Has anyone ever congratulated you on your pregnancy, except you weren't pregnant?
It happened to me!
Do you feel self-conscious about your belly?
Would you like to change that?
If so, hang with me.
I've finally decided it's time to do something about my mommy tummy!
I know the shape of my belly does not define me, nor does it increase (or decrease my value as a human bring. But, I also know that I feel better when I'm in good shape. And feeling better improves many other areas of life.
For a long time I thought I just had the average muffin top and needed to exercise more, but that's not the case.
I've come to find out that the belly I've carried around since my kids were born, is not merely due to gaining weight or lack of exercise, it's actually a medical condition called diastasis recti.
What is Diastasis Recti?
Diastasis recti is the separation of the rectus abdominis (six pack) muscle as a result of excessive intra-abdominal pressure during pregnancy. For some women, the gap doesn’t close naturally and results in a ‘pooch’ stomach.
“The split occurs at the Abdominal Raphe (Linea Alba and Linea Semiluniaris), the seam of mid-line collagen structures of connective tissue at the front of the abdomen. This connective tissue stretches (weakening in the process) to form a diastasis.” (Source)
It is very common for women who have carried babies to have diastasis recti, but it's also possible for those who have never been pregnant to experience separation of the abdominals. Even men.
Diastasis recti is not just about having a tummy pooch or weak abdominals, according to WebMD:
“The condition also can cause lower back pain, constipation, and urine leaking. It can even make it harder to breathe and to move normally. It's rare, but in extreme cases, the tissue may tear, and organs may poke out of the opening — that’s called a hernia.”
So, it's really worth seeking out a solution to this problem if you are experiencing it.
How to know if you have Diastasis Recti
Here are a few diastasis recti symptoms that may be present:
- a ‘pooching’ or ‘doming’ of the stomach, especially when coming up from a lying position
- pelvic floor dysfunction
- stomach bulges more when full of food and may get progressively worse throughout the day
- belly button may pop out
- possible back pain
- organs may protrude through the gap (only a thin layer of tissue is supporting them)
- severe diastasis may even show a pulsing of the digestive system underneath
How to test for Diastasis Recti
Performing a self-test for diastasis recti is easy and can be done in your own home.
Watch this video for step-by-step instructions to help you identify diastasis recti:
I performed the at-home diastasis test above and discovered a three-finger-width separation.
Even though my last baby was born 6 years ago, I still have work to do!
In fact, I may have made it worse by performing sit-ups, crunches and planks as part of my workout routine. (Which exacerbate the problem!)
What I'm doing about it
Since diastasis recti is a very specific condition, I feel I need some guidance. There are exercises especially helpful to healing diastasis recti, and others that make it worse. Because of this, I've decided to go through the Mutu 12-week program.
I started this week and am pleased to find that it's completely doable.
The program starts with a thorough introduction, which explains the science behind the MuTu method and gives an overview of what to expect in the coming months.
I followed the workouts online and also printed out the cheatsheets to use when I don't want to turn on the computer.
In order to keep myself accountable, I will be sharing my progress here each month.
The MuTu System
The MuTu System isn’t a cure for ‘the gap’ in isolation. It’s an approach that conditions the entire mid-section to get the pelvis properly aligned and the core in good working order. It helps you to:
- Adjust your alignment, so your body uses your core naturally
- Identify and engage your core and pelvic floor muscles
- Strengthen your core and pelvic floor with the right exercises
- Flatten your abs with exercises tailored for your post natal body
- Lose the fat on top through intensive workouts and good nutrition
When you do all of this, the gap will narrow. Happy side effects include a trim waist, flatter tummy, functioning pelvic floor and body confidence.
If you want to learn more about the Mutu System 12 week program, watch the trailer below or click here.
Learn more about healing Diastasis Recti with the MuTu System here.
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