I’ve gotten a ton of emails lately asking for my advice on Diastasis Recti and how to get back into doing various physical activities when you have it. Let me first tell you that I am NOT a professional by any means. Anything that I write about or talk about pertaining to myself is strictly my experience. Though I was guided through physiotherapy by a therapist specializing in diastasis recti, I don’t claim to be an expert outside of my own experiences.
I have had a guest post done about it from someone who specializes in helping women with diastasis recti. You can find that post here. You can also check out a previous post I wrote about running and exercising with diastasis recti that I wrote back in October.
The main question I get emailed is: Can I run if I have diastasis recti. I can give you a very enthusiastic YES!! on that one. The main thing I noticed when I started running again after my second baby (when I knew I had DR vs after my first when I didn’t) is the importance of holding a strong core. Not only will this help the separation to not get worse but it will also make you a better, stronger runner. After Mr. O. was born last year, I started running as though I were a first time runner because after a long pregnancy and c-section birth, my body felt like it had never seen the inside of a gym before. I guess it looked like it too. My #1 rule in getting back to running was that as soon as my form slacked, I had to stop running. My core was so weak that I didn’t want to back-track by being stubborn about running as hard as I could with poor form. Often, my core tired before my legs or lungs did. Gradually, I got myself back to where I was, my separation was significantly better and I was running stronger than ever before.
The other question I get asked a lot is: What can I do to make it better? There are specific exercises that you can do to help close the gap. They focus on strengthening the pelvic floor and transverse abdominal muscles (not the “6-pack” but under that). Strengthening those will help close the gap. My pelvic floor therapist also had me doing kegels because she said that if your pelvic floor is weak, no amount of core strengthening will help. It’s all about balance.
My biggest recommendation is to hunt down a professional who specializes in pelvic floor rehabilitation. Not all doctors are well educated and not all physiotherapists have the right training to help you. It may take some detective work but hopefully there is someone in your area that can help you.
*Note March 2015: There is also the Mutu system which is an online exercise program that specializes in diastasis recti and has worked wonders for me after baby number 3. My connective tissue is finally healing properly and the program has been wonderful and very effective. Wendy really, really, really knows her stuff. You can check out here site here*
These days, I am over 14 months post-partum and for the most part, my separation is about 1-1.5 fingers wide and technically “healed” enough for me to do most of the things I was doing before. I will never have a 6-pack of abs and looking at them, you’d never see it but my core has never been as strong as it is right now. I’ve come to terms with the appearance of my body because I know that appearances are deceiving and under it all, I am a strong mother runner!