My wife has three kids and has a gap in the center of her abs, called diastasis recti. Aside from the general core training that comes along with a full body workout, and aside from RKC planks, what would be an effective method of closing this mid-line gap? She is very new to the gym and any advice would be great. Thanks in advance.
Natalie Hodson Why Do I Still Have My Post-Baby Tummy - Diastasis Recti Part 1 and Why Can’t I Loose My Post Baby Tummy - Diastasis Recti Part 2.
Also, Vacuum Exercise for your Transverse Abdominus
The Personal Trainer’s Guide to Diastasis Recti by Jessie Mundell.
Mama Lion Strong is a great resource for post-pregnancy related information.
Unfortunately, I ended up with diastasis recti and a related umbilical hernia after doing lots of crunches, leg raises and other lifting, post baby #3. Mine required surgery to sew the muscle up from pelvic bone to a couple of inches above my belly button. It was covered by my insurance since I had a hernia. They don’t usually sew up the gap in the muscle when they do a hernia repair, but I got a great Doc who was nice enough to close mine up while he was at it.
Best of luck!!
Anthony - I was going to add, this condition is SUPER common among women who have kids. How well you can “heal” diastasis recti may depend on how wide the gap is AND when she had the baby. If someone is only weeks or months postpartum, she’ll likely have more luck getting the gap to close as it heals. A lot of women just go about their lifting, and do very well even though they have this. You can see pictures of Natalie Hodson on the web.
And to clarify, my lifting didn’t cause my hernia. I had the “outie” belly button after my pregnancy. The lifting just made the hernia worse until it became painful when I laughed or coughed, or did anything that stressed my abs, so I had to have it repaired. It involved a low c-section incision instead of just going in with a very small incision at the belly button. A lot more involved, but worth it in my case. Diastasis Recti is the most common cause of umbilical hernia in women. BUT, many women have the split down the mid-line without ever needing surgery.
If your wife is only a few weeks or months post-baby, you could look into the Tupler Technique. Some women “splint” their abs for a few weeks or months and are very careful about not doing anything that causes the abdominus rectus to separate (rolling to your side to get out of bed instead of doing a situp, for example). I bought her book when I was recovering from my surgery out of curiosity. I was already 7 years or so post-baby and my gap was quite wide. If I had recently had a baby, I think it would be worth a try.
With regards to her lifting, she will want to be aware of her posture. People with diastasis recti or lax abs from pregnancy sometimes develop lordosis. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lordosis I still have problems with this, and it’s something I have to constantly be aware of and correct my posture. Women with lordosis tend to really get a C curve to their spine and put their butt out, especially when doing things like BB Overhead pressing for example. The body attempts to compensate for the weak or stretched abdominals.
A little inspiration from Natalie Hodson. The photo on the left was taken two-months after she had her second baby at about 200 lbs. The photo on the right is a little over a year later at 150 lbs. She’s 5’8". Hopefully it’s ok to post this here.
My wife has a simulair condition, she only has a minor gap (1cm orso) but here entire midsection is bassically meatlof. She’s had two c-sections. They both healed badly and caused a lot of scar tissue and adhesions. There’s just no way she can brace her midsection doing compound exercises. It’s been almost three years now and it’s immensly frustrating since we both want to get her in good shape.
My wife has a simulair condition, she only has a minor gap (1cm orso) but here entire midsection is basically meatlof. She’s had two c-sections. They both healed badly and caused a lot of scar tissue and adhesions. There’s just no way she can brace her midsection doing compound exercises. It’s been almost three years now and it’s immensely frustrating since we both want to get her in good shape.[/quote]
Sorry to hear she’s had so much trouble. Frustrating indeed. Having a stable and strong core is key to nearly everything, right?
If she feels like she can’t safely do the big compound movements, just focus on accessories/ machines/ BW movements/ cardio/ and dialing in her nutrition.
At the end of the day, she’s got two kids - WORTH IT, even if she never gets her pre-pregnancy bikini body back.
Best of luck!
Thank you. She recently discovered the legpress, so she’s getting their. I want to make a belt squat setup at home, so she can do some “real” squats.
Hi Powerpuff! I am so glad I found this thread. I set up an account here just so I could reply to your post and ask you a few questions.
Your story about your diastasis recti sounds EXACTLY like mine. I had my daughter 7 years ago and had an “outie” belly button immediately after pregnancy and some ab muscle separation. Over the years as I have continued to work out and do my best to stay in shape, I have developed two hernias, one umbilical and another small one above the umbilical hernia. And, my diastasis recti has worsened so much that I now constantly have a “pooch” no matter how trim the rest of my body is.
I just met with a a general and plastic surgeon today and was presented with two options. The first option was for the general surgeon to do all the work and go in through a small incision just above my belly button to repair the hernias and sew up the gap from the diastasis recti. The other option was for the plastic surgeon to go in through my existing c-section scar where he could have better access to the entire gap in my abs and sew it up after the general surgeon performs the hernia repairs. He also explained that he would insert a large piece of mesh that would normally not be covered by insurance but will be in my case because of the hernias. The plastic surgeon said that if I just went with the small belly button incision route, my “pooch” would still be there and I would regret not going with the c-section scar.
It seems like you had to make the same decision that I am now faced with. It would be so great if you could share a little bit more information with me about how you made your decision and what your recovery was like. I saw your ADORABLE video with you working out with your kids and you are obviously in shape and value your fitness so it would be great to get your opinion. Most of the stories I read online are dealing with extremely overweight people having tummy tucks and I my situation is a bit different.
I am uploading a picture here so you can see my “pooch”. The first picture was taken in the morning, but by the end of the day my pooch is much more pronounced and hard as a rock!
The second picture was taken at the end of the day. Was your situation similar? If it is not too forward to ask, do you have any before and after pics?
Again, thanks for reading this and for any advice you can share with me. I am so glad I found your post!