This topic has been weighing on my mind for about two and a half years now. It’s that silly post-pregnancy body that kinda keeps hanging around. I’m not talking about weight gain. Diastasis recti, I just call it separated abs, occur when your abdominal muscles stretch while pregnant (can occur for other reasons too) and literally separate down the middle, causing that constant 6 month pregnancy pooch.
I unfortunately didn’t really pay much attention until my twins were about 9 months old. While pregnant, I heard some warnings, but I guess it never presented itself in such a way as to concern me. Once I started investigating, seeing a personal trainer (who gave me many wrong exercises), moved on to a pilates instructor with more knowledge, but the format didn’t work for me. I then took a group two hour class from Lynn at Intuitive Hands Physical Therapy. The key difference is that this is Lynn’s specialty. The class had pregnant and recently pregnant ladies in it. We discussed how many women just can’t shake that permanent 6 month pooch after they’ve had their baby. Their abdominal muscles have separated and stretched out. Lynn does group classes and then she offers private appointments to discuss many other issues that can arise from pregnancy. Pregnancy affects the whole body in a variety of ways, often leaving us with lifelong complications, and we think it’s “normal” to have these difficulties. The group class was very informative and gave me simple, easy to do exercises to help with my diastasis recti. The private appointment was more of a massage focused on my abdomen, pelvis and scaring from my c-section. I was supposed to be massaging that scar. No one told me that. Why didn’t they tell me that? Seems like something your doctor should tell you. Almost all scars should be massaged frequently.
While researching, I had trouble finding specialists that understood my specific needs with diastasis recti, but whether you’re pregnant, have a 6 month old, or a 30 year old, you should seek help with any concerns. If you feel that your core is not where it should be and still feel that your muscles just never recovered, contact someone with specialized knowledge in this area. This by no means a statement of loosing that pregnancy weight, or what your body should look like based on social standards. This is keeping your body healthy, strong and happy.
Lynn is based in Longmont, but holds appointments in the Highlands in Denver a few times a month as well. Her website may help answer many other questions:
I get frustrated by how little I knew, and how a bit more knowledge earlier on could have helped me so much down the line.
*The pictures included are a bit more extreme than my situation, but give an idea of what to look for and consider
Adrienne Yoshihara is a SAHM, teacher on a break and getting ready to send her 34.5 month old twins into Preschool. Anticipating another new “normal.”