How far along? 30 Weeks
Baby Size: Zucchini.
Weight gain: 25lbs
Maternity clothes? Looking forward to dress weather. For now, enjoying my frumpy maternity jeans (all of my cute maternity jeans ride down a ton).
Belly Button in or out? Out
Best moment this week: How active baby boy has been and Pat being able to feel all the strong tumbles and jabs.
Miss Anything? Feeling like I actually sleep at night. I toss and turn so much that I feel like I never actually sleep. Pat assures me that I am most definitely going into some deep sleeps though.
Movement: He has been quite rowdy this week with lots of strong jabs coming out of my stomach. His strength over the next 10 weeks should be fun to feel…
Food cravings: Nothing really this week. Mostly just trying to eat every few hours and get in quality protein and vegetables so I’m not getting overly hungry.
Gender: Boy #2!
Looking forward to: We have another ultrasound next week since baby is measuring so big. I’m looking forward to seeing him one more time before the big day!
What’s The Big Deal With Diastasis Recti?
Hopefully, if you are pregnant or have had children, you have heard of diastasis recti. If you have not, here’s the scoop: simply put, diastasis recti is a separation between your right and left rectus abdominis (your abdominal wall) that is more than 2.5 finger widths apart. Roughly one-third of pregnant women have diastasis recti. Some degree of abdominal separation in pregnancy is normal as your uterus grows to accommodate baby.
When you get to that larger gap, referred to as diastasis recti (DR), the uterus, bowels, and other organs no longer have the abdominal wall to hold them in. Instead, there is only a band of connective tissue. This condition can cause lower back pain, pelvic dysfunction (including, but not limited to leaking urine), constipation, and in extreme conditions hernia can occur. DR can often look like a “mommy pooch”. You can work to strengthen the area, thereby decreasing the gap. It’s also important to know the risk factors (beyond pregnancy) that can cause this condition.
Other reasons your abdominal separation from pregnancy may worsen to DR are: having more than one child – especially close in age, carrying a large baby, carrying multiples, and being pregnant over 35 are some risk factors. There are also exercises that can worsen the gap during pregnancy and after baby is born. These include:
- frontal planks and their variations
- full burpees
- crunches and their variations
- full push-ups
- Russian twists
- Any exercise that causes your belly to “cone” or puts pressure on the midline (including leg lifts and v-ups)
- Lifting weights that cause you to push your belly out
Though this feels like a lot of limitations, there are still plenty of exercises you CAN do during pregnancy to keep your midline safe and continue to strengthen your core for birth and after birth. These include:
- Elevated planks and their low impact variations (on a counter or wall) until you see coning. If you have any coning in an elevated position, eliminate this exercise from your routine for now.
- Elevated push-ups (on a counter or wall). If you see coning eliminate these as well until your core is stronger.
- Side planks and their variations (avoid twisting variations, such as thread through).
- Seated heel slides (can also be done laying down, postpartum).
- Standing pelvic tilts (can also be done laying down, postpartum).
- Heel drops (postpartum).
- Squat to overhead twist.
Now that you know some basics when it comes to exercises one should avoid in pregnancy and exercises one can perform to help strengthen the transverse abdominis, how do you test for DR? Simply lay on your back with your legs bent so your feet are flat and near your bottom. Tilt your head to look at your pelvis. Place your fingers on the center line running from your belly button. Point your fingers down toward your pelvis as you place them on your midline. This means your fingers will be vertical. Put your fingers next to each other in the midline gap. If you have more than 2 fingers width of gap, this is considered DR.
Try not to panic if you do have DR. You can work with your muscles to decrease the gap and restore proper function. Instead, take the proper precautions during your pregnancy to avoid increasing the gap. Allow your body time to heal postpartum, and slowly incorporate some of the approved exercises above to help activate your transverse abdominis.
Here are some exercises I did after having my son and it helped immensely:
Other great resources on DR: