Julie is a Registered Nurse, certified childbirth educator and fitness instructor. She developed the Maternal Fitness Program in 1990 and has been working with pregnant women and new moms ever since. She is on the advisory board of Fit Pregnancy and the Women’s Sports Foundation. She is the author of two books, Maternal Fitness and Lose Your Mummy Tummy. She is the producer of the Maternal Fitness and Lose Your Mummy Tummy DVD Lose Your Mummy Tummy DVD s and has developed the Diastasis Rehab ™ splint . She speaks frequently at conferences throughout the U.S on the Tupler Technique for Treating Diastasis Recti. Her program is the only research based program on exercise and diastasis recti.
1. What is Diastasis?
The word diastasis means separation. A diastasis recti is the condition where the outer most abdominal muscles (rectus abdominis) separate. When they separate the connective tissue joining them stretches sideways. The function of these outermost muscles is to support the back and the organs. When they separate it weakens the support system for the back causing back problems and the organs causing the “mummy tummy.” The mummy tummy is actually your organs being supported by a thin piece of saran wrap-like connective tissue instead of the muscles.
2. Can a woman have diastasis and not realize it?
Yes, many women have a diastasis and do not know it. Since a diastasis is not common knowledge they usually do not know unless diasgnosed by their doctor or midwife. What makes a diastasis more noticeable…..like looking 5 months pregnant…is when the connective tissue is very weak.
3. Why do exercises like crunches or the pilates hundred exacerbate the condition?
When talking about working the “core” we are talking about working the inner most abdominal muscle…the transverse muscle. Working the core correctly means being able to bring your belly button to your spine and hold it there. If you cannot do that then the muscles are going forward forcefully making a diastasis larger. It is physically impossible to hold the belly button at the spine in a backling position with the shoulders off the floor. That is why crunches and the pilates 100 make the diastasis larger.
4. Why do doctors not diagnose this condition at your postpartum visit?
Sometimes doctors or midwives will diagnose this condition if asked by their client.
5. If you do not close your diastasis what affect can it have on your body?
If you do not close a diastasis, you are at risk for what is called a ventral hernia if you have any abdominal trauma and the connective tissue is torn away from the muscle. Also, back problems are much more prevalent as when the muscles are separated it weakens the support system for the back.
6. How does the Tupler Technique differ from other diastasis programs?
It is a 4 step program
1. Three Tupler Technique exercises
2. Wearing and holding a splint to pull the two halves of the muscles together
3. Engaging the transverse muscle on the work of all activities of daily living as well as while exercising.
4. Getting up and down correctly from a backlying position
This program is the only program that has research to support that it makes the diastasis smaller. It also is the only program that heals the connective tissue.
7. Can a woman who had a baby 20 years ago use your technique to close her diastasis?
Yes, a diastasis can me closed no matter when or how it was created by doing the Tuper Technique program.
8. Can a pregnant woman close her diastasis while pregnant?
Yes, Many women doing the Tupler Technique during their pregnancy if they started early in their pregnancy were able to close it.
9. Has the medical community been receptive to learning about the Tupler Technique?
Yes, the medical community has been very receptive to learning about the Tupler Technqiue.
10. Why not just get a tummy tuck?
A Tummy tuck is major surgery. To repair a diastasis the doctor can do this one of three ways. They can sew the connective tissue, sew the muscles or put a piece of mesh in to support the connective tissue. All three surgeries involve stitching. And stitching can be undo by doing improper abdominal exercises. So if a woman chooses to have this surgery it is important for her to do the Tupler Technique BEFORE the surgery so she can maintain the integrity of the stitching after the surgery when the muscles are numb.