Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Living with Diastasis Recti

I've mentioned here before that I suffer from diastasis recti (separation of the abdominal muscles) which in my case, is as a result of my triplet pregnancy.  I actually had some separation from my pregnancy with Abigail, which was pointed out to me by my doctor when I was pregnant with the triplets.  Apparently, the separation was unusually wide for a singleton pregnancy.  That ended up being a moot point because, well, triplets.

My midsection now, almost eight years after giving birth, is a mess, partly due to the diastasis recti and partly due to my skin being stretched to infinity and beyond.  I weighed 105 pounds on day zero and carried the girls to 35 weeks, 6 days.  Their total combined birth weight was 3 ounces shy of 15 pounds.  I realize how incredibly lucky I am and what an impressive feat was undertaken by my body.  I remember, with weeks and weeks left, not believing that I could possibly grow any more enormous and my nurse told me that our bodies can do amazing things. She was right.

So besides unpleasant visual changes to my body (I probably won't ever see my belly button again), what does it mean to live with diastasis recti?  Well, it can cause a slew of physical issues but in my case, the only one that I have to deal with on a daily basis is back pain.  I think most of us know that a strong core (abdomen) leads to a strong back and with a weak core, I have a weak back.  It mainly bothers me when I'm standing.  Doing basic household chores, such as washing dishes and laundry can be painful.  Standing on the train holding my work bag can be torturous.

Someone stumbled onto my blog last week via a Google search for "getting abs after triplets."  I'm assuming the searcher meant "abs back into shape" or something along those lines because otherwise, ouch. Life without abdominal muscles would be pretty painful, I'm sure.  Anyway, I decided to search the internet myself to see what invaluable advise would come my way.  It was actually a bit depressing.  According to the internet, my options are:
  1. To lose weight (I don't need to)
  2. Wear spanx (Um, no)
  3. Undergo surgery (Nope)
I have fully accepted that my body is what it is.  I'm a mom.  I had triplets.  I wouldn't change how long I carried them, even for a belly button.  But I still hold on to the thought that if I could only get back into kick ass shape, I could possibly look/feel much better.  I know that when I've been able to consistently run, I've seen the very tip of change.  But alas, that is proving to be very difficult right now.  I returned to work full time (from a four day work week) about ten months ago and finding time hasn't been easy.

I've learned to stop google searching diastasis recti because I always end up annoyed.  Everybody is different.  Everybody's situation is different.  It's all different and I need to figure out what works best for me. 


DaddyBites said...

Sarah, I know a mom who had 3 singletons. She had separation of the abs as well. I didn't know it was caused diastasis recti though. She did not need to lose weight either. She had the surgery. And I understand she's been fine ever since.

When I see her next I'll ask. Since you brought this up, I'm interested to know, even if surgery is not something you're willing to undergo.

Anonymous said...

ok, this was Kim who left this comment. Daddybites is my husband. Sorry about that!

Kate said...

Yeah, I know a couple of people who have had the surgery and that's certainly my plan if it happens to me (I'm pregnant with my third). I get that any surgery has risks but they seem fairly minor compared to dealing with back pain every day.

sommer austin said...

i know you're not soliciting advice, but i want to comment because well, what you're suffering from is what i work with every day - and i care. i work with people (women and men) who have DR and have pretty much a 100% positive track record, meaning, you can get your abs back/out of back pain with the right exercises. i would be more than happy to FaceTime/email with you once or twice to show you how to do some very simple exercises just a few minutes a day which will make a world of difference. you might not get the belly you had pre babies, but you will have HUGE decrease in pain. there is a doctor in canada named diane lee who does research on DR and has some instructional videos on her site that show good form for engaging the right muscles. you can see some here: please ignore the fact that this website is for her product and scroll down, close to the bottom she has two videos, one for proper engagement of the abdominals, the other for improper engagement. hope those help. anyway, please don’t hesitate to let me know if you want to FaceTime! and by the way, long time follower, first time commenter. :)

sommer austin said...

by the way i also want to mention that i do not work for diane lee or sell her products (she doesn't even know i exist). i know her because in my world she is famous for her research and success. i will be taking a course from her in november.

Anonymous said...

Just curious, is surgery not a viable option for your situation?

Sarah said...

Surgery is not an option for me right now.

Sommer - thank you for your comment and the link. What's frustrating in blindly searching the internet is weeding through all the advice. I do believe with exercise, it can be better.

sommer austin said...

well my offer stands. contact me if you want to FaceTime or Skype and i'll show you tried and true stuff (and how not to do). spinal alignment + correct abdominal engagement (you have 4 different ones, all looking and feeling very different when you engage).

Just the Tip said...

I too ad separation after a singleton pregnancy, after my 2nd it was bad. I ended up doing the surgery, essentially a tummy tuck with muscle repair. It helped my back SO SO much. My recovery was fairly easy too, I was back to pretty functional around day 7-10.
He told me he did triple stitching because they were so bad. I could still do with losing a little weight though, lol.

Siné said...

I have had a diastasis recti since after my 1st was born. 4 pregnancies and 2 births later it has gotten worse. Last year I started doing Fit2B studio which focuses on tummy safe exercises and healing diastasis recti. My gap isn't 100% closed but it is getting pretty close to it and my back pain is so much less than it was. I am only telling you about it because it is working well for me and has made daily life a lot less painful. is the web address for the program I have been using. The other plus is the workouts are short so I can actually fit them in to my day most days.