I was trying to think of something to write about today… I was a bit lost. I thought, Oh I could write a blurb about how the idea of a brand new, squishy newb is worming it’s way into my heart… I’m actually looking forward to it. Or that recently I had that thought of, Oh my goodness!! The baby has to come out of where again!?! I’m sure as I get closer to due time those things will be even more on my mind… Today I took a few belly pictures and realized just how pronounced my diastasis recti is already. I think it’s par for the course with moms who have had a few.
If you don’t know what diastasis recti is, let me educate you for a moment! Diastasis recti is the separation of the abdominal muscles into right and left halves. It’s more common in women who have multiple pregnancies, big babies, or already weak abdominal muscles. I’m not sure I would consider it a ‘complication’ but it can definitely cause discomfort and set the stage for an umbilical hernia after birth. I have an umbilical hernia (a weak spot just above my belly button) and I’ve had big babies… I’m not sure my abdominal muscles were originally weak but I think having such big babies with such a small frame definitely weakened them and by the time I had my fourth baby there wasn’t much left to hold things together anymore.
After my fourth was born I felt like my insides were floating around in there, it was very disconcerting. I’m sure I’d probably felt that sensation in my previous pregnancies but it went away relatively quickly. This time it stuck around and I found myself wanting to tie my belly up with something to keep everything stationary. I didn’t know then about postpartum belly binding. (I wish I had!!) By the time I had my fifth I had done LOTS of research about diastasis recti and come up with a plan. Prior to pregnancy I cut out all forms of exercise than split the abdominal muscles that much more… that included sit ups/crunches (which are coincidentally the MOST recommended exercise postpartum… big NO!) and anything that placed stress there. When I found out I was having another I bought a very cheap and basic abdominal surgical binder. My separation wasn’t quite as bad after her but still pretty pronounced so the binder definitely came in handy. After trying to wear it a few times and finding it rather uncomfortable I decided to cut it in half and piece it together in the way that was most comfortable and beneficial for me. I noticed results almost instantly. I only wore it in 30 minute increments but what I noticed was that it helped show me HOW to hold my abdominal muscles properly and that the sensation of having my core engage lasted well beyond the time that I wore it. I actually had a waist again!
I’ll most likely wear a binder again after this little peanut is born, I definitely see the pluses to them and I think ALL women could benefit from ‘relearning’ how to engage your core muscles effectively. It IS most beneficial immediately following birth up to 3 or 4 mos postpartum but I know I reaped some benefits beyond that time frame. There’s lots of info on the web about postpartum binding and the benefits, even though it’s a relatively new thing in Western societies many other cultures have been doing it forever… I definitely think they are on to something especially considering they have lower incidences of pelvic organ prolapse and other common issues caused by weakened abdominal muscles.
So here’s my belly pics for the week, I’m 27 weeks 4 days here and as you can see from my side profile shot my belly is rather ‘pendulous’, my belly button lower than average and that’s how I can tell I’m still suffering from some of the issues caused by diastasis recti, I’m not too worried just yet. 🙂 Perhaps as a postpartum post I’ll compose something that shows the progression of my postpartum belly and binding.