Yes, you did read that correctly…here comes my belly button blog! Are you running away in fear? I don’t blame you if you are, but if you or anyone you know has dealt (or might unknowingly be dealing) with diastasis recti, please stick with me!
If you’re not familiar with the term “diastasis recti”, it has to do with the separation of abdominal muscles that tends to happen primarily during pregnancy as the abdomen makes room for that growing uterus (and baby). 🙂 In many women, it seems that the diastasis doesn’t naturally close itself up, and women find themselves with a bit of a “pooch” (which is stretched out connective tissue with organs bulging forward).
Before I was even half-way through my third pregnancy, a friend commented that she could tell that my belly button had already popped. She asked me if I might have an umbilical hernia, which I had never heard of. At my next o.b. check I mentioned it to my dr, who had me lie on my back and lift up my chin. When my abdomen peaked into a triangular shape, she determined that I did in fact have an umbilical hernia. She said that after baby was born we would watch it for complications and that I’d consult with a surgeon about repairing it.
The consultation happened sometime about a year after Little One was born. The surgeon didn’t think that the hernia looked terribly bad, but he did recommend getting in there to check it out, which was the only way to know for sure. The thought of not being able to lift my kids and help out fully around the home deterred me from going ahead with the procedure.
With time, my belly button didn’t pop out so far that I felt the discomfort as often, but periodically it would bother me and I’d be forced to try to push it back in. Ew and ouch.
I love to work out and can’t remember a time (with the exception of my first year of teaching) that more than a couple days went by without me getting in a decent bit of exercise. I was determined to get my abs back in shape through my own efforts.
Unfortunately, no matter what I did or how devoted I was to working those abs, my mid-section only got worse. I learned of a registered nurse named Julie Tupler and her program to repair diastasis recti entitled, “Lose Your Mummy Tummy”. I checked out her book a couple times from the library but didn’t have all of the materials I needed to fully do the program. There was a lot of info that I couldn’t retain and just wasn’t getting it done on my own. Yet, the more I learned, the more convinced I was that my diastasis was only going to get worse through my “traditional” ab workout methods, and I wasn’t in the mood to let my midsection get more out of control than it already was. Some dietary changes needed to happen to help support my endocrine system (my thyroid disease seems to be flaring up and factoring in to the picture), but the connective tissue over my belly button was stretched pretty thin and needed to heal up while the muscles closed back up.
My husband, Kevin, decided that The Mummy Tummy program was going to be my Christmas present. He ordered one of the splints (which help approximate the gap between the muscles by pulling them together so that the connective tissue can heal), the DVD, and a handy reference pamphlet.
If you’d like to hear about my experiences with Julie Tupler’s “Mummy Tummy” program, stick with me, please!