2 Diastasis Recti Fixes that WON’T work – and What Will!

Fitness, Fitness - Diastasis Recti October 1, 2013

It’s October 1st which means it’s time for Inspired RD contributor Wendy Powell to talk fitness.  Today she’s teaching us more about diastasis recti.  Take it away, Wendy!

First I just want to say Hi and thank-you so much to Alysa for asking me to contribute here, I’m excited to get to know you!

2 Diastasis Recti Fixes that WON’T work – and What Will!

Depending on where you get your postpartum fitness advice, you will hear all sorts of opinions on how best to fix diastasis recti (abdominal separation). In my opinion, the least effective solutions are:

a) The ideas that focus on diastasis recti alone and do not consider the ‘whole body’ reasons for the condition, which naturally play a role in its improvement.

b) The solutions that confuse ‘strong abs’ with optimal core functioning – they jump right to ‘strengthening’ muscles without healing the foundations first.

With this in mind, I want to flag up two diastasis recti ‘fixes’ that don’t work in isolation. They are:

1.    Belly binding or ‘Sucking It In’

Belly binding uses a splint or binder to wrap around your torso to help close the diastasis recti gap. And sucking it in means just that – forcefully pulling your stomach in to make it appear flatter.

Belly binding may ‘hold you in’ and provide support to your lower back. But wearing a splint or binder won’t strengthen or tighten the muscles. And it also misses a few points when it comes to treating abdominal separation.

Firstly, it doesn’t encourage the reconnection of your mind to your muscles. You can be wearing a splint, yet not be engaging your TVA muscles properly, which is important if you want your body to do its job by itself.

For me, belly binding is an ‘Elastoplast’ solution. By helping women to patch up a symptom – the diastasis recti – it fails to take a whole body approach to sorting out the root problem, intra-abdominal pressure.

The cause of diastasis recti is increased pressure inside the abdominal cavity, which pushes out and down. If you don’t address the pressure, and reduce it through proper alignment, then you are not solving the real problem.

2.    Hard core ab exercises

Crunches, sit-ups, oblique twists. Surprisingly, many of these hard-core ab exercises still pop up in postpartum ab workouts. The emphasis is on getting rid of the mummy tummy, yet the approach does exactly the opposite.

Any exercise that jack-knifes the body increases intra abdominal pressure. If your midline is not strong enough to start with, these exercises can hinder or reverse the healing of diastasis recti.

You’ll know if the exercise is ‘wrong’, your stomach will dome as you attempt it. Which is basically your innards playing peek-a-boo through the weakened midline (nice!).

If that’s you, your diastasis is not going to improve, and your belly is not going to get flat, while you continue to do this type of exercise. So please stop!

What works for healing diastasis recti?

To reduce a diastasis gap, first you need to stop obsessing about ‘the gap’. Sounds like an odd start, but bear with me.

Learning to like, and ‘connect with’, your mid-section is going to be far more effective than focusing on the gap alone. You need to engage and work your whole core, including your transverse, pelvic floor and oblique abdominal muscles.

You need to re-establish a physiological connection, rather than using a binder or splint and expecting your body to just understand what you want it to do.

There is more to core repair than splinting, sucking in and even closing the gap. Restoring our core after having babies is a team effort between our minds and whole bodies.

It involves focused exercises that tone and strengthen all the core muscles and it requires attention to your whole body alignment to reduce intra abdominal pressure. Only then will you reduce the gap. And only then will your whole core, including your pelvic floor, function as it should.

The most important first step towards fixing diastasis recti is this: align your body better. By aligning better, you reduce the pressure inside. And only by reducing the pressure, will you reduce the gap.

So start here:

Stop ‘tucking your tailbone’ underneath you or clenching your butt. Every time you tuck, you ensure that your glutes switch off (cue flat butt with no tone), and that your deep core muscles and pelvic floor can’t work properly.

Stand with your butt out + proud! Not overarched, but allowing for the natural curve of your spine without any tucking.

Don’t suck it in! All you’re doing is displacing mass (think about a tube of toothpaste with the lid on squeezed in the middle…).

Instead, to find and tone your deep abdominal muscles draw your belly button very gently back as you exhale. Try to lift your pelvic floor at the same time. Your shoulders, chest or pelvis don’t move!

Practice these subtle shifts, and In my next post, I’ll give you my top 5 exercises for improving diastasis recti through better alignment and gentle core strengthening and toning.

 

UK-based Mom of 2 Wendy Powell is founder of the internationally recognized and sought after MuTu® System program. She has accrued over 12 years experience, proven record and study in the pre and postpartum fitness industry.  Connect with Wendy by signing up to receive information on the MuTu System website, on FacebookTwitter Pinterest. Programs can be downloaded online, or DVDs shipped internationally, all available from the website.

 

Have questions about diastasis recti?  Ask below and Wendy will answer them!

For more information on the MuTu System, click here.  As always, InspiredRD readers get 15% off any MuTu System with the code “INSPIRED15″. 

 

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  • dee October 1, 2013 at 1:15 pm

    Thank you, Alysa, for having Wendy share on your site. She definitely knows her stuff! I have strengthened my core and my whole body with her program.

    • Wendy Powell October 2, 2013 at 5:26 am

      Thanks Dee!

      • Daniel May 21, 2015 at 2:58 pm

        Hello Wendy I having weight lost surgery and I have a diastasis recti would the surgery help a little with the bulge and can I still get rid of it after surgery

  • Should be doing housework October 1, 2013 at 1:44 pm

    Wow! I actually didn’t know there was anything I could do, apart from surgery! I had separation of my muscles after baby number 2 but that was nearly 3 years ago….is it too late for me?!?!? Please say no!!!

    • Wendy Powell October 2, 2013 at 12:56 am

      No! Many factors affect the extent to which collagen (what the midline between the 2 parts of muscle is made of) will regenerate + stengthen. Nutrition is vital, + hormones, age, space between babies, level of healing between babies + genetics all play their role. The gap may not close completely but thats ok – a small gap remaining is completely normal + doesn’t mean you can;t have a flat strong tummy + a core that works. So don’t feel the gap has to ‘fuse’ back together – it doesn’t. But the right combination of reconnection + realignment can take the pressure right off that midline + draw the muscles back to where you want them to be. You can always make improvements, big improvements -however long ago you had your babies 🙂

    • Tina June 10, 2016 at 11:27 pm

      Hello I am just wondering if you have a class in London Surrey I have had two children and I am having the same issue with my stomach.

  • Hannah B October 1, 2013 at 2:44 pm

    I’m so confused!! “Things that don’t work… Sucking It In” Then, “Start here… Instead, to find and tone your deep abdominal muscles draw your belly button very gently back as you exhale. Try to lift your pelvic floor at the same time. Your shoulders, chest or pelvis don’t move!” That sounds like sucking it in!?! I’ve got separation and had some prolapse with both babies. I don’t know where to start!

    • Wendy Powell October 2, 2013 at 1:14 am

      Sorry to confise you Hannah! OK the difference is in 2 areas: your Breath, + what the rest of your body is doing. If I said, ‘right suck in your tummy as much as you can’ – you’d probably do this: suck air in, hard, high up in your chest. Your shoulders come up, your tummy sucks back + your tailbone tucks under. You’re sucking breath in + holding it, as well as your tummy in. This is the ‘sucking it in’ I’m referring to that does nothing for your pelvic floor, your tummy – or indeed your ability to keep breathing 😉 Try it, side on to a full length mirror, + see all those movements take place. (Then for goodness sake breathe!) What you have done there is move air + mass around – hence the tube of toothpaste analogy. The ‘mass’ – ie your tummy, the fat on top of it + everything inside it + the organs of your abdominal cavity – have all simply been forced upwards, pushing into your diaphragm.

      This is what i mean instead:

      The ‘drawing in’ I describe firstly is a subtle movement that affects only the deep abdominal muscles – nothing else – shoulders, chest, pelvis – should not move. The other vital difference is that you do this on an exhale, not an inhale. You breathe slowly out through pursed lips, + gently draw the abs inwards as you simultaneously draw the muscles of your pelvic floor upwards. Its multi tasking, but its also the way your system of core muscles is supposed to work – you’ll get used to it! As you inhale, let everything go – relax all the muscles (don’t push them out or away, just let them go). Breathe into your ribs (thats where your lungs are!) – put your hands around your ribs + feel them open + expand outwards – the rib cage expands to enable you to take a full breath – it not your belly, nor high up in your chest or shoulders. Again, this may take practice.

      Then do it again – breathe out + engage – keep your butt out, your pelvis untucked – then inhale + relax.

      This exercise is the first stage – a simple re-conenction of your mind + body to understand what’s supposed to be working + how. Its a breathing exercise designed to focus your mind to literally just ‘find’ the muscles you’re needing to work with. As above – try it side on to a full length mirror standing, or sitting. Or try it from all fours, or sitting cross legged or kneeling conformably. Find a position that enables you to ‘connect’ + feel whats happening.

      I hope that helps – what we’re trying to achieve is a new awareness of your breath + its interaction with your entire core + your alignment. Its the first stage. Keep practicing!

      • Hannah B October 3, 2013 at 5:02 am

        Thank you!!! I think that will help! Hopefully I can get my body & mind to start talking to each other! 🙂

        • Wendy Powell October 3, 2013 at 1:43 pm

          That’s my goal – to get lots of hearts, heads + muscles talking to each other 🙂

  • Amanda October 1, 2013 at 4:39 pm

    Hannah B, I have the SAME question!! Drawing back the belly button…. I have also heard it phrased as pulling your belly button back into your spine — how else in the world are you supposed to do that without “sucking in?”

    • Wendy Powell October 2, 2013 at 5:06 am

      Hoping my answer to Hannah helps, Amanda!

  • Kelly Nekritin October 1, 2013 at 5:14 pm

    I am a little confused also. I thought after pregnancy we would want to correct a sway back. Usually brought on by the increasing weight of the belly and a more anterior posture throughout pregnancy. If we are not tucking our hips under, as in the posture you assume before most resistance based exercises, are we not encouraging a sway back?

    • Wendy Powell October 2, 2013 at 5:21 am

      The tucking action for exercise, or indeed everyday posture, that we have all been taught for years is not helpful unfortunately – Tucking the tailbone shortens the pelvic floor (meaning it cannot function at full length, so it becomes hypertonic + weak). It also effectively switches off the transversus muscle – the very one you want to target here. The ‘tuck your tailbone’ cue is now widely considered amongst biomechanics + pelvic health experts (such as Katy Bowman, Mary Bond, Diane Lee + many more… oh + me 😉 ) to be counterproductive to core + pelvic health. ‘Swayback’ is often misunderstood – the curve of your lower back is individual + not the main indicator – rather, the fact of whether or not your spine + pelvis are in NEUTRAL is. Your lower ribs should be stacked vertically over your ASIS (the knobbly bits of your ‘hip bones’ that stick out at the front), which in turn should be stacked vertically over your pubic bone at the front. That is neutral – + the curvature of the lower back at that point will vary from person to person. So don’t use your back as the indicator. To get to neutral – you will probably need to untuck + unclench your butt, back up your weight into your heels, drop your ribs at the front + do a lot of stretching to release tight hamstring, calves + psoas. Its work in progress – if you just try to shift everything all at once it will feel unnatural + uncomfortable.
      Stretching along with wearing shoes without heels, walking + standing in correct alignment will do more to reverse the pressure pushing out on your diastasis + downwards onto your pelvic floor than any number of squeezes or kegels…
      Correct alignment is a big area + one that MuTu System covers in detail – from standing, sitting, walking + running + all complimentary + faciltating stretches + exercises to get you there.
      Sorry that’s so long – this is a huge area which my blog + of course my programs cover in detail – I really feel its the missing link with fixing your core! If you go to the MuTu system website + click on ‘alignment’ you’ll see a whole bunch of articles. Hope that helps

  • Zaankali October 2, 2013 at 12:03 pm

    My husband (and before him my father) has mentioned many times that I stand with my hips pushed forward and knees pushed back (which apparently is not attractive – Wink!). I guess I should start paying closer attention to my posture (for reasons other than it doesn’t look very attractive). It sounds like this may be part of my reason for having a weak core also. I’m looking forward to the next post on this and in the meantime no more knee locking and tucked tailbone standing for me. 😉

    • Wendy Powell October 3, 2013 at 2:55 am

      Awareness is the first vital step to fixing our alignment! Yes, alignment + associated intra abdominal pressure are the main causes of a weak core. But don’t worry – you can change the way you move 🙂

  • tnelson October 2, 2013 at 4:13 pm

    what can cause this? i think i was told thats what i had after having my 1st baby almost 16 years ago.

    • Wendy Powell October 3, 2013 at 2:57 am

      The stretching of your abdomen to accommodate your baby during pregnancy of course is a factor, but it is alignment + intra abdominal pressure (ie pressure inside your abdominal + pelvic cavity, pushing outwards) that means it continues long afterwards, causing weak core + pelvic floor muscles.

  • Kim October 2, 2013 at 6:35 pm

    I have about a 1 finger gap when I check for Diastasis. From what I read about diastasis, 1 finger is normal….but my belly distends immediately after I eat even the smallest meal. I also have the ‘bulging up’ when I do any kind of floor ab work. So I guess I am not even sure if I HAVE diastasis. Should I just assume that I have it even though the space isn’t very large?

    • Wendy Powell October 3, 2013 at 3:00 am

      A small 1 finger gap is unlikely to be a problem in itself, but if you get clear ‘doming’ when you attempt a crunch type movement for instance, then that indicates that there is a unsupported gap there + more importantly, that when you ‘work’ your abs, they’re pushing in the wrong direction. Bloating + digestion issues will also play a part – the right nutrition is absolutely vital to getting your tummy back to where you want it. Maybe that should be my third post Alysa…?!

  • Mamabelly October 8, 2013 at 10:40 pm

    Are you kidding, binding my belly while exercising is the ONLY thing that has worked for me! I tried ‘your method’ (an unbinded, unsupported abdomen) for years and made my split worse! There is NOTHING wrong with incorporating abdomen support and I would encourage every woman to support their abs throughout the day, during the first few months. We wear casts and bandages for a reason after injury!

  • Chica January 13, 2014 at 2:17 pm

    I have a one finger separation gap and my belly looks as though I am four months pregnant. I eat very healthy and bf my 11 month old. I did have back to back pregnancies which I think is fe reason why this happened. And I’m petite. 5’3 125 pounds. I was 108 when I got pregnant with my son. I honestly think surgery is the only option. I feel like nothing holds back and my muscles aren’t holding anything in.

  • April March 16, 2014 at 12:04 pm

    Can wearing a belly binder WHILE doing abdominal crunches help hold the muscles in the correct place to allow for the crunches to be more effective at getting rid of the gap?

    • Wendy Powell April 27, 2014 at 9:37 am

      Hi April, the crunch action is making it worse – so this is kinda taking one step forward + 2 steps back… Doing a crunch is never going to get rid of the gap, sorry!

  • Amanda M. April 27, 2014 at 9:01 am

    Hi,
    I’m just about to give birth to my first baby! The doctors have said that I have diastasis recti and they are going to prescribe a abdominal bandage right after I give birth which I can pick up at the hospital. I love to pole dance! (I’m not a stripper!) I obviously haven’t been doing my dancing in pregnancy because it is not safe but I’m really looking forward to getting back at it! Is my stomach problem going to keep me from being able to dance? 🙁

    • Wendy Powell April 27, 2014 at 9:40 am

      Hi Amanda, the binding immediately post-partum can be very helpful for comfort, support + to help you feel more stable as at first you may have limited sensitivity. By all means wear one for those reasons – my article is saying that the binding won’t *fix* the problem, not that wearing support is inherently damaging. This post may help with more information on when you are ready to return to other types of exercise – I hope it helps http://mutusystem.com/how-long-postpartum-till-i-can-crossfit-plank-run.html

      • brittany May 14, 2014 at 1:39 pm

        Hi Wendy,
        3 years ago I had my son …the doctors had to do a c section and I also have diastasis recti…my left side of my c section is numb and I was wondering will drawing in your belly button still work I feel like my lower ab muscles do not work on my left side due to my c section…my stomach looks like im about 4 months pregnant

  • Jen May 10, 2014 at 4:53 am

    Looks like we should do these exercises just after few months of having a baby. What if it’s been almost 1.5 year postpartum. Can the diastasis recti be rectified with these exercises and usually how long would it take in this case?

    • wendy July 3, 2015 at 9:04 pm

      It’s never too late to make a difference – to get a stronger lower back, a more optimally functioning core and pelvic floor… Your abdominal muscles may be tight or they may be slack, depending on your whole body alignment, but if they’re not being used, they are weak and ineffective.
      MuTu System programs show you how to re-connect with, and restore, long-forgotten muscles, how to re-align your posture to train your core and pelvic floor muscles to work optimally and at full strength and flexibility, and how to make your stomach muscles lie flat. It doesn’t matter how long ago you had your last baby – you can make a difference!

  • amber June 24, 2014 at 9:50 am

    i look as if I have a butt on my belly right bellow the belly button…….ive lost 30lbs and it just seems to stay there do u think this is
    diastasis recti?

  • Marathon Mommy June 27, 2014 at 8:10 pm

    I’m a mother of 5 year old twins girls. I remember doing some pelvic exercises post-partum but I don’t remember for how long or what the exercises were. I definitely wasn’t aware of diastasis recti.
    I’ve been running marathons for the last 2 years. After 2 years of running, strength training, yoga for flexibility and balance my darn athletic clothing is only getting tighter in the mid section. My flabby, lumpy gut should not look like this based on my 5 day a week workout for the last two years. I enjoy training so a flat gut is not a big deal but lets face it! If I’m going to work as hard as I do it would be nice to have the tummy to match the legs and arms. Is the damage I may have caused reversable? Should I talk to my OB/GYN? The man never said anything. I know to stop my current core workout. Can I still run?

  • Michele July 5, 2014 at 8:23 pm

    Will cardio kick box classes make my DR worse? Mine is due to 2 abdominal surgeries (12 inch vertical incision) within a 9 month time frame. I am very very thin have zero fat but have a huge dome in my pelvic region where my DR is the worst. I am currently binding and doing vacuum-type abdominal exercises, have stopped all crunches, push-ups, cat-cow stretches, etc etc, but I really really really miss cardio kick box and zumba class. Will I be un-doing all of my PT work for DR by doing these classes?

    • wendy powell July 5, 2015 at 10:37 pm

      Hey Michele, see my answer to Marathon Mummy right above!

  • Gale July 12, 2014 at 5:02 pm

    Please email me for the five exercises that work…THANKS SO MUCH…

  • Gale July 12, 2014 at 5:02 pm

    When are you posting the five exercises that can be done to get rid of this problem?

  • Deb July 13, 2014 at 12:59 pm

    All that whole body crap does not help when you start out. No I won’t fall in love with my diastatsis and that is so insulting to say to someone who has it. Real practical exercises that make sense should have been suggested. But u did not give us any.

    • inspiredrd July 14, 2014 at 11:14 am

      Hey Deb, I’m sorry if that’s how you interpreted this article. What Wendy was saying was to reconnect with our core, to get that mind-body connection back. I did follow up with 5 exercises, you can see them here. Thanks! http://inspiredrd.com/2013/11/5-exercises-to-heal-diastasis.html

  • Julie July 13, 2014 at 9:14 pm

    I actually used the mutu 12 week system and followed it religiously. But I still have that pooch in front by the end of the day. I can see definition now on the sides, and my DR has reduced from 3 to less than 1. If the sides seem strong now, should I start regular ab exercises to strengthen the middle?

    • wendy July 3, 2015 at 9:01 pm

      Hi Julie, the MuTu System 12 Week program is intended to be followed for a minimum of 12 weeks…. As a general guide, you will start to feel the difference within 4 weeks and really start to see changes with 6-8 weeks, provided you are following all the program guidelines mindfully and consistently… Most of our members continue to incorporate the core and stretching work into their lifestyle way beyond the 12 weeks of the program. We don’t stop cleaning our teeth every day after 12 weeks and then expect them to say clean… so don’t stop doing what works! You’ll continue to see and feel improvements to the way your body looks and feels.

      We actively encourage members to progress at their own pace – there is no ‘behind’ or ‘failed’ in MuTu! If you didn’t do your MuTu thing for a while… just start back up again. The support forum will help you stay motivated and on track. Equally, there is absolutely no benefit to jumping ahead or rushing through. You’re given clear guidelines on how to know you’re ready for each progressive phase or workout.

      https://mutusystem.com/how-long-postpartum-till-i-can-crossfit-plank-run.html

  • Diastasis exercises that work November 26, 2014 at 9:36 am

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    […] 2 Diastasis Recti Fixes that WON’T Work – And What Will […]

  • Doug March 19, 2015 at 3:06 pm

    I have a diastasis recti. I found it very confusing when my doctor at the VA told me I had a hernia and nothing more? I made an appt. at the Mayo Clinic and they told me it was not a hernia but diastasis recti. The nurse said that if I lose weight and exercise it would be gone. I googled the condition and did find some comments as not to tighten the butt muscles. I have previously been told to tighten the butt muscles while lifting to avoid back injury. Okay I got the part about the butt muscles. Now I am wondering in your approach to alignment how to lift the pelvic floor without moving your pelvis is confusing to me. I understand how to suck in at the belly button on the exhale, but lifting the pelvic floor without moving the pelvis sounds very abstract on contradictory to me? Can you explain what the pelvic floor is an how to lift it. I do not have a clue.

    • Traci June 26, 2015 at 2:30 am

      Doug… The pelvic floor mostly deals with the lady bits…

      • Mark October 23, 2016 at 1:46 pm

        Who are you! Tracy???.Maybe Wendy should reply to Doug?? . Do you in fact believe that men do not have a pelvic floor? How will he hold his urine? or poop without this “pelvic floor thing” that you say only women possess?? or men do not suffer from DR? I have DR. I am male. I showed my doctor the bulge when pulling abs, he said oh that’s normal,, recently have been doing some rehab with a PT clinic and my PT(female) immediately saw my DR and said what it is., and that men as well as pregnant women can have this problem. I think the lifting exercise here is not really for pelvic floor, but PF is involved somewhat. Maybe Wendy can clarify this.?

  • Zumba Ab Crunch Machine April 12, 2015 at 10:02 am

    […] 2 Diastasis Recti Fixes that WON'T work – and What Will! – Inspired RD – Oct 1, 2013 … b) The solutions that confuse 'strong abs' with optimal core functioning – they jump right to … Crunches, sit-ups, oblique twists. ….. cat-cow stretches, etc etc, but I really really really miss cardio kick box and zumba class. […]

  • Leah Jeffreys June 4, 2015 at 7:33 pm

    Wendy,
    I am 9 months postpartum with baby #2 I had a 4 finger DR and it’s now 2 fingers. It’s completely haulted and will not close anymore. Will jumping jacks help or hurt? What else can I do to get it closed? HELP lol I’m extremely desperate and annoyed with my intensely hard work 🙁

  • Jan Hall June 25, 2015 at 5:00 pm

    Help Wendy!!! I developed my diastasis recti well past childbearing years and I’m unsure what caused it. It’s in my upper abdomen, a 4 finger split. I’m a small frame and I look fat only in the upper stomach. It makes my body look wacky! Everything I wear or purchase has to be made with an elastic waist. I am a 60 year old Flight Attendant and have to look my best at all times. It’s it to late for me to even attempt to make my diastasis smaller? I’ve looked 5 to 6 months pregnant for 10 years and I get very uncomfortable after eating as it makes my stomach protrude even more!!!

    • wendy July 3, 2015 at 8:56 pm

      It’s never too late to make a difference – to get a stronger lower back, a more optimally functioning core and pelvic floor, and a flatter stomach. Your abdominal muscles are just like any other muscles – they just sit there when they’re not being used. They don’t go anywhere, or lose the ability to work… they just get weak. They may be tight or they may be slack, depending on your whole body alignment, but if they’re not being used, they are weak and ineffective.

      MuTu System programs show you how to re-connect with, and restore, long-forgotten muscles, how to re-align your posture to train your core and pelvic floor muscles to work optimally and at full strength and flexibility, and how to make your stomach muscles lie flat. It doesn’t matter how long ago you had your last baby – MuTu can help!

      • Amaka October 30, 2015 at 12:39 pm

        Hi Wendy. I developed a diastasis recti after my 2nd child last year. I have been depressed since my Dr told me that I had to undergo a surgery since the gap is about 5 fingers wide. My belly looks like I am 4months pregnant so I go around in a waist clincher which is uncomfortable. I wanted to find out if the mutu system can help to restore my stomach muscles and reduce the size of my stomach. If so, how can I access the program? I look forward to your response

  • christie July 2, 2015 at 5:46 am

    Hi I’ve been doing diastis recti excersise for about a month now and haven’t seen much improvement. How long does it take to fix diastis recti on average time frame? Weeks, months, years? Also the ones I do says only to work or every other day and they are only 10 min long. Is this not enough? Can you please send me your work out plan so I know days and lenght of times a day I should be doing this.

    • Alysa July 3, 2015 at 5:57 pm

      Hi Christie, the amount of time it takes to heal will vary, but I found that by doing the full MuTu System for a few months made a huge difference for me. If you are at all interested in the MuTu program, it will be 44% off for one day only (July 6th). I can’t recommend it enough!

  • Nichelle Walton August 25, 2015 at 2:04 pm

    I am concerned that doing the pelvic exercises similar to ones I have tried in the past will give me unpleasant and embarrassing ‘ehem’, “spasms”. I stopped kegel exercises for that reason.

    • Alysa August 29, 2015 at 5:20 am

      Have you thought about seeing a pelvic floor physical therapist? There is nothing in the MuTu System that has you clench like kegels, so you should be ok. But if you have trouble with that, a PT can help.

  • Janessa cooper September 18, 2015 at 10:41 pm

    I am pregnant with baby #2 and suffered from diastasis recti and an umbilical hernia with my first so would a splint help reduce the chance of me making it worse? Or should I not waste my money and continue trying exercises to repair it?

    • wendy powell February 29, 2016 at 3:53 am

      Hi Janessa, I am so sorry that I didn’t see this question – you have probably had your baby by now! This answer will still apply however… I don’t recommend the use of a splint to ‘fix’ your DR, but if wearing support during your pregnancy is more comfortable then by all means do it. The distinction I am making is support for comfort vs restricting your abdomen in any way or using the process as a means of ‘fixing’ anything. I wrote on the subject in detail here https://mutusystem.com/diastasis-recti-splint and the article includes important current research on splinting. This is a detailed article with many references so please don’t worry if it’s too much information! The takeaway should be – yes, work on whole body alignment and the exercises as detailed in the MuTu System programs. The MuTu Focus program is safe and highly beneficial during pregnancy and should also be your program choice postpartum given your umbilical hernia. I hope that helps!

  • Amaka October 30, 2015 at 12:44 pm

    Hi Wendy. I developed a diastasis recti after my 2nd child last year. I have been depressed since my Dr told me that I had to undergo a surgery since the gap is about 5 fingers wide. My belly looks like I am 4months pregnant so I go around in a waist clincher which is uncomfortable. I wanted to find out if the mutu system can help to restore my stomach muscles and reduce the size of my stomach. If so, how can I access the program? I look forward to your response

    • wendy powell February 29, 2016 at 4:00 am

      Hello Amaka, my apologies for the delayed response – I had neglected to turn on notifications for these comments… 🙁 The waist cincher isn’t helping I’m afraid – I understand your reasons for wearing it, but restricting your belly in this way is simply increasing pressure on your diaphragm and on your pelvic floor. Yes, the MuTu full body program will help you – if you go here https://mutusystem.com/download-the-mutu-system-coaching-programme you can complete a short quiz to establish which MuTu System program is right for you + go through to purchase. The programs are accessed online, via a membership site to which you have lifetime access once you have joined. No expiration date, no pressure – you work at your pace with a ton of support from our amazing community and my team on hand to help! If you have any further questions the MuTu System FB page is a great place to leave a question for next-working-day answers.

  • susan December 2, 2015 at 10:34 pm

    I am 56 so many years from a Diastasis from childbearing. I have had a really bad cough for about a month and now I have what I think is a diastasis above my belly button. The problem is it hurts and I can’t find any information from anyone that this is actually a painful thing. Is it possible to do this to yourself by violently coughing? My family doctor sort of ruled out a hernia and about 2 months ago I had cold lypo (where they freeze your fat – very stupid – don’t do it). I went to that doctor and he said it’s got nothing to do with the procedure but that he thinks it’s diastasis. I am going to see a surgeon just to get his opinion just wondering if you could comment here about what you think.

    • wendy powell February 29, 2016 at 4:08 am

      Hi Susan, the coughing will indeed have increased intra abdominal pressure – un-contained pressure pushing outwards (in a all directions – upwards, outwards + downwards) from your midsection. When your core is not fully functional and containing this pressure as it should, our bodies can ‘give up’ at the weakest point as a result of this continued pressure (as from a persistent cough). This can manifest as pelvic floor problems, DR, hernia… these are all pressure related issues. A restorative exercise program will definitely help you, but a consultation from a pelvic physical therapist is always a good idea if this is an additional option for you. Remember a surgeon is likely to suggest surgery (!) so a physical therapist consult is a good idea for a second opinion if you are seeking medical diagnosis.

  • Mae December 29, 2015 at 7:40 am

    Hi, I was wondering if belly dancing will improve my abdominal separation or make it worse? I used to dance all the time , but I took a break from it for a while. Before I start to dance again I wanted to make sure that the separation won’t get worse. Thanks

  • Elle February 11, 2016 at 3:11 am

    Hello, I have a 3 finger gap and I will definitely be purchasing the MuTu System. Is it ok to do squats & squat variations like jump squats and lunges while doing MuTu? Or should I strictly do MuTu only?
    Thanks!

    • wendy powell February 29, 2016 at 4:15 am

      Hi Elle, great to have you in the MuTu Mama community! There are squats and lunges in the program, but with detailed instruction to ensure that the WAY you squat and lunge is helping and not hindering your core and pelvic floor. So follow the 12 Week Program which includes all the high intensity but low impact workouts you need, until your body is ready for impact again.

  • Emm February 26, 2016 at 10:00 pm

    Hi, hopefully I’m not too late to the conversation to get a reply. Will these workouts (or any??) help with stress incontinence after having a baby, and reduce the upper ab bulge I’ve acquired?

    I was in great shape before I had my first baby and I exercised throughout my pregnancy. I used to run 3 miles a day. When I got back into running after having my daughter–or tried to–I discovered I couldn’t run without peeing. I had to wear an overnight pad in order to finish one mile, and I was contemplating buying Depends to help me get through the workout. But I eventually just gave up running because I hated the way it felt to pee the whole time. I went to doctors and nobody has had any information about it. I thought it was just something I’d have to accept. I’d really love to run again some day–without peeing my pants.

    I also have a bulge in my upper abs. Only a one-finger width gap in my mid-section, and my obliques are very strong, but the middle and upper abs feel like a balloon. Not hard and puffed out. I want my belly flatness and strength back.

    I’m currently 3+ months pregnant and worried about doing more damage to my belly and stress incontinence. Is there anything I can do right now and throughout my pregnancy, and then postpartum, that will cure my stress incontinence and upper belly bubble??

    • Alysa February 27, 2016 at 12:26 am

      Hi! You are not too late. I actually just talked to Wendy and when she gets back from vacation next week, she will be here to answer your question. I’ll make sure of it!

    • wendy powell February 29, 2016 at 4:23 am

      Hi Emm, YES! To both questions. Everything you have described is addressed in MuTu. Your stress incontinence is likely associated with a too-tight (hypertonic) pelvic floor – a result of you ‘holding on’ during workouts… you need to stop all high impact exercise until your body is ready for it, and focus on relaxing and restoring your pelvic floor muscliest do their job effectively. (It can’t whilst it is tight and weak). Leaking is a sure sign your body is NOT ready. The bulge is an associated symptom of a core not quite going its job right and showing the effects of excessive pressure. But don’t be disheartened – it doesn’t mean you can’t get a functional core and pelvic floor again! This article gives you guidelines on listening to your body to know when you’re ready. Meanwhile MuTu can definitely help you https://mutusystem.com/mutu-system-blog/how-long-postpartum-till-i-can-crossfit-plank-run

    • wendy powell February 29, 2016 at 4:30 am

      To add Emm, during pregnancy the MuTu System programs are both safe and beneficial. There are clear guidelines in the programs for how to adapt where necessary for pregnancy. This is also covered in the FAQ here https://mutusystem.com/faq

      • Emm February 29, 2016 at 6:22 pm

        Thank you so much for replying so quickly. I’m thankful there’s some hope that I can correct the incontinence (which is a much bigger issue for me than the belly.) I noticed both problems around the same time, which was after I began working out again 1+ year after my daughter was born. The workouts I did were the same that I used to do pre-pregnancy without a problem, and I thought 1 year postpartum would be more than enough time for my body to get ready to pick them back up. I had no idea I could be causing problems by doing so.

        I downloaded the free booklet online and then purchased the Mutu System the very next day (didn’t get a chance to look at the booklet before doing so, so I lost out on the 15% discount. Darn it.) I’m listening to the Science videos now and looking forward to getting home tonight to start week 1. I also think I might have been mistaken about how much of a separation I have. Now it seems like it might be more like 2-3 fingers.

        My pregnancy and labor went as well as I could have hoped it did. For me, it was the recovery that was completely unexpected and didn’t go according to plan. Not even a little bit. I was pretty fit before having my first child and thought I’d totally get back into shape quickly afterwards. I had visions of a slender self playing with and holding my child. I had no idea the kinds of obstacles a postpartum body has to face in recovering, or how long it can take. I gained 65 pounds with my first–despite trying to maintain a healthy diet and working out 5 or more times a week–and while I initially lost 35-40 pounds in the month after she was born, I gained 20 of that back within the following year. So I am STILL 55 pounds over my pre-pregnancy weight. I’m trying hard to not gain more than 11-20 pounds this time around. I’m only 15 weeks in and have gained a couple. I’m really looking forward to baby #2 (and last one!) arriving, and getting on the path to healing my body and getting this weight off once and for all.

        • Wendy Powell July 18, 2016 at 7:21 am

          Hey Emm, sorry this comment got missed. Now you’re a customer you can get faster answers in the private customer forum at MuTu Connect, just log into your account + ask 🙂 http://mutumamas.com/connect/

  • Juliana June 1, 2016 at 11:09 am

    Does belly dancing helps with closing the diastasis rect? Or it can worsen? Thanks

  • Lucia July 11, 2016 at 3:03 pm

    Hi Wendy m I am 2 gap. I have 2 kids 1 is 14 now aND 1 year old .and my lower stomach is big..I heard lot about mutu .just want to know will help me flat my tummy ao will take years for me do mutu for flat tummy.thank you

    • Wendy Powell July 18, 2016 at 7:16 am

      Hi Lucia, MuTu can definitely help! Look forward to welcoming you

  • Amanda rainone July 18, 2016 at 4:42 am

    If I have an umbilical hernia, should I get that surgically repaired before trying to heal the distasis recti? I wonder if I would do the hernia more damage or cause strangulation if my distasis begins closing and healing.

  • Charity Clark July 27, 2016 at 7:05 pm

    Hi there! I’m super new to this site but love it already! I’m a mother of a 3, 2 and 1 year old and am currently 10 weeks pregnant. However, because of DR I look 4-5 months and quite honestly it’s depressing. My gap is only 1.5 at my naval but I also suffer constipation and abdominal discomfort outside of pregnancy. I can eat a small meal and can almost immediately see a vast difference in the outward appearance of my midsection. Basically, my question is – what can I be doing now to help set me up for a better post pardum situation?

  • Angie Waters August 26, 2016 at 8:31 pm

    Hi Wendy. I discovered I had Diastasis about 2 years ago and was able to minimize it with exercises and preventing burpees, planks, ABS, etc. I got pregnant again and its been a year and a half now and I am getting back into shape again. I did my exercises and the pooch has gone down a lot but a pooch still remains. I also have a umbilical hernia (from my first baby, I have 3). I noticed that if I do one day of hard core workouts (Crossfit) my pooch pokes out more. Will I never be able to get rid of it for good? Will it always be something I have to work on?