How many abs do I have?

So last week I went to the park like any normal day, just going to see some friends, but by the time I left, my world was blown open. One of my very good friends has been getting education and learning techniques for healing her diastasis recti, and so at the park she was checking friends to see if they had a split. For kicks, I had her check me. I didn’t think I had any sort of split since all I knew of diastasis recti was that it would make planks or any sort of exercise in a prone position difficult, and I don’t have trouble with those at all. But sure enough, she felt a gap. WHAT.

A week later and both a PT and my physician have verified a 3 finger gap above my belly button. Apparently the past 2 years doing planks, downward facing dog, burpees, crunches, and the like have actually been making my split worse since I’m putting pressure on it and letting gravity pull it down more. The reason why I feel like this has completely changed things for me is not only because I need to change up my exercise routine but I am realizing how many people struggle with this, many without even realizing it.

This can be way more than an annoyance, it can actually lead to surgery if untreated. But why do so many not even realize they have it? It’s one of those issues that is not addressed during most postpartum visits, and many mothers just write off their discomfort or protruding belly as “mom belly” but if it can be helped, why not try? Of course more than just mothers are at risk of diastasis recti, but it happens to two-thirds of pregnant women because our bodies are at higher risk of abdominal separation to make room for baby. When so many postpartum women have so many issues to contend with, from incontinence, to constipation, to back pain, and a lot of those are symptoms of a greater issues like diastasis, why just live with it instead of trying to make it better?

I, for one, am not going to live with it. I’m going to see a physical therapist to deal with my diastasis as well as my pelvic floor weakness, and I am going to change up my fitness routine to accommodate my limitations. I am thankful that I know about this now and can stop doing things that will make it worse while also educating myself on it more. My health and my happiness are worth it!

Take care of yourselves, ~Suzi

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