Updated: Mar 15
Personal Experience: Mending Diastasis Recti with Pilates
Soon after the birth of my first child, I experienced severe Diastasis Recti. It measured 8 fingers wide, 8 fingers long, and I literally could not feel a "back wall" when gently pressing my fingers into the separation. It was a genuine hole in my abdominal wall!! What is medically considered severe Diastasis Recti.
Due to my child landing in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit after birth then eventually coming home with the support of Palliative Care and a long list of complex medical needs, I as Mom didn't have the ability to begin to think about my Diastasis Reci recovery until my child was 18 months old.
Having had a 20 year professional dance career, I knew first hand the benefits of Pilates as a method for developing genuine core strength. I knew if I were to ever dance again professionally, I needed to find a way to heal my abdominal hole.
As a mother of a child with medical complexities, the last thing I needed was to endure abdominal surgery. Particularly after giving birth naturally. There were no promises on how long my baby would live and I didn't want to miss a moment of his shortened life.
Initially I tried a video series of exercises, some of which were inspired by Pilates. The videos were well put together and I learned a few things. However I felt there was still a lot missing. Even as a professional dancer with formal anatomy training, I was unsure if these exercises were going to resolve my Diastasis Recti? As a mom I didn't have time or energy to waste on a "Maybe" solution. I needed help now. Although I had never worked one-on-one with a Trainer before, I knew the personalized attention of a Trainer would address the needs of my body and my goals (hopes really) for the Diastasis Recti not to become a permanent chronic issue in my life.
Pilates: my Life Saving Game-Changer
I sought out the help of a Certified Pilates Trainer with specialized Pilates training in working with Post-Birth Moms. We scheduled a long series of private sessions, each of which resulted in a detailed Home Program. My Diastasis Recti was severe and I knew it would take time and a commitment on my part to complete my Home Program in order for by body to heal.
The Home Program was a collection of exercises my body needed that week. Nothing more, nothing less. It allowed me to focus my attention (what little I had for myself as a Mom) on specific exercises that would rebuild my core, pelvic floor, and heal my Diastasis Recti.
There were days when I was unsure of the progress I was making, if my "hope" of recovery would really ever happen. Each time I met with my Pilates Trainer she encouraged me to trust the process, keep working my Home Program, and sent me home with updates to my Home Program.
The results have been incredible!
* no back pain
* no surgery
* no incontinence
* returning to professionally dancing in less than 1 year
* 2nd pregnancy & birth the following year without Diastasis Recti
Ten years later there continues to be no evidence of the severe Diastasis Recti I once had! The investment I made of time and resources for mending the hole in my abdominal wall was so worth it! There are so many problems I have avoided and so much joy I experience in having the strength and endurance to mother my children with soulful resiliency.
In the years following I have become a Certified Pilates Trainer and invested in additional Post-Birth Pilates training with the same Trainer who helped me personally recover.
Layered into my work as a Certified Pilates trainer is a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Dance, a 20 year professional dance career, extensive somatic movement training, and the real-life experience of motherhood: with both a child with medical complexities and a neuro-typical child.
In my role as a Certified Pilates trainer I am known for helping Moms access the body-mind benefits of Pilates so she can build physical and soulful resilience.
I am passionate about helping Moms experience the same quality of life benefits I have experienced as a result of healing my severe Diastasis Recti through Pilates.
At Elevate Pilates, our Diastasis Recti Recovery Program, draws directly from the wisdom of Joseph Pilates and the work that has been refined in recent decades for Post-Birth Moms, within his Classic approach to Pilates.
To learn more about our Diastasis Recti Recovery Program with a supportive Home Program, check out our Post-Birth Moms page and reach out with your questions.
~ Helping you recover while you mother ~
Diastasis Recti: what to avoid?
Please note, I am not a doctor. All Post-Birth Moms who have given birth recently need provider permission before starting a Pilates program. This article is for purposes of information, not intended to be medical advice. It is my personal recommendation Post-Birth Moms complete a Recovery Program while also in relationship with their primary provider and (ideally) a Chiropractor who is trained to work with the needs of Post-Birth Moms.