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The Dreaded Mummy Tummy - Diastasis Recti

Updated: Jan 24


Diastasis Recti (DR). Also known as 'mummy tummy', or the 'tummy gap'. Really it is where your linea alba (the connective issue between your abdominals) has stretched. This happens to almost all women (can happen to anyone actually) by the time they're full term. For a lucky few their tummies go back to "normal" no probs. But for others, like me, the gap stays and stays and stays.

How do I know I have it?

Does your tummy dome when you sit up? Does your tummy look poked out or flatten around the tummy button? Do you look pregnant still even though your 12 months postpartum? Or perhaps 10 years postpartum?

There is the test, to view it click here. This is from a great resource MuTu.

DR has been one of my biggest physical issues since having kids. Partly because I have big babies (8-9lbs). It took me almost 2 years to get the strength and functionally back to my tummy. Note I said FUNCTIONALITY.

This isn't about (just) looks. Your core is everything. It protects your back from injury like slipped discs, it prevents other issues occurring like Pelvic Organ Prolapse & abdominal hernias. If you're a runner or someone who is into CrossFit it is even MORE important to get checked as your core is needing to be functioning properly to support you during these intense workouts.

It is pretty bloody important. I cannot stress this enough.

In the picture above you can see where my separation is: around my belly button. When I do the test it is 2.5 fingers wide and not too deep. Straight after my first (vaginal) birth the separations was around 4+cm. I couldn't test after my section for obvious reasons! But it didn't feel as floppy, I'm guessing because of all the core work/exercise I did in between my pregnancies.

So what can you do? Are you stuck with this bulge forever? Back to doing your sit-ups, right? WRONG. NO, DEFINITELY NOT.

My first advice is: SEE A WOMEN'S HEALTH PHYSIO. This is so vital. I just wish all mums received free physiotherapy after birth (*cough* patriarchy *cough*). They can assess you and pinpoint exactly what you need.

Reputable sources of exercises/practitioners:

MuTu System - an at home program, workouts start from 12 mins per day.

Easy to follow and reasonably priced

MummyMOT - find a practitioner near you trained in women's health rehab

Holistic Core Restore - find practitioner near you trained in women's health rehab.

This is one of my favourites.

Restore Your Core (US)- a 13 week at home program

UK Hypopressives - or low pressure fitness. This is a GAME CHANGER.

There is also a teacher in Canada.

Natalie Dale - @honestyogaldn

Holistic Health Physio - Harriet Hodgskin, based in Dorset

Careful if you decided to follow YouTube clips as you don't know if they are safe exercises. Being checked by a qualified physio/prac WHILE doing the exercise is key, so you know you're doing it right. If this is something that isn't affordable, check out the above at home programs and try and follow the instructions as close as possible.

My story:

You can check out my Healing Journey post for the in-depth story. Here is the short:

I saw my Physio/PT every few months to check up on me and to check I was doing the exercises correctly.

With time, physiotherapy, osteopathy, GREAT nutrition, hypopressives, ceasing breastfeeding** and correct posture, my diastasis recti was healed.

This was around 20 months postpartum. With my strength back I then felt like my body was ready and we decided to start trying for baby number 2.

Baby is now 10 months old and I am back on the journey to heal my DR, once again, as you can see in the above photo.

I know I will be able to heal it again. It just takes some time, commitment & a little bit of faith.

**breastfeeding suppresses estrogen production & keeps relaxin high.

(Estrogen is our main 'building/strength' hormone.

Relaxin keeps everything in the body all subtle so we can squeeze a baby out!).

So while breastfeeding, our tissues are more lax, prone to injury. It is one of the reasons to go steady while nursing. Many women find that a few months after they stop nursing, they feel a wave of strength and their healing jumps up a level.

{I am NOT a doctor, a gynae or any other medical professional. This is speaking from my own experience as a mum and my knowledge as a nutritional therapist. Please speak to your medical doctor before deciding to do any of the above. This is NOT medical advice.

I am also not endorsing any of the recommended products above, I have no stake in any of these companies that I have mentioned, I just like their products}

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