummy is definitely down quite a bit. I am out of maternity clothes altogether. I just adopted a new style, skinny pants with looser fitting tops that camouflage my pooch. It does seem superficial to worry about myself with four healthy babies, but I agree, I think we’re entitled to feel it a bit 😉

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    • That is good to know! Did you have diastasis recti? I figure you did since your belly button was out and you are so tiny too. My tummy is better than your four week picture and looked pretty much the same when I was four weeks out. The gap is now closer to two fingers than three, which is good. I just hope I don’t have back problems from it. I feel a bit debilitated.

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