Mommy Vs. The Mommy Pouch (or Diastasis Recti)

I used to have a pretty fit tummy. A tummy I was proud to bare because I worked so hard for it…jogging 4-5 days a week with 3-4 days a week of core work. I never had a six pack but I had a little waist and a firm tummy so I could pull on a bikini and feel good about it. Two little girls later I am now “blessed” with the mommy pouch. The little round kangaroo pouch on your belly that just has no interest in leaving even thought the baby was evicted 9 months ago. If you are a momma you probably know exactly what I am talking about!

Well I am going on a beach vacation late September to the beautiful oceanfront Topsail Island, NC and I am declaring war on this deviant pouch. I gained 45 pounds during pregnancy with my first daughter, Lelia and then lost all but 10 of those pounds before I got pregnant again with my second daughter Aerilyn. I was much better the second time around with watching my calories and trying to stay active to keep the weight gain to a minimum since I had already started off 10 pounds heavier and was successful, only gaining about 35 pounds this time around with my peak weight being 190lb at delivery.

Armed with my fitbit and using (to count calories) I have spent the past 9 months dedicated to getting enough steps in every day to burn more calories than I was taking in. This got me almost back down to pre baby 1 & 2 weight – now weighing in around 147. (I was 145lb when I first became pregnant with my first). Despite all this weight loss I still have this little pouch so I am determined to be rid of it. I figured I could do some planks and sit ups and crunches and be rid of it but unfortunately it just isn’t that easy. The culprit? Diastasis Recti.

Never heard of it? Me either until I was pregnant with my second. Apparently it is part of the reason why you show much more quickly the second time around. Basically it is a separation of the ab muscles right down the center of the core area where the muscles have become disconnected and the only thing that stands between them is a really thin (think saran wrap!) layer of connective tissue. If you find that you have diastasis recti (There’ s a test for it that involves lying on the ground and lifting your shoulders just enough to feel for a separation near your belly button.) all of your typical ab work can actually cause more harm than good because it can cause the muscles to separate further. I didn’t realize this until recently and had been doing planks and -trying- unsuccessfully to do sit ups and crunches. I was thinking heyyy just give it time and your lame ass will be able to do a sit up again. 9 months later and still unsuccessful I knew something was up.

Did some research and I seem to have a 3/4″ to 1″ separation going on at the moment which honestly isn’t too bad considering I have heard some women can be separated 4 inches or more but it has severely weakened my core and I think it is contributing to the lower back pain that has come on since having Aerilyn. Researching I found a handful of exercises that can be done instead of the usual ab stuff you hear about to rejoin the muscles and rebuild the core so that regular ab work will be possible again. The exercises are referred to as the “Tupler Technique” and are basically really basic exercises where you pull in your ab muscles and either release or pulse while sitting, standing or lying down. You are supposed to do them I think 2-3 times a day for a minimum of 3 weeks to see improvement. I found a pretty helpful graphic explaining the exercises and Tupler Technique on the site and will share it below for any of you also dealing with a mommy pouch and may have ab separation.

So far I have only found time and remembered to do the exercises about once a day for the past few days but hopefully  if I  remain persistent I can work on getting those old abs back so I can feel good both in AND out of my clothes again. Keeping my fingers crossed!

Tupler Technique for healing ab separation after pregnancy (diastastis recti)

Are any of you momma’s dealing with the dreaded mommy pouch or have you in the past? Did traditional ab work help solve the problem for you? Have you tried the Tupler technique with any success? Would love to hear from you guys!