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.
Truth be told, vanity aside, women want their stomachs back. They hitting the gyms, buying DVDs and ab machines in hopes of flattening out their postpartum mid-sections. The problem is is that millions of women have a diastasis and are going undiagnosed. I know this problem intimately and well.
What is diastasis? It is a separation in your abdominal wall. You can find out if you have it by laying on your back with your feet flat on the floor. Take 3 fingers (fore, middle and ring) and place them 3 inches above your belly button, pointing your fingers downwards, towards your legs. Relax. Press your fingers about an inch into your belly, then slowly lift your head. You will feel the sides of your abdominals close in around your fingers. If you can feel this, you have a diastasis.
I just got back from a Diastasis training course in NYC taught by Julie Tupler, RN. She is the Mummy Tummy guru and a vendor of my online store http://www.bellybuttonboutique.com. I sell her Diastasis Rehab products on my website and they continue to be best sellers. When I met Julie last year I had given up on my body and just decided that I was going to have a tummy tuck or abdominalplasty. She explained to me what diastasis was and talked about her program. That night I researched Julie and her products. I found that Julie was Elle MacPherson’s prenatal fitness trainer and figured, if her guidance is good enough for a supermodel that I surely could trust her with my body. But like most things that involve discipline and exercise, I didn’t do anything with the information. I sit on it for almost a year before I decided to give it a try…all I can say is that it works. I am in the midst of repairing my diastasis, but I can tell you that it is really working.
I hope to post before and after pictures and measurements as I go through this program on my site. I want to stop looking 3 months pregnant…especially since I gave birth 18 months ago.
I started my online store because I didn’t want women to suffer through pregnancy as I did. Reading the typical books and spending the 8-9 minutes in during my OB/GYN appointments didn’t totally prepare me for what I was going through. So, to narrow it down, here are 5 things that I wish I knew prior to having a baby that I learned afterwards.
1. Noppies – You can wear these pants from the minute that you find out that you are comfortable until after the baby is delivered. The price tag is a little scary, but considering that you will live in these pants, I would suggest getting 2 pairs.
2. Pillows – I tried to be cheap and buy a regular body pillow. It wasn’t the same. I invested in a wedge pillow for the 1st and 3rd trimester and a body pillow for when I really needed comfort. I also bought a lumbar pillow for work. Now there are pillows for resting on your belly! I am a stomach sleeper and would have LOVED this!
3. Spider Veins – With the added weight and pressure there is a chance that you will develop spider veins. Luckily compression hosiery is available and they don’t look like grandma tights! Now-a-days compression hosiery look just like trouser socks and sheer stockings. They do not snag as easily and they hold up better.
4. Diastasis – WHO KNEW that your ab muscles stretch open in order to make room for the baby. And sometimes they don’t return back to where they started. This is why women sometimes still look pregnant when the baby is 4 years old. Good news is that this can be repaired with abdominal splinting and exercises.
5. Breastfeeding HURTS – yes, it hurts. I thought that it was going to be the most automatic and natural thing for a new mother to do. IT IS NOT. Breastfeeding is hard and frustrating. Your chest area will become sore and its not fun. Its one of those things that you have to decided whether or not you are going to go through with it. If you decide to do it, you push through the pain and eventually it gets better. Eventually it becomes second nature and is really easy. For moms who have trouble getting out of be (like me), its wonderful – no bottles to warm up at 4 AM. But if you can’t push through the pain, believe me, I understand. Now there are products designed to help you through this time period. My personal favorite is the Shower Hug. Its great for stopping leakage at night, protection your chest in the shower and for abdominal support right after the baby is born.
You can find many of these products plus other items to help you through your pregnancy and postpartum period at http://www.bellybuttonboutique.com