Physical Therapy Gave Me Back My Core

Seeking help for diastasis recti made me feel more in control of my body.
Stephanie DeAngelis

Months after delivering my third child, August, I noticed that my midsection still felt physically weak. I remember my older son, Kingston, plopped down on my stomach while we were playing, and my abdominal muscles didn’t resist at all. The breath went right out of me, and my belly felt like a limp pillow. I admit I was self-conscious about it. I’m petite, and my clothes never looked or felt right with a still-big stomach. Plus, my back ached all the time. I knew something wasn’t right.

I Googled and found out about a condition called diastasis recti. It occurs when the pressure from your growing uterus pushes your ab muscles apart an abnormal distance. This split can cause a bulge and make it hard for your core to work properly. My doctor referred me to a physical therapist. In a six-week course, he showed me exercises that got my abs working well again. I worked with resistance bands and did stretches, and diligently did my homework, like clenching my abs while walking around the house. August is now 1, and I still practice. (Okay, when I remember.)

After physical therapy, my backaches disappeared because I finally had enough core strength to hold my 32 DDD chest up. My stomach doesn’t look as pouchy either, and I can lift my baby without losing my breath.

I tell other mom friends who have similar symptoms not to accept hearing, “Oh, you just have a mommy tummy.” Seeking help made me feel more in control of my body. After having three C-sections, my body is not the same as before I had kids. Hey, I can live with that! But I want to make sure that I’m as healthy and strong as possible. That’s what my kids need me to be.

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