TOP 6 DIASTASIS RECTI MYTHS
I've heard quite a few incorrect / misinformed / downright silly things about diastasis recti lately, so let's set the record straight...
Here are some of the biggest WHOPPERS I've heard lately
Myth #1 - you need a "diagnosis" by a medical professional
You do not need a formal "diagnosis" by a doctor or any other heathcare professional. They DON'T get taught how to check for this, so if they happen to know how, it's not from their medical training, but from their own interest and research. (Indeed, during my pregnancy at one of my checkups, I taught all the nurses at the prenatal clinic how to check for it, just because one of them was interested.)
Diastasis recti has no centralised, official test or treatment, so it's the wild west out there! It's not taught well on most training courses, so professionals have to do a lot of research and go down tons of rabbit holes (and get tons of experience!) to figure this stuff out. Women's health physios and trainers specializing in postnatal fitness are professionals that can help you with conservative methods. (And they will/should tell you if you should speak to a surgeon)
Here's a video I did on how to check for Diastasis Recti yourself at home.
You can also get my Diastatis Recti Starter Pack here to help you assess not only the gap,
but also the strength of your abdominal muscles and give you further guidance on what to do about it.
Myth #2 - You should always see a surgeon You do NOT need a surgeon to diagnose it. And a surgeon is NOT the best person to give you exercises. (Their training does not include rehabilitating physical conditions with exercises).
Surgeons are trained to perform SURGERY - they have an amazing set of skills and SOMETIMES diastasis recti will require surgery, or the woman will choose surgery for aesthetic reasons... but there is the potential for a surgeon to be a hammer looking for a nail.
At the end of the day, it's your body, so it's up to you, but I would HIGHLY recommend exploring the conservative route before going under the knife.
(Check out @lisa.marie.ryan on Instagram for a really inspiring DR surgery story from someone who explored EVERY possible avenue).
Myth #3 and 4 - "You have a 10 cm gap" and "you have no ab muscles"
If someone tells you you have a 10 cm gap, they are probably talking out of their arse.
Even a very severe DR might be just a few centimetres wide. Yet I have seen countless women who come to me saying "my Pilates teacher / gyno / friend tells me I have an ENORMOUS gap" - it's almost never the case.
Again, you can check yourself using this video - it's really quite simple to do yourself. You'll very quickly know if you have a 10cm gap.
And if they tell you "you have NO ab muscles" they are DEFINITELY talking out of their bum hole.
This is just impossible. Anatomically impossible. Yet lots of women come to me beside themselves with worry about this.
Myth #5 - You need to wait until your DR is healed before you can go back to exercise
This one really gets my goat. There is sooooo much you can do with a DR that won't make it worse, and that may even help.
I sometimes see women 10, 11 or 12 months postpartum who have been told by a physio that they need to hold off with exercise until it is healed. This is SUCH A SHAME, because we could have been working on it for the past 6 or more months!
There are a lot of "ab" specific exercises that we can do to help strengthen the anterior abdominal wall - no matter how severe a DR is, there are ALWAYS exercises that can be adapted to that level, (and that are usually far less demanding on her abdominal muscles than her daily tasks).
Aside from these core-specific exercises, there is sooooooooo much you can do to strengthen the back, bum, arms, shoulders, chest legs... Just check out this video - these are all exercises that are "DR safe"
Even if they don't "fix" a DR, we have to get out of the mindset that we are only allowed to do things that directly contribute to healing that body part.
What about the rest of the body?
What about the woman herself and her wellbeing and mental sanity?
It is such a shame to stop someone from moving for fear of "doing damage".
Rather we can teach her HOW to move, which movements to avoid (for now) which movements to PRIORITIZE, how to incorporate the breath and manage load... and what's happening in the abdominal muscles and tissues while she is performing different movements.
We need to take the fear out of this for women. We also need to teach them what "DR safe" might look like.
Myth #6 - You can "fix" or "close" every diastasis
You can't "fix" every diastasis with exercise, you may never "close the gap", you may need or want surgery (again, check out @lisa.marie.ryan on Instagram) - no-one has a crystal ball. But by implementing some simple strategies most women experience a lot of improvement.
Did you use the video to check if you have diastasis recti? Want to know how to exercise? Join my Complete Postpartum Programme, that takes you through EVERYTHING, every step of the way, from a full Functional Ab Assessment (NOT just the gap) to moving to strengthening the abdominal muscles AND the WHOLE body.
Did you use the video and found out you DON'T have Diastasis Recti? Now you want to know why you still have a belly?? Check out this video. Spoiler alert: it's not JUST about the gap - you can still have weak abdominal muscles with no gap - the Complete Postpartum Programme will walk you through that too.