M.P. asks from Tampa, FL on October 08, 2009
Abdominal Separation After Pregnancy
Does anyone have any experience with Abdominal Separation after pregnancy? I've got it and I'm tired of being asked when my next kid is due. I've started exercising with the traditional crunches and such but I've read in a few places that you're not supposed to do that but it never says why or what else to do.
K.C. answers from Orlando on October 11, 2009
I am the owner of Stroller Strides Central FL and pre and post natal exercise certified.
If you are AT LEAST 6 weeks postpardum then crunches and a variety of abdominal exercises are the way to go. As someone else mentioned buying one of those "belly band" type things to wear while working out will help but wrapping a towel from the back around the front and held on both sides will do the same thing.
You can email me if you have specific questions that I can answer about what is the safest or anything else. :)
L.B. answers from Miami on October 12, 2009
I also had abdominal separation or diastasis recti. There is a potential to correct through specific exercises (see Julie Tupler's book or info on website) NOT regular crunches. If the diastasis recti is very wide like mine was, (5 fingers across) it may also be referred to as a abdominal hernia or ventral hernia and may need to be repaired through surgery. (Probably not what you want to hear....) Depending on your insurance, it may be covered. You should go see a general surgeon to have it evaluated. In the mean time, stay away from traditional crunches and learn other "core" exercises.
M.C. answers from Jacksonville on October 09, 2009
I have the same problem you do. I have two children and was told that I had Diastasis Recti (abdominal separation) with my first. My second pregnancy made it worse - it was really painful after about 7 months since I basically had nothing to hold up my tummy. I wore an abdominal binder for several weeks after giving birth; it didn't help much except to act like my abdominal muscles are supposed to and hold all my insides in place. Like the previous poster wrote, there really isn't anything you can do except surgery to correct this. I'm having abdominoplasty in 10 days to finally fix my middle, and I can't wait! If you want to email me personally to find out more, please don't hesitate.
S.D. answers from Sarasota on October 09, 2009
A friend of mine suggested holding a towel around my waist and pulling it tight at my abs when I did crunches. It took me a good 6 months of regular exercise (I did a variety of abdominal exercises) before people stopped asking me when I was due and a 1 1/2 years before I felt relatively comfortable with the way my abs looked.
The best abdominal workout I found is called Core Rhythms Secret to Sexy Abs.
Good luck! (Our kids are worth it ;)
K.G. answers from Sarasota on October 09, 2009
The book "Lose Your Mummy Tummy" by Julie Tupler and Jodie Gould talks about this and provides appropriate exercises. The authors go through the anatomy of the condition and talk about when surgery is needed and when it is not. I would get this book, read through it, talk to your doctor about it and go from there.
Hope this helps.
K.L. answers from Tampa on October 09, 2009
I also have diastasis, if yours is severe you need to see a DR, not only for the cosmetic side of it, but bc it can be dangerous in severe cases because nothing is there to keep things like your intestines to fall forward.
My diastasis is not severe, but it does bother me quite a bit. You do not want to do crunches because it can make it worse; I have found that Pilateshas helped to strengthen my core and made the diastasis less noticable.
There is a great pilates place in New Tampa/Wesley Chapel area that is very one on one with a personal trainer and more affordable than your local gym - if you would like to try it message me and I will give you the info :)
K.R. answers from San Juan on October 09, 2009
Hi! What you have is a diastasis. Im sure if you google that word, you will get some sites that can tell you how to repair it. Basically, the muscles separate during pregnancy b/c of poor mechanics (sitting straight up from a lying flat on back position, like on the OB's exam table) in combination with the relaxin hormone. Once they separate, you need to bring them back together so they can act like a girdle & unless you fix it, the crunches won't do much.....& may make the separation worse. It can also lead to problems down the road...lower back pain, hernia etc
What you can do.......lie on the floor on your back with a towel or long blanket around your waist. When you lift your head, like you do in crunching, bring the 2 ends of the towel over each other, so that you are pulling it snugly around your torso. This will help bring the separated muscles back together. You can also do the same thing but using your hands to bring them together. Also, try to be mindful of pulling your belly in during the course of the day, maybe at stop lights when you are driving.
I think a good post partum dvd would help too...to you make sure you are doing core exercises that take the diastasis into consideration.
You have taken the first step, which is figuring out that you have one (most women don't even know about it) & now you can fix it...& you can fix it!! Do you know how large your diastasis is? If it is very wide, you may need extra help, but don't run straight away to surgery. Some can be fixed with exercise ! Don't be discouraged!!!! All the best!!!!
L.H. answers from Miami on October 09, 2009
oh how I wish 'they' told me about this before having kids!
I have this too.
three yrs later and still have people wondering when I'm due!
one day I'll go for surgery...
but I've heard it's 'major'
S.S. answers from Daytona Beach on October 09, 2009
you can check your insurance or get a referral from your dr to a physical therapist for exercises. mini-crunches, any kind of sitting motion that targets the abdominals. couldn't really find out why either. i read on one site that one PT recommended reverse crunches. where you lie down and bring your knees into your chest while raising your behind off the floor slightly. also pelvic lifts. just lifting your behind off of the floor. there's also a dvd at www.befitmom.com/abdominal. also sometimes, if it's severe enough, your insurance will actually pay for a tummy tuck bc it is a medical condition.