Pregnancy took my belly for a big, bumpy, RIP roaring ride. It never occurred to me that as the baby (and your belly) grows, the chances of tearing your abdominal muscles grow as well. With each pregnancy (there were 3) my #DiastasisRecti (DR) expanded and 6 fingers deep to be precise! For those of you who haven’t heard of the DR, it is defined as a separation of your rectus abdominis, AKA your six-pack! When the abdominal muscles move aside, your uterus, bowels and other organs have only a thin band of connective tissue in front to hold them ALL in place. After baby, this condition causes your belly to stick out (yes, just like it did when I was about 5 months pregnant). I was so excited to feel good in my own body again, however, this unfortunate symptom has been quite hard at times on this mama’s soul. People (mostly women) constantly ask me if I am pregnant again. “So…you are going for the fourth?” and “When are you due?” are the most frequent questions that I get. Being a fitness instructor and wearing spandex for a living doesn’t allow me to wear “looser” attire!
After I delivered my first baby and lost all the baby weight, I was perplexed as to why the centre of my belly continued to push forward and when I started my workouts again, I could not sustain a plank position for more than a few seconds and sometimes, I needed help getting up from the ground! After meeting with my OB and a few other doctors, I quickly realized that DR is a mysterious effect of pregnancy that the medical field does not know a lot of about in terms of the conditions that cause the tear and more importantly, how to rehabilitate.
Where had my six-pack gone? I was certain after my third pregnancy (and a third boy) that I was done having babies so I began to seek out professionals who could help me find my core again! I was lucky enough to meet Vanessa Ast Biller, a spynga fan, a fellow fitness colleague who is passionate about women’s pre and postnatal health, who has walked my path as the mama of two herself. Vanessa assessed my DR and then educated me on exercises that were ok for me to engage in, and showed me why I had to avoid others, until I strengthened the tissue in my abdominal muscles. Vanessa recommended I work with a pelvic health physiotherapist (who knew those existed) as pelvic floor restoration goes hand in hand with repairing abs. The physiotherapist told me I had a long road ahead but with committed work, there was hope for my broken belly! No one talks about this stuff, but I am sure if you were to gather a group of 20 post natal women in one room, a majority of them would probably have a slight or large separation in their belly whether they had a baby one year or 20 years ago. This experience has given me the insight that it is essential to take care of not only the babies, but the mamas too!
If you think you have some “restoring” to do after baby, this is a great opportunity to do the work for yourself and feel your best again! Please join us in this 6 session CORE RESTORE series with Vanessa. Starts Thursday February 4 Sign up here
by Casey Soer