The first time my little sister came to visit after my daughter was born, I marched her into the bathroom and showed her my jiggly post-baby belly. I had no idea what my body would look like after giving birth and didn’t really know who to ask, so I wanted her to have a better understanding as she started her motherhood journey.
After a few months I felt like my body had pretty much returned to its pre-pregnancy shape – with a few extra pounds of “reserves” on tap for my nursing little one, of course. It was only when I became pregnant with my current baby that I asked my midwife to check for a diastasis recti, which is a separation of the abdominal muscles that can often happen during pregnancy. I wasn’t expecting to, but I wanted to double check before I chose a prenatal exercise routine, and to my surprise I had developed one while carrying my daughter.
I want to be as active through this pregnancy as I was with my first, but some types of exercises can actually make a diastasis worse. Since having abdominal muscles that can contract effectively is important for labor, I’ve invested in Julie Tupler’s Maternal Fitness DVD. She developed the “Tupler Technique,” which is a specific series of exercises that are very effective at closing a diastasis recti (if you’re not pregnant) or mitigating its effect in pregnancy (if you are).
It’s not an action-packed, sweat-inducing protocol – it’s more of a “sit on the floor and squeeze” type of thing. Seriously, though, I have never worked harder on my transverse abdominals.
I also just ordered her Prenatal Pilates DVD. She goes over what is/isn’t okay for women with a diastasis, which is exactly what I need to know.
If you have a diastasis and are not pregnant, Tupler wrote a book called Lose Your Mummy Tummy that may be helpful.
The Tupler Technique is helping me to once again feel strong and confident for my upcoming birth. I’m working the muscles that will actually push this baby out and I know the effort I’m investing will be worth it.