Tuesday, March 13, 2012

The Pictures I Don't Want to Show You . . . and a New Series!

Over the course of the last few weeks I kept stumbling across a discussion of the same book at totally unrelated places.  This reminded me that another mom had strongly recommended this book to me last spring.  After looking for it at our local library, and discovering it wasn't available, I had put the name of the book in the back burner of my mind and promptly forgot all about it!




Suddenly, this book, Lose Your Mummy Tummy by Julie Tupler, RN was back on my radar!  I checked again at my library, but it still wasn't in their holdings.  

The premise of the book is that pregnancy naturally separates a mother's outermost abdominal muscles to make room for her growing uterus. Called a diastasis recti, this separation doesn't fully close up in most new moms. This situation is compounded when women have back-to-back pregnancies and wear their babies in front carriers.  (Yikes!) The larger the diastasis, the weaker the muscles and the more problems may develop.  In addition, the larger the diastasis, the bigger the belly that just won't seem to go away after baby's delivery!  Lose Your Mummy Tummy introduces the Tupler Technique, a set of simple abdominal exercises created by Julie Tuper, RN, that work to decrease the diastasis, while strengthening the transverse muscle and delivering a firmer, flatter, and stronger belly.

Somewhere in the dark recesses of my mind, I remembered a midwife telling me that I had a diastasis recti . . . . That was who knows how many babies ago!  ;)

Well, to make a long story short, I still don't have the book -- but I have something better -- the Lose Your Mummy Tummy DVD, guidebook, and a splint!  I have also had the opportunity to work one-on-one with Julie Tupler via Skype to learn how to implement her program for healing a diastasis recti.  In return, I have promised to blog about my journey following her program and to share my before/after pictures!  :o

First, let me share some of what I am learning about diastasis recti from Julie Tupler, so you can understand what this is and whether it applies to you.




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WHAT IS A DIASTASIS RECTI?

The word diastasis means separation. So a diastasis recti is a separation of the rectus abdominis or the outermost abdominal muscles. When the muscles separate, the connective tissue that joins them stretches sideways. The more it stretches sideways the thinner and weaker it becomes.

WHAT CAUSES A DIASTASIS?

Everyone is born with their muscles separated. Whether it closes depends on the amount of force or pressure on the connective tissue that joins the outermost muscles.  If the muscles close, they are always at risk for separating again when there is this continuous force on the connective tissue. Force can be caused by:
  1. Weight gain in the abdominal area
  2. Growing uterus during pregnancy
  3. Doing abdominal exercises incorrectly

WHAT PROBLEMS ARE CAUSED BY A DIASTASIS?

The function of the outermost muscles are to support your back and your organs. When the muscles separate this support system is weakened causing low back pain and the "mummy tummy " or “guy gut.” The mummy tummy or guy gut is actually your protruding organs. They are protruding because they are now being supported by a thin (saran wrap-like) piece of connective tissue instead of your muscles if they were together. If there is trauma to the abdominal area and the connective tissue is torn away from the muscle, your organs will come through and a ventral hernia can develop. Surgery will be required. A large diastasis on a pregnant woman will cause the uterus to tilt forward putting the cervix out of alignment. This will make pushing the baby out vaginally much more difficult.

WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS OF CLOSING A DIASTASIS?

Closing the diastasis will give you a flat belly, a smaller waist and relieve any back problems you are having. It will also make pushing in labor much more effective.


HOW IS A DIASTASIS CLOSED?

It is NEVER too late to close a diastasis! Closing a diastasis is all about healing the connective tissue. A diastasis can be closed on anyone at anytime! How long it takes depends on the severity of  your diastasis and your commitment to the program.



HOW DO YOU CHECK FOR A 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 yourknees 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.


The solution to this common problem is Julie Tupler's 4-step program for closing a diastasis.  I will explain the 4 steps in my next post, but if you can't wait that long, feel free to check out Julie's website, where you will find a wealth of information on diastasis recti, including the 4 steps to closing one.

Now for the moment I've been dreading!!  The moment when I show you my "before" pictures, where you can plainly see that I have No Waist and a Very Protruding Belly.  Yes, it is not a pretty sight!  I just thought these were my permanent battle scars from giving birth to ten big babies, but now I think there may be hope . . . 




 





Check back each Tuesday where I will share my ups and downs and the ins and outs of my journey following the Tupler Technique!  Also, if you want to join me, please do!!!  Just click here to order your own DVD, guidebook, and a splint, so you can also start the rehabilitative process.  Please leave me a comment and let me know you if you will be joining me for the journey, or if you have healed a diastasis, please tell me about that too!  Any and all encouraging comments are Welcome!  :)


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9 comments:

Jennyz said...

I will join you! I just bought the book and brace also. I have an awful diastasis, my fifth is five months old.

busymomof10 said...

Jennyz,

Oh, I am So Excited to have you join me! This feels like a lonely journey!

Jennyz said...

I hear ya. Sadly, I still look about seven months pregnant! I so hope this works.

Phyllis Sather said...

I just heard of this recently. I look just like you, but my baby will be 21 on March 23.

Looking forward to seeing if this works.

Belinda said...

Thank you for your courage - I will join you!

I have had nine children and I still look very pregnant, even though the youngest is 8 years old now!

I have Julie's other DVD set (Maternal Fitness) - I didn't know this was available.

Now to order my splint!

~ Belinda

Cheaper by the Baker's Dozen said...

You are the bravest woman I know! I'll hardly post a picture if my triple chins are showing :) I can't wait to see your 'after' pictures.

Oh, and thanks a lot....I just messed up on my new goal to go to bed by 10pm - due
to all your great posts I had to catch up on :)

Mrs. H said...

Bold and beautiful and a brilliant inspiration for ALL MAMAS!!!!

Thanks for sharing you are AWESOME!!!

Tatiana said...

So how did you do? I just ordered my stuff a few days ago and can't wait for the splint to come! I have two kids, lost all the baby weight (!) with a lot of hard work, but the tummy has been a huge disappointment. Anyone with some helpful suggestions? I'm committed to getting healed and back in the college clothes ;)

busymomof10 said...

Tatiana,

Regretfully I got busy with life . . . and moving . . and a sick mama . . . and did not persevere with this program. :(

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