Monday, July 18, 2011

Do you have a Diastasis?

Just recently I came across a bloger that talked about something that I think more women need to know about.  I know I had heard of it once before, but never really took it terribly seriously.  It's called Diastasis Recti, and I would guess that most women who have had children have this to varying degrees.

If you have a "mommy tummy" and just can't seem to get rid of it, despite lots of sit ups and crunches, you most likely have a Diastasis.  Diastasis Recti is the gap between your muscles, straight up and down your belly.  Sit ups and crunches only serve to make this gap wider, believe it or not.

Fortunately, I got in contact with Julie Tupler, creator of the Tupler Technique, and she agreed to send me a copy of her DVD, as well as a splint, to help me fix my tummy issues.  I'm actually doing a review of these products for She {hearts}It, but I felt like it needed a bit more explanation and exposure, so I'll be blogging about it here as well.

First of all, I had to measure how big my Diastasis is.  Here is a quote from Julie's website about how to check for your Diastasis:


A diastasis can be checked both during and after pregnancy. The object is to determine how many fingers will fit in the space between the two recti muscles. You also want to determine the condition of the connective tissue. The deeper your fingers will go towards your spine, the weaker the connective tissue. If you feel a pulsing while you are checking, this is a sign of very weak connective tissue. Start with your middle three fingers. You will also want to measure your waist before you start on the program. This measurement will get smaller as the muscles start coming together.

Lie on your back with your knees bent. Place your fingers in your belly button. Your fingers should be pointing in the direction of your toes. Relax your abdominal muscles and lift your head. If you are holding your abdominal muscles in as you check it will give you a false reading as this will make the diastasis appear smaller. The muscles will get closer together the higher you lift your head.

To get a more accurate reading, it is important to check yourself when you first start feeling the muscles coming together. You might have to come up and down a few times so you can feel how the muscles work. If you don’t feel the two ridges of the muscles with 3 fingers you may have to put more fingers in. If you see the football- like ridge you should start by using 4 to 5 fingers. You may even have to use 2 hands if your diastasis is very large.

So, using this technique, and measuring at the top, middle and bottom of my tummy, I measured:

Top: 1
Middle: 2
Bottom: 1
Belly measurement: 34 inches around my belly button (yikes, that's embarrassing to post!)

Part of fixing the Diastasis is wearing a splint.  The Tupler Technique offers it's own unique splint, which works to hold the muscles closer together.  The goal is to wear this splint 24/7 for the next six weeks.  I'll be honest and say that I am currently taking a small break.

Another part of the program is some very simple, yet effective, exercises that need to be done daily.  For more information on these exercises, I suggest either getting a copy of Julie Tupler's book, or her DVD.  Both are available here for those in the US, and here for those in Canada.

The program also includes specific instructions on what can make your Diastasis worse, and what movements you need to do properly to prevent making it worse.

So, over the next six weeks, I hope to be updating here occasionally.  I want to stress that while I may not have a huge Diastasis problem, my transverse is very very weak, and I have a lot of back pain.  My goal is to really strengthen my transverse and close the small gap that I have.



Heather said...

This makes me want to cry. I have worked HARD the last few months and am stronger than ever.. I even see the definition in my stomach on the side... but there is this belly that will NOT go away... It is soooo hard to deal with most days. Maybe I should look into this...Looking forward to hearing how it goes. Does the splint hold it all in?

eva said...

Stacey, I've heard of abdominal separation as well. I ordered a video after Megan was born and there's some info about that on's the link
The info on the BeFit-Mom site says a 1-2 finger gap is normal though..? So just curious about that.

Laura said...

I'm pretty sure I have this too...I hate it!! I really should look into getting that book and dvd. I talked to a doctor friend recently about it and she told me the only way to get rid of it is surgery. I hope she's wrong!! :(

Micki said...

No fun! I hope the splint and exercises help with your discomfort. Good luck Stacey!

MomLaur83 said...

I just received mine in the mail and am starting today! I'm looking forward to hearing how things go, new follower :0)

Melany Gallant said...

Does the splint and exercise only work if you do it immediately after giving birth? By immediately I mean when the doctors gives the okay to start exercising again.

Stacey said...

No, you can do the exercises anytime! It is never too late, and many women have seen huge improvement, even many years down the road.

You can also do the exercises and wear the splint while pregnant. In fact, it's probably a great way to make sure the issue doesn't get worse.

Mrs. Stam said...

I have a bad case of this, but being 3 moths preggo I would have to wait after pregnancy to try to heal!

Yes back pain are a bummer :-(

How did you find the dvd and splint???