Friday, May 7, 2010

Does your tummy look like mine?

This spring has me totally exasperated with my wardrobe!

Okay.......that's not quite right.

A more accurate way of putting it?  This spring I'm exasperated with my stomach!  Oh, the bother!  Even though my post-baby weight is down to 110 pounds, my stomach looks three to four months pregnant at the end of every day.  Why, 16 months post-natal, would I experience this?

After baby number two, my abdominal muscles separated--a condition called diastasis recti.  I first saw this term on a few blogs this year, but I didn't pay enough attention to it.  When it became obvious that clothes weren't going to hide my hard, round, bubble belly, I started researching.

If you've had more than two babies, or if your stomach muscles were weak before you got pregnant, you probably have this condition to some extent.  If you lie down flat and lift your head up, as if to do a crunch, can you feel a vertical muscle separation (greater than two finger widths)?  Or does a bit of your tummy pop up, in a vertical line? If so, you have this.  The good news?  Most cases can be corrected without surgery.

I'm actually less happy with my stomach now than I was a year ago.  I've made it worse, people!  Yes, each time I get out of bed using my stomach muscles in a way that causes them to push out, I make the abdominal muscle separation worse.  Over time, from getting in and out of bed improperly, and because I've ignorantly done some sessions of regular crunches, my stomach is less flat!

I knew something had to change when I noticed a couple people peeking down at my stomach recently.  Oh, the embarrassment!  My mind wandered to my sixties.  Would I have a significant bulge by then (like a five or six months-pregnant bubble), the way older women often do?  The answer is yes.....if I don't do something about this!  Unfortunately, in addition to embarrassment, back pain will eventually appear, as a result of the worsening separation.

I don't know about you, but I find it shocking that OB-GYN's seem to know nothing about this, or if they do know, they don't think it important enough to address.  They don't even bother giving a caveat about regular abdominal exercises!  Grrr!

Read a more technical explanation, and learn the proper exercises needed to correct it, here and here and here, or search using the term "diastasis recti".

1 comment:

Nutmeg said...

I wish, wish, wish someone had told me and told me I could have prevented it. Mine is beyond my ability to fix it at an 8 finger-width.

I've become the resident expert among my friends because you are right... doctors don't seem to take note of it. It took me a long time to figure out what was going on. I just wish I had known before surgery was the only thing that could fix it.