By: Nicole Kristoff (with guest appearance by said hubby, Dan Kristoff PT, DPT)
NICOLE: It’s something I didn’t even think about until it happened… I gave birth to my first sweet girl 4 years ago and quickly decided my body was ‘broken’!
Or at least that is how it felt.
My stomach was stretched out, the skin was loose, I couldn’t sit up without wiggling around like a ladybug trying to flip itself over, and my body was in a competition to see if I could pee myself more times than my newborn.
Combined with the changes in my hormones (again!), a bit of postpartum depression, and sleepless nights (ugh), this was too much for me to handle.
I had done a bit of research and it seemed like everything I read wanted me to buy a girdle and subscribe to their 8-12 week program.
“I have a Newborn! I can’t spend THAT much money AND attend your class 3x a week!”
Not to mention that using a girdle or abdominal binder will actually hinder or even reverse(!) your recovery from Diastasis Recti.
But I wouldn’t have even known that without access to my secret weapon:
The Physical Therapist.
He has helped me with various issues before this, but this was different. His first job was not to fix my body, his first job was to ‘talk me off the ledge’, so-to-speak.
He started by throwing out some numbers, actually he started by getting me a latte… he’s the best 😉
He explained that:
Additionally, 60% of women keep their Diastasis Recti at 6 months postpartum. – Healthline.com
Great! So you’re tellin me I’m NOT special!
DAN: I’ll take over the story here for a minute. Firstly, you are special! Your Diastasis Recti proved it. It’s supposed to happen and quite necessary for child birth.
When a woman is pregnant, your body goes through unique changes to accommodate the extra little life growing inside you.
One of those changes is that your connective tissue gets more relaxed to allow the uterus and pelvic joints to expand. The same process causes the Linea Alba in the center of your abs to stretch out and make room.
Nature is pretty smart.
The nice part is that these changes are also 100% reversible!
NICOLE: I didn’t believe it at first.
DAN: … and it took some work and patience on your part. But you did it!
NICOLE: My dear husband walked me through a series of exercises, things I never would have thought of on my own. In the beginning I thought he was going to have me doing sit-ups until I spit-up!
NICOLE: … but he quickly explained to me that is the wrong way to approach this problem and sit ups can actually do more harm.
DAN: That’s right. You absolutely(!) want to avoid doing traditional ‘ab’ exercises and focus instead on the INNER UNIT of your core. – whattoexpect.com
That means working your pelvic floor, your diaphragm, and your Transverse Abdominus muscles.
This way you accomplish 3 things:
- You increase tension in the Linea Alba and ‘close the gap’ between your abdominals.
- You increase deep abdominal tone to protect your organs and allow good posture.
- You retrain the pelvic floor and diaphragm to work together with a functional Transverse Abdominus to maintain the right amount of pressure… and stop peeing your pants!
NICOLE: That was pretty important to me. Plus I was breathing better, my back stopped hurting, and I felt like I could finally stand up straight without my belly bulging out.
DAN: One of the best parts was that you got your confidence back! A lot of professionals in my field will focus on the functional aspect of fixing Diastasis Recti, but it’s ridiculous to think there isn’t an aspect of vanity involved, and rightly so. Everyone wants to look and feel good.
NICOLE: I was pretty proud of myself, and honestly I wasn’t even worried when we had our 2nd kiddo.
DAN: You got a jump start on the process and started to ‘prehab’. Which was great, there is a lot of evidence showing that training the Inner Unit Core muscles before pregnancy can reduce overall symptoms and the recovery time (although it does not decrease the occurrence of Diastasis Recti, remember that it HAS to happen. – Effect of a Postpartum Training Program on the Prevalence of Diastasis Recti Abdominis in Postpartum Primiparous Women: A Randomized Controlled Trial. Phys Ther. 2018 Apr; 98(4): 260–268.)
NICOLE: Here is where I get to brag about you a bit… my guy has his Doctorate Degree and he’s got the smarts to back up that title. He did a great job walking me through the process and showing me how to take back control of my body. It wasn’t easy the first time but Dan is great at explaining the process and helping me to understand why I was doing the things he was suggesting.
He then helped his sister when she had her first boy. And my best friend when she was pregnant. Our new neighbor was 7 months postpartum when they moved next door and Dan was even successful in helping her to ‘close the gap’ and fix her Diastasis Recti.
I encouraged him to bottle up his magic… and here we are.
Dan has a patented (and proven) system called the RECTI-FY Protocol to fix Diastasis Recti. He’s always updating it when he learns new things and together we have helped lots of new mommies over the years.
DAN: Plus I show you how to apply Kinesiotaping to speed up the recovery process, tell you why you should AVOID BRACES AND BINDERS(!), and give you tips on how to improve your posture and breathing. Basically I give you a specialized physical therapy plan and remote access to me (via ZOOM) so you can be in control and fix your body without having to leave your house.
NICOLE: Take it from me, if you want to take back control of your body, reduce your pain, look better, and stop peeing yourself, head over to Dan’s website:
You can access the first Chapter for FREE and decide for yourself if you want to be one of his successful students.
I just read a great article on Diastasis Recti by Rehab Revolution!Tweet