How to fix diastasis recti

Having a baby is difficult. But what isn’t talked about enough is the plethora of obstacles a postpartum parent faces in their physical recovery.

The “bounce back” culture leads people to believe that major organs, muscles and body shape will return to their pre-pregnancy state in a few months. But for 60% of postpartum parents with a diagnosis of diastasis recti abdominus (DRA) — a separation of the abdominal muscles during the stressors of pregnancy — it’s not that simple.

When I first heard about the post natal FIT splint from my pelvic floor PT, you can imagine that as a mother of four boys in seven years, I doubted she could get rid of my doggy-mother. But, I had to try it, because I had been diagnosed with a solid case of DRA after seeing a postpartum pelvic floor therapist, Julie Brehm, MPT, BCB-PMD, CLD. She told me that even nearly 80% of pregnancies can result in ARD, and that the expansion of the uterus to 1,000 times its normal size is to blame, along with the pregnancy hormone Relaxin.

What is the postnatal FIT splint?

Made from a flexible material, the FITsplint has two different belts, one above the other, which pull in opposite directions, effectively tightening the stomach muscles. The belt is different from pregnancy belts, which focus on support as the baby grows, or postpartum belts, which provide compression.

Ideally, the FIT brace is best started within 3-6 weeks of giving birth, but it can also be effective for those who don’t start physical therapy until several years after giving birth. It can also be used between pregnancies, for parents planning to have more children.

What I like about the FITsplint

A person wearing the Post-Natal FIT splint and its packaging.

Credit: ReCore Fitness

The FIT postnatal splint offers simple and effective support.

It offers just the right amount of support

I liked the product right away, despite my intense hatred for other perinatal belts I’d tried, as I felt like I had more support with daily tasks, from unloading the lower rack of the dishwasher to picking up a toddler throwing a huge tantrum in a grocery store.

It felt like my physical therapist was there throughout my daily life, supporting my lower abdominal muscles before engaging in anything strenuous.

His method is effective

The Post-Natal FITsplint belt gave me quick results when combined with the necessary exercises recommended by my physical therapist. Brehm always instructs his patients to do PT at the same time they use the belt.

She also discourages trying to self-diagnose ARD, which is measured by the number of centimeters the abdominal muscles have separated. While I initially had a significant abdominal separation of several inches, after using the FIT brace, combined with specific exercises, my separation reduced to less than a centimeter.

It’s easy to use

The brace itself is incredibly easy to understand and simple to fit in a comfortable yet secure setting. It comes in three sizes with a measuring guide that lets you measure your belly in inches or use your pant size.

I found the size chart to be accurate and the size I purchased is comfortable to wear.

What I don’t like about the FIT brace

A close up of the FIT post natal splint.

Credit: ReCore Fitness

The FITsplint adjustable belt is available in three sizes.

It doesn’t always stay in place

Like any pregnancy belt, it’s not as comfortable as wearing nothing, and like a pair of leggings that won’t stay in place, it sometimes needs to be adjusted slightly.

Compared to other pregnancy belts I’ve used, this one is much more secure and requires much less fussing and repositioning. Compared specifically to other DRA belts, this one is more effective because it uses two pieces of fabric pulled in opposite directions rather than a single compression band all around.

Should you try an FIT brace?

Yes. If you’re someone who might need extra support while your abs heal after giving birth, this is an option to discuss with your healthcare provider. Many postpartum parents walk around with untreated DRA, and although it may not seem like a major problem at first, it can reappear in their 50s and 70s, sometimes with other problems such as disorders pelvic floor and back.

Brehm says, “It’s important to take care of mom so she can help take care of others in her life.” For those with DRA, this is a solid place to start.

Get the FIT Postpartum Brace for $49.95

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