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*I am a Mama, not a medical professional and the below is not intended as medical advice.*
Getting rid of the tummy the first time round
Like around 2/3 of all pregnant women I developed a diastasis recti a.k.a ‘Mommy Tummy’. After my first son was born I was left with a 5 finger width gap in the middle of my tummy. What does that mean? Pretty much – I still looked pregnant after the baby was born! Don’t know what a diastasis recti is? Read up here. The advice I was given from the physiotherapist at hospital was – “you look strong, don’t worry about it”. So for months I did just that – nothing.
Which exercises to choose?
Months later when I did a diastasis self-check my gap was at 4 finger widths still – nothing much had changed. After doing a lot of research into different programs I decided to join up to the Mutu system. Here are the reasons I chose Mutu –
There are many proven success stories from following the Mutu system.
It’s one of the least expensive diastasis recti programs around.
Not a lot of expensive equipment is required (only things like a resistance band, ball, etc).
One fee gets you a year membership – with the option of upgrading to Mutu Life (lifetime access). Some other programs that cost a lot more only give you a few months access.
There are video tutorials for each exercise + cheat sheets to remind you what to do.
Online support is available.
The Exercises –
I was actually surprised when I watched the demo videos just how easy the exercises seemed. What I didn’t bargain for though was how hard those easy exercises would be to do with my damaged ‘Mommy tummy’ abdominal muscles. I stuck to the Mutu exercises for about 3 months, working my way through the exercise stages and managed to get the gap to close to 2 finger widths in that time. I’m not the worlds most patient person so by then I was by then fed-up with the results not coming quickly enough, so I switched to a local physiotherapist instead . She gave me much harder exercises and her exercises just kept getting harder and harder. After about 3 months of seeing her my gap was down to under a finger width. And then I gave up. After 6 months I was over it, plus I’d spent a small fortune at the physio. The results just seemed painfully slow and were bought with a lot of hard work.
After my second pregnancy
After the birth of my second son I was left with a 4 finger width gap. Life was even more hectic than ever, so I didn’t do anything about it until my son was around 8 months old. I had a complete stranger walk up to me, pat my belly and ask when I was due. It was the kick in the butt I needed to get into exercising again.
Doing the wrong exercises
My gap was about 3 finger widths at this time. I started out just doing random work out exercises I found on pinterest searches for the first few weeks. When I checked my gap again it was back to over 3 finger widths – I WAS DOING MORE DAMAGE THAN GOOD!
I really can’t stress enough how important it is to work with a proper program that tailors the exercises for where you’re at.
The 2nd time round – Ditching the Mommy tummy fast!
Then I got my band. I used the bamboo belly bandit for my first wrap. I have to say that right from the beginning I had a love/hate relationship with that band. It made me look like I was being squeezed in the middle with fat spilling both up and down – definitely not the most attractive look. Plus it kept rolling up and down whenever I moved. But I decided to wear loose fitting tops and get on with it.
After doing Mutu for 4 days with my belly bandit I watched a video that said I needed to not only check the width of my diastasis, but I needed to check the depth too. So I decided I’d give myself another check. I put my fingers into the gap and I literally couldn’t believe it when the gap was 2 finger widths. 4 DAYS AND THE GAP HAD GONE DOWN BY A FINGER WIDTH! I was hooked! I got some more loose fitting tops and decided me and the belly bandit might just be new best friends.
I moved onto the next phase of exercises and did them for 3 weeks. I could feel the gap was under 2 fingerwidths, but progress was definitely not as dramatic now. Also I was really having a hard time with the belly bandit. It was rolling up and getting out of place all the time now. I suddenly had a lightbulb moment. It occurred to me that the belly bandit just wasn’t staying in place long enough to be actually doing it’s job anymore. So I ditched it.
I really wanted to try the tummy team’s panel splint because I’d read some great things about them, but unfortunately my size was on back order at the time and I didn’t want to wait.
So I ordered a Goege support band instead. This one has flexible boning in it, so it doesn’t roll down and stays in place better. Also it is a lot cheaper than the belly bandit. I didn’t use any band for the next 2 weeks while I waited for my Goege band to come. I kept moving through the exercises phases. I checked my gap at the end of 2 weeks and it had gone to 1 fingerwidth at this point.
I did another 2 weeks of some of the harder exercises with the new band. At the end of this the gap had gone under a finger width. I did another 2 weeks of the same and the gap was still less than a finger width. By this time the Goege wrap was starting to fall apart a little (the boning was starting to poke through in a couple of places). So I gave up on the wraps all together at this point. If I had really thought about it I should have ordered the tummy team panel splint and used the Goege in the meantime while I waited for it.
So it took me 2 months (and a lot less work) to accomplish what it took me 6 months to do the first time round.
The gap is no longer very noticeable and I am just over wearing the wrap all the time. I will continue with the Mutu exercises – no wrap and maybe one day the gap will be all the way closed, either way I’m happy that I got a good and fast result.
I did continue for several months to do the exercises without splinting, but the gap didn’t close any further (it seems to be much harder to close the last bit of the gap). In the end I’ve gone ahead and bought the tummy team splint and used it in conjunction with daily exercises. A lot of women like the 3 panel splint, but I have a long waist and I got the 4 panel one. I absolutely love it. It dosn’t roll around, it’s long enough that it covers my whole mid-section and it doesn’t give me any unsightly bumps. It’s also easily comfortable enough to wear all day. I’ve been wearing it for 2 weeks now and the gap is really tiny now, it’s really near to being completely closed. Looking back I really wish that I had got the tummy team splint in the 1st place, but that’s life!
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