Pregnancy, birth, and a new baby bring so much excitement to life! Unfortunately, these amazing events might also bring a bulge to your belly that won’t go away no matter how much you exercise and watch your diet.
That protruding belly of yours could actually be caused by something called diastasis recti. Diastasis recti is a separation of the rectus abdominals that occurs during pregnancy.
This separation is very common: according to research it occurs in 27% of women in their 2nd trimester, 66% of women in their 3rd trimester and can be found in 53% of women immediately post-partum.
As many women know, this split doesn’t always disappear on its own after the birth. And left untreated, diastasis recti will influence abdominal, core, lower back and hip stability and can cause increased prevalence of lower back and Sacroiliac pain, among other problems.
How To Check For Diastasis Recti?
To check for diastasis recti, lie on your back with your knees bent and feet flat on the floor. Rest your fingers one inch above your belly button and press on your midline while slowly lifting just your head off the floor.
You most likely have diastasis if you feel your muscles splitting and your midline opening.
What Is The Best Way To Reduce Your “Baby Belly”?
The best way to reduce Diastasis is by using something known as the Tupler Technique.
The Tupler Technique is the only research-based exercise program proven to effectively treat diastasis recti.
The program is comprehensive and includes protective strategies, splinting of separated muscle, strengthening and learning how to use abdominal musculature.
How Does The Tupler Technique Work?
During the first few weeks of the Tupler Technique regimen, it is recommended not to do any other type of sporting activities or exercises other than walking or a modified jog. During this time, it is important to allow the connective tissue to heal while strengthening and learning how to use the transverse abdominal muscle during activities of daily living.
In week six, you are taught how to incorporate the Tupler Technique into an exercise routine and how to modify the routine to maintain the gains you have made with closing the diastasis.
Other Healing Options and What To Avoid?
Healing connective tissue is all about both “positioning” and “protecting” the weakened tissue. Wearing an abdominal splint at all times puts the connective tissue in a better position to heal.
Manual work (releasing and stretching tight muscles) helps approximate the edges of torn muscle to promote healing.
Protecting the connective tissue is about not doing activities that stretch or put intra-abdominal force or pressure on the weak tissue. Heavy lifting, reaching and cross over activities (golfing and playing tennis) stretch and open up a diastasis split and should be avoided. In addition to this, the strengthening of transverse abdominals is essential to sustain stress while sneezing, coughing, blowing nose, and going to the bathroom.
Is It Too Late?
No! It is never too late to close a diastasis on anyone at any time. Closing a diastasis, however, is not an overnight process, but, if you follow the program that is designed for you, you will most likely see the healing process beginning within three weeks! How long it takes to close a diastasis depends on the severity of your diastasis and your commitment to all elements of the program on a daily basis.