01 May Diastasis Recti: Exercise Vs. No Exercise
As my midwife was conducting our normal monthly exam, feeling around and searching for baby, she noticed a separation.
Do you feel this?Looks like your abdomen has split.
What do you mean my abdomen has split? What does that mean?
It’s just something called Diastasis Recti. It’s very common. Your abdomen has split apart, but it’s not too bad. You will be fine.
So does this change anything?
Nope. Keep doing what you’re doing. It’s really common. You just may want to wear a band after giving birth, and there are some exercises you can do to help too.
I knew my midwives would tell me if this was truly something to be worried about, but I had to find out more.
What is Diastasis Recti?
I began my research and found out that they were right. Diastasis Recti was very common, and most women don’t find out they have it until after giving birth. I also found out that there wasn’t much I could do about it now. I would just have to accept what it is and address it later.
From the research, it looked like 50% of women chose to address it, and the other 50% chose to let it be. In my state of worry, I decided I would not just let this be.
Diastasis Recti (DR) is the medical terminology used when the large abdominal muscles (Rectus Abdominis Muscles) separate during pregnancy.
Sometimes the tissue heals, and the muscles come back together after delivery when your hormone levels return to pre-pregnancy levels. But if this doesn’t happen in three to six months, you can end up with a gap that won’t close without treatment (https://www.babycenter.com/0_diastasis-recti_10419293.bc).
It can weaken your core and impact your lower back, pelvic or hip.
How Do You Know You Have It?
You can check yourself for DR, but I recommend a medical or midwifery exam.
Check out this video by Sara Haley for some great information:
Is There Treatment?
Treatment can involve wearing a band post pregnancy, physical therapy, specific exercises, or surgery.
I’ve read that with proper care, you can close a diastasis.
Originally, finding out I have diastasis recti meant putting my exercising on hold, and a lot of research. I was trying to determine whether or not working out would make things worse, and what the healing process would look like.
Honestly, even though my midwives told me I’d be fine, I was more than a little bit worried.
Now there’s a difference between a healthy level of concern and sinful worry. I was more on the sinful worry side of things.
I saw many pictures of women with DR and read many stories. Some of improvement and others of defeat. I knew I wanted to do something to increase the chances of improvement, so I continued my research.
It wasn’t until after I prayed about it that I decided to go ahead and continue with my workouts.
Why I Choose To Continue Exercising
In my search for answers, I was forgetting that “by His stripes I am healed.” I was being so consumed by my google search instead of seeking my Heavenly Father for wisdom (James 1:5).
In my seeking, I came to the conclusion that I should not worry about tomorrow, and I should take the advice of my midwives; continuing with my exercising.
For one, I have more energy when I workout, and my attitude is a lot more kind. I can get the things I need to get done with a lot less stress when I exercise, and I sleep better. My body doesn’t feel as weak, and I get to spend time with friends.
Perhaps most importantly, my choice to continue working out not only only affects my health, but it’s healthy and good for baby!
Even though I have chosen to exercise, I have learned to make modifications when necessary. I have also stopped weight lifting and planks for now.
Something I have tried to become more intentional about is my breathing, because there is a form of breathing that is supposed to help with DR.
As long as I’m able to get up and go, and my body is feeling good, I will continue to exercise. It consider it a blessing to have the strength and energy to move.
For now I will do what is healthy for me and baby, and postpartum I will decide next steps. I know my God is a healer and I’m resting in Him.
What Can You Do?
If you have a prenatal diagnosis, educate yourself on the diagnoses. But, don’t allow it to consume you.
Do the best that you can to take care of yourself and baby. This means listening to your doctors recommendations, and working like it depends on you, but praying like it depends on God.
Rest knowing that God is in control and He is the ultimate healer. He is working all things out for you and baby’s good.
Oh, and don’t forget to LISTEN TO YOUR BODY! Our bodies were created to give us warning signals. Don’t overlook them.