Diastasis Recti… One Year After Therapy

posted by Andrea | 03/19/2019

Last March, I shared a little bit about my journey to heal/fix/correct my Diastasis recti. Now, one year later, I thought it might be time for a follow-up post — especially since I got SOOOOOOO many questions and emails from readers after my original post.

What exactly is Diastasis recti?

In case you’re wondering, Diastasis recti is (in layman’s terms) when the connective tissue between the abdominal muscles gets stretched out during pregnancy and doesn’t go back to “normal” after the baby is born. The gap in the muscles allows for pressure from internal organs to “push out” which literally makes the lower abdomen stick out — often looking like a small (or large) ‘baby bump’.

It’s actually fairly common (over 40% of women are thought to have this separation) and it often happens after 3+ pregnancies, after carrying larger babies or multiples, or after having 2 pregnancies very close together. 

Vanity is an obvious reason many women want to correct this issue; over-all core strength is another reason. Because of the separation, the abdominal muscles aren’t nearly as strong or supportive, so the entire core is weakened and it can cause lots of back pain and hip problems down the road. 

My Diastasis “Journey”:

After Nora was born (November 2011), my body pretty much bounced back to exactly how it had been pre-pregnancy within weeks. It was amazing!

However, after Simon was born (March, 2014) things took a lot longer… and since I got pregnant with James 6 months later, I don’t think my muscles had enough time to “get back to normal”.

After James was born (July, 2015) I figured we would have more children so I didn’t want to “waste” time or money trying to get my body back in shape… and I honestly don’t think I ever heard the term Diastasis recti until a full year later, which is when I first started to research the topic. 

A few months after Clara was born (Sep. 2017) I decided it was finally time to do something about my stretched out abdominal muscles and the fact that I looked like I was still 4-5 months pregnant.

I started meeting with a physical therapist every 2-3 weeks. She checked my muscle separation, watched me do the exercises she had instructed me to do the week before, made sure I was still doing them correctly, and added new exercises for the upcoming weeks.

Everything was going well, I was faithfully doing my exercises 3 times per day, I was eating super nutritiously, and I felt really good. 

I was on a mission to add as many veggies to my diet as possible and as a result, I ended up losing all my baby weight and a bit more. However, after losing the weight, my stomach actually looked like it was sticking out even more than before because there wasn’t as much fat to “hide” it.

It felt fairly discouraging to go to therapy every few weeks and listen to the therapist say the same things over and over again. She was great and very knowledgeable and encouraging… but I knew I wasn’t making progress, I knew the gap between my abdominal muscles wasn’t getting any smaller, and I knew our insurance year was almost up! 

Since Dave’s insurance starts over with the school year, I decided early on in the process that I would only go to physical therapy through August as we had already met our deductible for the year thanks to Clara’s September birthday!  

So in August of 2018, I stopped physical therapy, but continued to do the exercises at home. However, I can honestly say I don’t think the therapy made any difference for my body.

I learned a lot and I do not regret going to therapy, but… my abdomen still sticks out, I can still feel a large separation in my abdominal muscles, and my back is still sore most of the time. 

I realize that’s probably not the update you were hoping for… especially for those of you who have been asking for tips to help with your own Diastasis recti. It’s not the update I wanted to give you either!

I am not fat, I am not out of shape, and I am not unhealthy.  In fact, from a health standpoint, I’m probably the healthiest I’ve ever been in my entire life.

However, as you can see in the pictures below, I really do have the same profile as I did when I was 4 months pregnant — maybe a little lower “bump” though!

Of course, I don’t wear tight shirts anymore, and I certainly don’t stand like this with my hand on my belly, but my abdomen definitely isn’t flat like it was for the first 31 years of my life.

Thanks to the current clothing styles, my “bump” is easily concealed, but that still doesn’t “fix” the fact that my core is quite weak and my back pays the price. 

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One Year Later:

At this point, I have taken a break from the therapy exercises, but I still wear this abdominal support belt on a fairly regular basis — especially if I’m engaging my core muscles by shoveling snow, doing yard work or extra house work, lifting groceries, etc.

I’ve also started wearing supportive shoes around the house all day (instead of slippers). This isn’t for my abdominal muscles, but it does seem to help my back pain.

Yes, I look super sweet with my bright orange shoes — I try to remember to switch to slippers if people come over!

thanks to Simon for regularly “stealing” my phone for fun candid pictures! 

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Over the summer, I’d like to do a little more research on how to strengthen my core, and I might start seeing a local chiropractor for my back pain.  

Truthfully, I hate spending money on this type of thing, but I also know that at this point in my life, spending money to improve (or even maintain) my health and well-being is probably a better use of funds than many other things.

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Who knows, I might be back here in another year or so with a super exciting update that I healed my Diastasis and strengthened my core… 

Or I might just keep making and eating bread…

I know which route would be more enjoyable for me! 🙂

Thankfully, my Diastasis does not currently inhibit me from enjoying life or doing normal daily activities… however, I don’t want to flippantly ignore the issue forever either as I know a weak core can be the source of a whole slew of health problems later in life. 

For now, I’ve adapted the mindset that “it is what it is” and I’m not stressing about it at all.

I might have a baby-less baby bump and a sore back, but I also have 4 amazing kiddos – I’d say that’s a decent trade-off! 

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88 comments

  1. Terri

    09/16/2019

    Hi Andrea,

    Have you ever been on this website?
    https://dianeleephysio.com/education/diastasis-rectus-abdominis-postpartum-health/

    She is a PT out of Canada and has done a lot of research on DRA.

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    no I haven’t — but I have it bookmarked now and will most definitely refer back to it!

    [Reply]

  2. Lindsey

    08/31/2019

    Andrea – I encourage you to look into ourfitfamilylife.com. her program is amazing and the lessons are invaluable. I was hesitant to spend the money but it was worth every cent. I am healed, core is strong again and no back pain (and I only had two kids. I can’t imagine 4!)

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    thank you so much for letting me know Lindsey!
    As it turns out, I was doing A LOT of thinking about my DR separation this past week and decided that I absolutely MUST start doing something to help my back pain after Labor Day. Then… someone else JUST recommended this site to me yesterday… and now your comment! it’s “meant to be”!
    I signed up for the free 7-posture course about 15 minutes ago and started following her on Instagram!
    I’m also hoping to find a chiropractor I like in my area soon. baby steps!
    I HATE spending time and money on these types of things, but I think I will regret it later on in life if I don’t.
    Thanks again for the additional “push” I needed to start down this road!

    [Reply]

  3. rachel

    04/22/2019

    First, I think you look great! But, I’m bummed for you that your exercises didn’t help out much. My two tips (from a TOTALLY non-medical person who has NOT researched DR in any way)…
    Yoga is super helpful for me with both back and hip pain. As a mom, carrying kids and groceries and cleaning house, I get all “crunched up”. Doing yoga helps me stretch and lengthen all those muscles. I just do it at home (I pay 7 dollars a month for a workout channel as part of my cable, but I’ve used DVDs before too).
    Secondly, do you find that you slouch a lot? Your posture looks slouched in your photos, but I’m not sure if it just appears that way. At any rate, if you don’t typically focus on good posture, that can really lead to weaker abdominals. In my completely anecdotal experience, women that stand up straight don’t have quite that obvious pouch appearance (although it is still there to some extent). Thought I’d point that out as a free fix.
    Good luck!

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    thanks Rachel!
    I was actually just telling Dave the other day that I feel like I’m slouching more often. I NEVER used to slouch, but after 7 years of carrying a baby or small child around, I feel more slouchy! I’ll have to pay more attention to this!

    [Reply]

    rachel Reply:

    Yes, I totally blame the kids.
    I never use to slouch either, but something about bending over and leaning down and carrying stuff makes it an easy habit to get into!

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    yes, I’ve started thinking about it more and I’m hunched over ALL the time — picking the kids up, playing on the floor, making food, gardening, reading on the couch, sitting at my computer. AHHH… I need to sit/stand up straight!

    [Reply]

  4. Trisha G

    03/30/2019

    I’m so sorry you have yet to find the results that you’re looking for! I see that you’ve had a lot of advice and I don’t want to add any confusion, but I want you to know that you are not alone! I’ll be 2 months postpartum in June and the president of my Relief Society at my church came up to me to “confirm that I’m expecting again.” In other words, there are rumors floating around that I am based on how I look.

    My story’s really similar to yours–4 kids pretty close together, not exercising much in-between except walking around town, finally getting my nutrition and fitness on track now that we are done making babies. I was, however, able to close my gap a year ago. I started working out with Beachbody but I modified all of the core moves with DR exercises I found online–probably similar to the ones you were taught. I had tried them before after my 3rd and saw no results, but this time, I really squeeeezed my abs while doing them. Like, until I was shaking, squeezing, I was working the muscles that hard. It took me about 6 months to close the gap doing the exercises that way and also having strength training and cardio with Beachbody.

    BUT I still look pregnant! I, like you, have toned my obliques so now my middle sticks out even more. I feel like I can’t win!

    But I know that it takes time and patience, and 4 pregnancies and c-sections are not going to disappear easily. The real dinger is that my core is strong! Like, I don’t mean to boast here, but it’s rock-solid strong! I love that I’ve been able to achieve that! I just wish people could SEE it! So I’m being patient with myself, trusting the process, dialing in my nutrition even more, and hoping that I can also flatten this tummy with a little more time and effort.

    If I can close the gap without surgery, you can, too! (And you didn’t even have c-sections. You can do it!)

    I hope you find what works for you! Don’t give up and become complacent. You deserve a strong core to support you in all that you do, and you most certainly CAN achieve it!

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    Thanks for the encouragement!! And good job you!!

    [Reply]

  5. Blondie

    03/25/2019

    This is a late comment, but I was just reading an article this morning that is an excerpt from the book ‘Invisible Women: Data Bias in a World Designed for Men’ and it made me think of an article I read/heard on NPR a couple years ago about diastasis recti.

    https://www.npr.org/sections/health-shots/2017/08/07/541204499/flattening-the-mummy-tummy-with-1-exercise-10-minutes-a-day

    Followup article with demo of exercises: https://www.npr.org/sections/health-shots/2017/08/20/542424977/getting-to-the-core-of-exercises-said-to-strengthen-mum-tum

    DR has not been studied much medically and so no one really knows what to do about it or if it even can be fixed without surgery. Unfortunately, as with many women’s health issues, you may have to do a lot of work and research to find a solution for you. Which is great, because what mother of young children doesn’t have tons of free time!?!

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    Thank you so much for sharing this!! I’m excited to read more 🙂

    [Reply]

  6. JJ

    03/21/2019

    I have had multiple people ask me if I was pregnant. I went with friends and my kids to a pregnancy center to drop off things their church collected and we brought. The person in charge of the center asked when I was due. I was so embarrassed. The entire group just started at me. No one said a word. So I just said, “Oh, I’m not pregnant.” In a confused voice she responded, “You’re not pregnant?” Then I had to say it again, “No. I’m not pregnant.” I wanted to say, “Do you understand the words that are coming outta my mouth?!?!” But I didn’t. So I’ve learned to never ever ask. I just ask people if they have any kids. Normally they will say, “I have 2 and this one in here.” Or something like that. Haha! But I will never go there directly!!! I think you look fantastic!!!

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    oh that’s ridiculous. Why would you clarify that the person who just told you they are not pregnant is in fact “not pregnant”.
    I had a similar situation happen to me — with my parents and sisters right there watching/listening. They said “I didn’t know you were pregnant again” and I actually WAS pregnant with James but no one knew (I was only about 6 weeks and definitely not showing enough to be asked).
    I didn’t want to blow my cover in front of my family, so I said “I’m not pregnant” to which the person responded “Oh, so you just still have a belly” Seriously! why do people say such crazy things!

    [Reply]

    JJ Reply:

    Oh my word!!! People need filters!!! Haha!!! If there was one thing that would simplify my life, it would be to have people keep their mouths shut. If anything, this has helped me to not say a word. When I was 9 months pregnant with my third, I was in “can’t wait to hold baby” mode. I was in the baby aisle, and I was seeing if I needed anything last minute. A lady grabbed a bag of diapers, and I thought they were newborn. She also looked 9 months pregnant. I asked when she was due. She told me she had diastisis recti, and I turned 3 shades of red and almost cried. I kept apologizing. I felt awful. And that’s when I vowed to never ask anyone again. But I wish I could have gone back and done it differently. If anything I learned to be sensitive to others, and after it happened to me I felt even worse for the lady I had asked. Lesson learned!!!

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    oh wow — that’s rough!
    I have an acquaintance with 6 children and she truly does look 9 months pregnant. She must get asked about her due date ALLL the time — we even have several mutual friends who assumed she was pregnant again and asked her erroneously. That must be so frustrating (and embarrassing) for her!

    [Reply]

  7. Julia Irvin

    03/20/2019

    Hi Andrea! I was excited to read this post! Not because you haven’t had the results and healing you’ve worked so hard for, but because I’m in the same boat you are with diastasis rectify, and I have some fabulous resources to share that WORK. The first is a physical therapy site that offers online courses. They are fabulous. Cheap, no. Effective, yes. It is called http://www.thetummyteam.com. I loved working with Kelley Dean and I learned so much about how to heal my diastasis through the exercises, yes, but also through how I move in my every day life. How my posture affects my diastasis, how the way I sit or get up off the floor or out of bed affects it and also how I can do those daily things in a way that will help help and maintain healing for me. I know you said you don’t like the idea of my physical therapy, but, even without knowing the program your physical therapist used, I feel confident that the approach The Tummy Team uses is different and would be helpful. They even have courses for men, as this is an issue that is not limited to women who have experienced pregnancy. Many of the abdominal exercises recommended in the fitness industry actually can cause diastasis recti and the way we carry our bodies also affects it a lot.
    The other resource I highly recommend is a fitness site called http://www.fit2b.us. It is a wonderful site that has over 200 diastasis-safe workouts. I know you’ve said that you don’t do regular exercise like that, but this site has been so helpful in my continued abdominal strength and healing. I learn so many helpful things from each workout and there are so many to choose from that i dont get bored. They have the site organized well to help you know where to start and as you progress in fitness and healing of your diastasis recti. The instructors are always modestly dressed and they even have fun workouts for kids! It is worth checking both of these sites out and they also have a lot of information on their Instagram pages. @thetummyteam and @fit2bstudio. I wish the best for you and hope to hear another update sometime on your diastasis that is about how you’ve found healing and no more pain (or leaking or weakness, etc)!
    I know you are already on the right track with your eating habit and drinking water, etc and I feel confident that these two sites will help you achieve your goals.

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    Thanks Julia!
    You are probably the 20th person to recommend fit2b so I think I need to check it out!

    [Reply]

  8. Julie

    03/20/2019

    Sorry all your efforts haven’t paid off. I have used a program called “Abs, Core & Pelvic Floor ….Core Dysfunction and Diastasis Recti Recovery by Natalie Hodson and Dr. Monique Middlekauff (she has a PhD in exercise Physiology).

    I also have 4 kids, my first too were twins(they are now 17 years old) and that is what started my core and pelvic floor issues. Their program is a 30 day program that you do 4-5 times per week(I did mine 7 days/week). I still do the exercises after the 30 days. There are exercises they tell you not to do until you have healed or they will exacerbate the issues.

    https://nataliehodson.com/online-shop/

    Anyways, it’s worth a look.

    I have had great success and wish this had been available after my twins were born.

    [Reply]

    Julie Reply:

    I also were shoes inside all of the time. I used to be stocking foot in the house at all times, but now it is just more comfortable to wear shoes. I call them my inside shoes and only wear them inside.

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    yes, I only wear my shoes inside too — it feels weird without them now!

    [Reply]

  9. Bridget

    03/20/2019

    Just curious…how many fingers wide is your separation? After 6 kids I’m stuck at about 1-2 width and I also haven’t wanted to spend money on physicaly therapy or anything else to see if I can repair it fully. I don’t do traditional ab exercises when working out but substitute with DR friendly ones that I’ve cobbled together from free videos. There are tons out there. One move that I try to do is always keep my abs sucked into my back when sitting, getting up, etc. Even just sitting and breathing out and pulling abs back in is a good alternative to exercises on the floor. I know you don’t workout regularly, but weight lifting has been a huge help for me. It strengthens your whole core and squats are awesome for that too. I also don’t do kegels but have done so many squats that I’ve eliminated the peeing while jumping I was having! But, I could still use to work on the DR as I have back pain too even with being so active.

    [Reply]

  10. Sarah Clews

    03/19/2019

    I was not expecting this post to end the way it did! I feel like my experience has been very similar to yours. I’m actually doing a new workout program that’s designed with modifications for diastasis (through MomsintoFitness). I have back pain and tail bone pain but it’s bothering me a fair bit.

    [Reply]

  11. Stephanie

    03/19/2019

    Andrea, I have a similar story to yours. I’ve had back issues for years! After having my third child, my ab muscles we separated and my back hurt SO bad! I could hardly pick up my son. After a few rounds of PT (not much progress-so discouraging) I was referred to a pelvic floor PT. After getting pf pt, my back feels great! Pf pt approaches thing much differently than regular pt. Now (3 years later) I am back to running and have never felt better. I’m always encouraging other mothers to try it. LIFE CHANGING.

    [Reply]

  12. Debbie

    03/19/2019

    It’s so refreshing how candid and open you are! I am sorry that your back is affected by this, and with how busy you are I hope your back will be well protected by the belt and shoes. Still, I agree with using Spanx in case you want to slip into a fitted something something for a special occasion.

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    thanks Debbie! I think I need to look into Spanx — you are the 3rd or 4th person to recommend this!!

    [Reply]

  13. Karen McLaughlin

    03/19/2019

    Andrea, I had a bad diastasis after my second (10 lb!) baby. I cannot recommend highly enough the book Diastasis Recti by Katy Bowman. It’s a very easy read, but explains why DR is a whole-body problem. It has a lot of exercises that I’m willing to bet are way different than what the physio gave you 🙂 and explains also about the importance of making sure your overall movement patterns are optimized. It will very likely help with your back pain as well! There’s a lot you can do on your own using this book without spending tons of money on various therapies.

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    Thanks Karen — I’ll look this up at the Library!

    [Reply]

    Gramma CC Reply:

    If your local library doesn’t have it, you can have it sent there from another library using the melcat… Michigan’s library that shares books between libraries.

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    yes, that’s what I mean when I say “I’ll check my library”. I just check the database and request whatever books I want. Then I pick them up when I take the kids on our weekly library runs!

    [Reply]

  14. Rachel

    03/19/2019

    I’m not sure if you follow Makenzie Koppa http://boldturquoise.com/ but she shared something a long time ago via one of her outlets – maybe Periscope? about someone she recommended to help with this. It was some sort of boot camp?? Sorry I can’t be more helpful – but it was a long while ago. I remember it because I had never heard of it before. Contact her and ask for the info if you are interested. (Not that I think you need it…..but she spoke highly of the program)

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    thanks for this tip!

    [Reply]

  15. Elizabeth

    03/19/2019

    Hi Andrea,
    I just have to say….but in my opinion, you really really really do not look prego. Your tummy looks great. Yes, there is a very slight little tummy there, but it looks tiny. I’m not sure if this comes out right, but I think a lot of thin women have a little protuberance in the tummy (I am thin/fit and I have a little tummy too, but its not fat). I totally understand that you have DR, and its great you are working on it, but I am just saying that I don’t think its noticeable.

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    Thanks Elizabeth — I guess at this point, it’s more about how I FEEL versus what I look like. I’d really like to get rid of the back pain, and I know the 2 are related. So I just need to focus on my core (both abs and back) and hopefully I can “fix” both of my issues 🙂

    [Reply]

  16. Pascale

    03/19/2019

    Hi Andrea,

    My doctor recommends that all his patients eat gluten-free. He explains why gluten is bad even for those who don’t have Celiac disease. I don’t eat any grains so I don’t have any issues, but know several people who gave it a try out of curiosity. They feel and look so much better tone that they decided not to go back to eating gluten. Just a suggestion…

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    Thanks Pascale, You are not alone in your grain-free lifestyle. We have many friends who have adapted this way of eating too!

    We are pretty committed to grain at our household 🙂 Especially now that I’m milling all my own flour, cornmeal, etc. etc. I do make many gluten-free flours and baked goods for our friends though. It’s surprising how tasty homemade gluten-free products are over store-bought! I suppose this goes for most foods though 🙂

    [Reply]

    Pascale Reply:

    Thanks, Andrea.

    I understand your commitment. Years ago, I used to make my own bread and it was delicious. However, when I started having more fat around my abdomen, that’s when I decided to talk to my doctor about it.

    He recommended reading Wheat Belly.

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    I’m not sure how “thorough” I was/am with my research, I just know that I researched from BOTH sides — not just the anti-grain propaganda that is so readily available these days.

    I’ve never mentioned this anywhere on the blog, but I am also hypoglycemic and my doctor (who has basically devoted his entire medical career to thyroid research) swears up and down that gluten and grain (in and of themselves) have absolutely no effect on thyroid conditions. However, much of the other foods that usually pair up with gluten and grain (sugar, bad fats, white flour) are often the culprits.

    By grinding my own grain, I have bypassed the white flour, and by limiting my sweets and focusing on lots of veggies (which I know you do too), I have bypassed much of the sugar and bad fats.

    I say do whatever works for you — and you obviously found something that’s working for you 🙂

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    wow — that’s crazy! I’m glad you are seeing results. Do you take medication too?

    Also, I have no idea where my brain was when I responded to your previous comment — I meant to say I had Hypothyroidism — not hypoglycemia! although I was hypoglycemic in high school for a bit 🙂
    That’s why I mentioned about my Dr who had done so much research on the thyroid!

    So no, I do not have any issues with sugar! Good grief. Where was my brain!

    [Reply]

  17. jennifer

    03/19/2019

    I also have four kids. I also have this problem you’re talking about plus veins. I am so grateful to have lost the baby weight, though, and try to remember that the best thing I can do to make myself healthy and happy is to SMILE! Which you do beautifully. Glad you have tried some exercises but also are honest about the outcomes so I know physical therapy won’t necessarily help. Glad your blog exists as I enjoy reading it! You are a lovely woman with a beautiful smile and I also love your hair and clothing choices.

    [Reply]

  18. Leah

    03/19/2019

    I think we moms are all affected with something after having babies! I don’t struggle with this, but I have lovely veins over my legs and feet which can be painful and swollen. As you said, completely worth it for our 4 kiddos!
    Just another thought on your back, even though I’m sure you’re right on your core being the main cause: have you gotten a new mattress in the last few years? We got a new one after 14 1/2 years and it made my back pain disappear. You’re doing really well, overall, on your wellness journey, from what I can see, and, thanks for sharing.

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    yes, we’ve actually gotten a new mattress twice in the last 12 years, most recently 3 years ago. However, my entire childhood was spent sleeping on a ridiculously old mattress (my moms mattress from when she was little) so I’m sure that didn’t help anything. I had back problems already in high school and couldn’t believe how much better I felt after switching to a new mattress in college and then again after we got married!

    [Reply]

  19. Jen

    03/19/2019

    Well, shoot, I’m sorry you’re struggling with this. I was going to suggest a good pair of Spanx, but I assume the belt you mentioned has the same effect. Hope you can get it figured out! Good luck!

    [Reply]

    jen Reply:

    P.S. I have a few “issues” related to childbirth that are definitely NOT fun. (Sneeze pee, anyone? 😉 Four babies (including a 9 and 10 pounder) and nursing each of them for 18 months each will do that to ya! But, like you said, they’re worth every bit of it.

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    you know what, I’ve never even thought of spanx before — I might have to look into those. I wonder if they are hot and sweaty though?
    Also, I’ve never considered the fact that I nursed my kids for a very long time as a factor in my DR — do you think that plays an effect?
    I’m actually still nursing Clara before bed as it’s the only way I can get her to fall asleep quickly, and I nursed Nora and James for 22 and 18 months respectively. I wonder if that could have my my situation worse. Nothing I can do about that now though 🙂

    [Reply]

    Jen Reply:

    I haven’t struggled with DR but I imagine if it played a significant effect, surely your doctor the PT would have mentioned that to you?? And, like you said, it’s done now, anyway.

    My issues due to nursing are a little “farther north”–although they get “souther” as the years go by, if you know what I mean. 😉

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    hahahaha!!!

    [Reply]

    Christine Meurer Reply:

    I’ve never heard of extended nursing affecting DR (on my 5th nursing currently). As long as you’re getting lots of nutrients and protein in your food (which you obviously do!) and lift/hold your baby properly, I would think it would not make any difference.

    [Reply]

  20. Rachel

    03/19/2019

    Andrea, I have been improving my DR separation using a workout program called MommaStrong. The trainer is a certified pelvic physiotherapist. I will link the site here. It costs $5/month and you have access to a whole slew of online videos for healing DR and pelvic floor issues. I do the daily 15 min HIIT workout for moms over 6 mo postpartum and I have seen a noticeable improvement. It’s also much more time and cost efficient than PT or meeting with a trainer. Not my program, I’m just a big fan!

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    Thanks Rachel 🙂

    [Reply]

  21. Christine Meurer

    03/19/2019

    Two non-exercise things that have helped me that I don’t think you already do (from your posts anyway 🙂 ) are:
    1. Collagen peptides. Similar to gelatin but much more dissolvable, they’re full of amino acids that help your body absorb and use protein properly, which helps your ab muscles reconstruct and strengthen on their own. I’ve been taking them for 3 years now and really notice a difference! Vital Proteins and Perfect Supplements are good brands.
    2. Paleo-style diet. I discovered this one by accident when i did a Whole30 challenge 6 weeks after my 5th baby was born. Not only did my belly not stick out so far everyday but i felt amazing. After the challenge, i ate normally again and went back to poochy. Now (for other health reasons) I’m on a paleo diet and have gone back to my pre-babies pants size without even exercizing. The grains and dairy cause just enough bloating that, because of my separation, by the end of the day, i looked 5 months pregnant. Now i can still wear my pants comfortably til bed! Worth the sacrifice in my book. 🙂
    Hope you don’t mind this, but after 5 years researching DR, this lady has helped me realize i had quite a few things wrong – http://www.katrinaoakley.com
    Don’t agree with all her nutrition advice, but made me realize that some exercises and advice i had gotten from another DR instructor were actually wrong!

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    Yes, I’ve seen SO much contradictory information on the internet, which is why I’m hesitant to try anything new anymore. I’ll take a look at your link though — no harm in a little more information 🙂

    I eat an insane amount of grain and dairy — and I think I’d honestly rather have a poochy belly than give those up (LOL!) but it IS interesting to know that eliminating those foods have helped you!

    [Reply]

    Kellie Reply:

    Andrea, I’ve always said I’d rather be 5 pounds over my ideal weight and enjoy the foods I like than give them up! Just my personal preference though. From one mama to another this post was super helpful! Thank you!

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    yeah, I’d probably agree with this too, Kellie!
    I’m glad I lost all my baby weight (and I did have to eat fewer of some favorite foods to get my weight down) but for the past 4 months, I’ve been eating how I used to eat and so far the weight is staying off!

    [Reply]

    Christine Meurer Reply:

    I am in complete agreement that you should not take foods out of your diet if you don’t really need to. Which is why I never tried it. 🙂 But then my doctor put me on a grain free, dairy free diet for a mold infection, and I saw the unexpected results of a flat tummy. My personal opinion is that changing one’s diet is much, much easier and less risky than surgery (if the case is minor such as mine and not making normal life significantly harder than it needs to be).

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    yes, definitely — diet change is better than surgery!

    [Reply]

    Pascale Reply:

    Christine, I agree with you.

    I’ve been grain free for decades. Dairy is harder for me, but when I stopped having it, my thyroid antibodies went down by 20% in 3 months and I felt a lot more energetic. My skin cleared up and I didn’t have breakouts or eczema.

    I’m not at all surprised by your results.

    [Reply]

  22. Stel

    03/19/2019

    Sorry that it didn’t really help!
    I really suffered from lower backpain after my 2 pregnancies and by chance got to a solution after pain meds, Pilates, physio of which nothing helped. Upon joining a new gim, I got 3 sessions with a personal trainer who took one look at my med history and put me on to a leg press machine. I couldn’t move. He barked until I did. I ended up staying with my trainer for 8 months, pressing 3 sets of 20×100 kg and was pain-free within weeks.
    Strengthened glutes (butt), hammies and quads
    I continue this, years after, by doing proper squats Every Day (proper = knees must go over toes, just in a straight line). I learnt to properly squat at my lical CrossFit box and just do it at home. Plus it gives you a great back stretch.
    All the best!

    [Reply]

    Annette Silveira Reply:

    I learned through doing Barre3 that the core does extend down into the glutes. I had no idea, but it makes sense that when all of those surrounding muscles are strong the lower back will have less pressure on it.

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    well this is news to me too — I used to do squats and lunges regularly, but I’ve been slacking on that lately. Maybe I need to start up again!

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    Thanks Stel — just one quick clarification about the squats.
    Did you mean to say that proper form = know must NOT go over toes???

    Everything I’ve ever learned about squats says that the knees should not go over toes, but you said “knees must go over toes” so I’m curious if I’ve been doing them wrong all my life! haha!

    [Reply]

    Stel Reply:

    That’s what I always thought – on first day at Crossfit the coach asked me could I squat and made me demonstrate, and immediately told me to forget what I’ve learnt. Reasoning – By trying to keep knees from going over toes, you’re actually putting strain on knee ligaments, whereas allowing to knee to go over, distributes the strain to stronger muscles. Just always take care to keep direction of knees in line with toes, never out (past) or buckling in. We’ve never had knee problems, three years going. I just also take care not to do these too fast, in order to keep correct form.
    Correct squatting also then helps with so many functional moves at home – esp those constant pivking-up-the/babe ones!
    Hope it helps and all the best!
    Hope it helps!

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    well this is all new news to me — WOW! Thanks for the explanation!

    [Reply]

  23. Linda Tenhage

    03/19/2019

    I recently started pelvic floor physio, and my physio therapist also checked for diastasis recti. I only had a small separation, but after a few weeks of exercises she said that it was down to only a 1/2 finger width.
    Pelvic floor physio might be worth looking into as well. It is helpful in engaging and strengthening the core muscles.

    [Reply]

  24. Missy

    03/19/2019

    I have just recently read and listened to information on pelvic floor physiotherapy. It is supposed to be very effective at treating many different pelvic floor disorders, including diastasis recti. Here is a link to the Wellness Mama podcast I heard just since the new year started. Even if you don’t want to listen to the podcast, you should be able to find information on Isa Herrera, the specialist who spoke. https://wellnessmama.com/podcast/isa-herrera/

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    Thanks — I’ve done podcasts with Wellness Mama before, so it will be fun to listen to her with another guest now too!

    [Reply]

  25. Dana

    03/19/2019

    I was really holding out hope that all your hard work had healed it! I was going to start therapy but I have yet to hear from a “real” person that it has truly helped . Thank you for being honest. I wish that insurance would cover this, I’ve gotten a toddler head or elbow in the stomach and it’s excrutiating with no abdominal muscles protecting the organs. My gap fits an entire hand! I also suffer from back pain and my posture is terrible from lack of core muscles . I’m hoping to go ahead with the surgery as much as I don’t want to, in the next few years just for the health benefits and so I can wear a normal t-shirt without looking 4 mths pregnant. Being thin does not help either, I’m in the same boat as you. I Would love to hear if you find out something that does work !

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    yes I was hoping it would be healed too — but such is life!
    If I find something that eventually works, you know I’ll share it on the blog!

    [Reply]

  26. Lauren

    03/19/2019

    What kind of supportive shoes are you wearing? I’ve recently switched to Clark’s flip flops, but need something for the cooler months.

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    I like Sketchers — they are fairly reasonably priced and I can slip them on without socks. They are also very light-weight (and washable!)

    [Reply]

  27. Courtney

    03/19/2019

    I’m not sure what exercises you’ve done or what plan you followed, so forgive me if this offers nothing new. While I did not have much separation, after my babies I had never regained my core strength. I used the program from fit2b designed to heal diastis. Fit2b.com. She also references the Tummy Team on her site for more info and exercises. Exercises include standing and sitting ones, because that is where we live, not lying down. After about 6 weeks, I can feel a difference in my core strength and stability. If you are interested, I can e-mail you a referral code.

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    This is interesting to read — I was actually telling Dave and I absolutely HATE laying on the floor to do the exercises! If I could do something sitting or standing, I would be much more likely to do them regularly! Thanks Courtney 🙂

    [Reply]

  28. Danielle

    03/19/2019

    So Sorry! I was really excited to read this post, hoping for some secret I haven’t tried. I have five kiddos within 8 years. I think it was baby #5 that really did a number on my back and it took me longer to get back into my pre-baby shape. However, I thought the back pain would just continue (I tried a chiropractor too). When baby #5 was around 2 years old, I started working out with friends regularly. We mostly do Beachbody On Demand and usually only 30 minutes 4 days a week but my back pain is pretty much non-existent. If I don’t workout for a few days, I’ll notice my back is more stiff and sore in the mornings. I still have my baby bump, but my back feels so much better. I also feel stronger all over, not just my core.

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    Thanks for sharing Danielle. I currently don’t work out at all (I never really have in my entire life) so that might be something I should look into — just for over-all health and wellbeing too!

    [Reply]

  29. Monica

    03/19/2019

    A pilates instructor I follow online (with 4 kids) has written about healing her diastasi recti. I’m not sure if these posts have any new information for you, but thought I would share just in case!
    thebalancedlifeonline.com/pilates-diastasis-recti/
    thebalancedlifeonline.com/healing-diastasis-recti

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    Thanks Monica!

    [Reply]

  30. Chris

    03/19/2019

    I have no idea if this would help, but I have done the T-tapp exercises in the past. I did the Basic Workout Plus and one where you walk I think 2 miles and exercise at the same time, sort of like the Walk Away the Pounds program. The lady that invented them, Theresa Tapp, also has other programs you can buy. Contrary to what you usually read, she says you can target parts of your body, such as your core, and I think she may have a core workout. Like I said I have no idea if it would help. There used to be T-tapp forums (there still may be) and you could read around on them to see if helped anyone with diastasis recti. https://www.t-tapp.com/

    [Reply]

    Chris Reply:

    Oh, and there are some free workouts on the internet too, like Youtube, and try before you buy.

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    Thanks Chris!

    [Reply]

    Chris Reply:

    Her exercises also help with back pain.

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    good to know — thanks again!

    [Reply]

    Monica Reply:

    I did the Defeating Diastesis course from TTapp with Trisch Richardson and my gap closed from over 6 finger width to 1-2 finger width. The pee issue was helped, too. There are many other success stories. I think another online course is starting in April and it goes slow enough for busy people. I highly recommend taking it!!!

    I had 5 csections with the largest baby weighing 9 lbs. 11 oz. and 22 1/2 inches long and two weeks early. I’m only 5’3″. I’m so glad we didn’t do baby bump pictures 28 years ago!

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    Good to know — and WOW those are some BIG babies for a very little mama!

  31. Barb

    03/19/2019

    I’m ‘elderly’, have arthritis in my back, and scoliosis. Among other things (support shoes, etc) I’ve recently been helped by seeing a chiropractor who is trained in the McKenzie Method. You are wise in addressing this when you are young. Best wishes

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    Thanks for sharing Barb!

    [Reply]

  32. Calliope

    03/19/2019

    Teacher here so pls don‘t judge my nerdiness!
    Diastasis comes from the greek diastasis which means separation.
    Recti is the plural of latin rectus which means straight. Recti are called the straight muscles at the front abdomen.
    I, too, have diastasis recti 11 years after giving birth. I think it has worsened over the years and I am really curious if it can be treated now…

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    oh yes… I do know the meaning of the words, I just don’t understand why we can’t come up with a different name to refer to it by — something less formal than “Diastasis recti”, but less crude than “mom pooch”, and not as long-winded as “abdominal separation” LOL!

    [Reply]

    Christine Meurer Reply:

    I call it DR… but then I think people will think i mean the Dominican Republic, so then I’m stuck saying “ab separation” as well. 🙂

    [Reply]