Diastasis Recti—The Book!
Katy Dishes on her Most Anticipated Book Yet
Katy Bowman’s 6th book is out—and looks like it might be the biggest yet. Why? Because so many people deal with diastasis recti but have little success with traditional methods. Katy talks about why her book: Diastasis Recti-The Whole-Body Solution To Abdominal Weakness And Separation is going to make a difference.
KATY: It’s the Katy Says podcast, where movement geek, Dani Hemmat, joins me, Katy Bowman, biomechanist and author of Move Your DNA, for discussions on body mechanics, movement nutrition, natural movement, and how movement can be the solution to modern ailments we all experience. This week, I walked to the post office, Dani, as you know, which is the one place that I resolve never to drive. I walk no matter the weather or how heavy the load is that I have to carry. And I received a little envelope from – I think you must have shipped it from Amazon, and I didn’t know it was from you until I opened it, and it says – well, first of all, it’s a little tiny box called “Frownies.” Facial patches for wrinkles on the forehead and between the eyes. So it’s essentially like – it’s almost like, I haven’t even opened it yet.
KATY: Well, I know, it’s because I wanted to talk to you about it first.
KATY: I feel like those nose things – those stickers that you put on your nose to pull the nostrils apart? What are those called? So you don’t snore, so you can breathe?
DANI: Oh, uh, Breathe Right strips.
KATY: Yes. I feel like it’s the wrinkle solution where I’m going to tack it down to my skin by wetting it and the tension in the strip is going to tug on my skin all night long, right? Is that right?
DANI: Yeah. Well, sort of.
DANI: You haven’t opened it yet.
KATY: I haven’t opened it, but the best thing – the best thing – is the card, which says, “a gift from Danielle Hemmat. Betty, I told you about these little wonders when we were in Vegas,” which – I thought what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas. I’m just going to say that. I don’t even remember it. I don’t even remember this conversation, but we were up until like 3:00 in the morning, I think, talking. “Skype me if you need installation tip. This is one cast that brings about useful results.” I just thought that was very funny, circling back to the casts. So Frownies, huh? You swear by them? You love them?
DANI: I swear by them, because things like, you know – for me, personally – Botox and all that stuff scares me, but I tend to have a frowny face when I think, and when I sleep, apparently, and it has created this lovely crease, which is how we got on that discussion, because you were talking about that, too.
DANI: So I’ve used these for years, which is why I look like I’m 23 – no, I’m just kidding. But it does help, because it keeps you from doing that frowny face when you’re sleeping and you can wear them during the day. So if you’re doing a lot of computer work, and you’re thinking, and you’re making that Resting Not-Nice-Face that some of us make when we think, it’ll keep you – keep those muscles from furrowing together. That’s all it does is it kind of, you put it on when you have a light expression and there you go. And it’s like Kraft paper. But they’re from like the 1940s. Movie stars have been using them for years before Botox.
KATY: That’s what it says on the box – so yeah, totally. I’m actually going to put them on my face and wear them around town. Just, I figure, like –
DANI: You can’t, because then you’ll look like Worf from Star Trek, though that’s really cool, too. That’s what my husband calls me whenever I wear them to bed. He’s like, oh, great, Worf.
KATY: Frownies, everybody.
KATY: Frownies. And do you – is it Frownies.com or do you have to buy them from Amazon?
DANI: I think Frownies.com has them, too.
KATY: All right.
DANI: And they really have not – there’s like, they haven’t changed their formula in forever, and how I got hooked on them was because when I was in my 20s and started to notice that weird furrow between my brows, I read an article about Renee Russo, you know, she’s an actress, and she’s so beautiful.
KATY: She’s a hot actress.
DANI: Oh my gosh, she’s so gorgeous, and she said, I can’t abide Botox, but I swear by these, and so I was like, well, yup, I’m getting them.
DANI: There you go.
KATY: I love it.
DANI: It’s a cast that’s – that does it’s job the way you want it to.
KATY: That’s right, well, a lot of casts – there are a lot of casts that we use, like braces and casting to shape us, so I will go slap some on and do an Instagram pic.
DANI: I dare you. I totally dare you.
KATY: Oh, come on. You don’t think I will. I’ll totally do it. Stand by.
DANI: All right.
DANI: All right.
KATY: So that’s the end of the show, that was on Frownies, everybody.
DANI: Thanks for listening, everybody! Frownies.com. No, well, I was wondering something about you, and I’m glad you got those, because now I won’t wonder about those any more. But have you ever thought about writing a book? Specifically a book about Diastasis Recti? Totally j/k. J/K!
KATY: J/K. J/K. Yeah.
DANI: You wrote one.
KATY: I have.
DANI: You’re in the thick of it.
KATY: But I didn’t think about writing it. I just wrote it. It’s like driving, it’s kind of like, you know, when you zone out and you’re like, whoa, have I been driving for the last 37 minutes? Writing it was kind of like that, I was just on auto-pilot of in that last year’s book mania where I was just writing books unconsciously. So yes, I have. Thanks for asking!
DANI: Wow, you’re prolific, man. That’s crazy. I wish I could do that. Well, it’s almost ready for us to read, I guess, I’m assuming, so let’s talk about it.
KATY: Yeah. You want me to talk about the book or you want me to talk about diastasis recti, or both?
DANI: I think both.
DANI: Because way back when, we did Episode 11, and that was a show about diastasis recti, which we affectionately coined “DR.” And it’s sort of a funky name for a funky situation, so it might be good to kind of go there again, but instead of spending all the time talking about what it is, because we’ve already kind of covered that, let’s talk about some additional questions that you keep getting, because you probably get them all the time.
KATY: I do. It is – I mean, certainly for the group of people, I think, who are attracted to the work we do, that seems to be an issue that a lot of people have. Did you get a galley? I emailed you an e-galley. An e-galley, for those of you who don’t know, is an almost complete version of the book – it’s a publishing term for – a lot of time book reviewers or those early reviews people get galleys. But it’s not, there’s errors and it still hasn’t been to that final phase of editing, but – did you skim through it yet?
DANI: I just got it, and I did skim through it and I’ve kind of been chomping at the bit for this thing for a long time. To be fair, like I said, I just got it, but some things – I just don’t think there’s ever, I know there’s never been such a comprehensive book written about DR as this.
KATY: Yeah, well, it was interesting, you know, you search when you’re coming up with a title for a book you usually search on Amazon, because almost every book in existence is on Amazon – one, you know, that has a proper, like an ISBN or is registered in the catalogue. And even people now because self-publishing is so extensive, even if you’ve written an e-book or whatever and put it on Amazon, it pulls up all the titles, and there were no books about diastasis recti, which blew my mind. And – or I should say, there were no books titled with diastasis recti. There’s books about “mummy tummy,” which is not a book about diastasis recti –
DANI: Which is an awesome book to buy if you’re a 46-year-old man.
KATY: Well, that’s right – I mean, okay.
DANI: Nothing more fun.
KATY: Kids have it; men have it, and what about nulliparous women, women who haven’t had any babies.
DANI: Whoa, whoa, whoa – what was that word?
KATY: Nulliparous? N-u-l-l-i-p-a-r-oh, shoot. P-a-r-o-u-s, I think? Nulliparous.
DANI: Okay, that is the coolest word today. Nulliparous. Thank you.
KATY: Nulliparous. So women, like, that title, the Mummy Tummy, is kind of – you know, it’s about, oh, you don’t like the way that your stomach looks and that’s because of being a mother, not because of a set of forces that create this condition.
KATY: So anyway, there was no book about diastasis recti, and there was no book – I mean, about what it is and what makes it. There’s lots of, you know, core strengthening programs or whatever, and – but yeah, it’s kind of crazy to see, like, really? No one’s actually just put Diastasis Recti? So the book is actually called, Diastasis Recti and then it has a subtitle, but: exciting!
DANI: It is exciting. And if you could, like I said – this is seriously comprehensive. But if you could boil it down into a few bullet points, the book’s approach to DR, could you do that?
KATY: Challenge accepted.
DANI: Just give me three. Give me three.
KATY: Well, I think the book is presenting 1) diastasis recti, or DR, we’ll say DR from now on just to cut down on time – is a symptom, even though it feels like the problem, right? It’s a symptom of a whole body – and then as the book goes on to explain – really, a whole life-long lifestyle issue, which is overwhelming, so we didn’t put that in the subtitle. It’s like, “your life is messing with your abs.”
DANI: You have to change everything.
KATY: That’s right. No, it’s not like that. Although it kind of concludes with that. But anyway. Before repairing your diastasis recti, you need to know – or understand – what you are doing, what you are creating in terms of forces (the book is about forces.) What set of forces are you creating all the time that’s constantly creating your diastasis recti, despite you doing the corrective exercises. So you could be doing both; you could be creating through this set of forces that you are creating, your diastasis recti, and then also doing the corrective exercises to put it back, and then going back and re-creating it, which is a loop that most people are in because they’re approaching it like it’s the problem and not the symptom. And that’s 2 points. The 3rd point would be, you really do have to think bigger than corrective exercises, because corrective exercises: they’re a step in the right direction. They’re many steps in the right direction, but because you are how you move, you have to change how you move, not only how you exercise.
KATY: And also bad jokes, puns. Riddled.
KATY: Riddled with terrible jokes.
DANI: That’s four points, but I’m going to let you go because you said puns, and I love me some puns.
KATY: I know you do.
DANI: I like that it’s going to have forces so actually when I was skimming through that it was one of the notes that I jotted down was, finally, a book that talks about the forces.
KATY: The book is mostly about forces.
DANI: That’s – I mean, I myself have had a few books that approached this issue and then never one thing about that. So thank you for that.
KATY: Well, anatomy’s mostly about parts, right? So if you’re just going to do a book, it’s just about parts and here’s some exercises for these parts. And then that next level is okay, but there are invisible parts called forces, and that’s really what makes the diastasis – like, you don’t have a failure of a part. You have a set of forces that have ruined the tissue, so you have to change your forces if you want to move things around. So, thank you. I think it’s a layman’s book but it is – you’re going to learn. It’s like the science textbook applied to your core that you’ve always wanted. Or never wanted, maybe. I don’t know.
DANI: I saw who wrote the foreword.
KATY: I know, right?!
DANI: How’d you score that?
KATY: Let’s not even say who it is; let’s just keep talking about it.
DANI: No. No. I had to just bow my head down a little bit.
KATY: Was it exciting?
DANI: I was in front of the sphinx – yeah, it was cool. Well done.
KATY: Thank you. Well, this mysterious person, who we’re just never – I’m just going to leave off the name of the foreword on the book.
DANI: We’re just going to call her Hoobidy Doobidy.
KATY: When Hoobidy Doobidy wrote – she’s, I know she’s kind of a fan of other things that I have written and she’s emailed me about it, and “I like this” and “this is really great,” and then she happened to have a daughter who was going through pregnancy, she also happens to be an OB-GYN, so then she was – I had just asked her, I think she’s – she’s all about, as you can read from the foreword, being empowered, and she doesn’t always feel like the medical system as a whole empowers you, really? It’s just like, sorry you have that! There’s nothing. I’m sorry you have that, the option is surgery – and she’s – you just feel dis-empowered is probably the best word. You feel like, you know, you’re a victim to this situation, that this was beyond your control, a result of your genetics, or the fact that women have to have babies and therefore have diastasis recti. It’s continuously framed as a side effect of pregnancy, and then it’s like, sorry, the tradeoff is a functioning body or babies. That you have to make that trade-off, and so I asked her, and she emailed back, she’s like, “of course I’ll write the foreword for this book!” and she’s such a gem, she’s like, I’m in London right now, send it over.
KATY: She’s lovely. I really adore her.
DANI: I’m sure you were geeking out.
KATY: I was, you know, and she’s been – I sent her Whole Body Barefoot and she’s like, look at my new minimal shoes on Instagram! And everyone go – she’s very fun.
DANI: Wow. Awesome. What question do you get most often about DR?
KATY: Oh, hands down: is it correctable? That’s probably the #1, like, can I really fix this? And then second, or I guess the first runner up, the runner up being “can I fix this while I’m pregnant?”
KATY: So that – those – it’s kind of the same question, but it’s really, like, you know, if you realize that you have it and it has associated issues and problems with it, now that you’re pregnant, it’s like, do I have to wait 7 more months or 3 more months to fix it? And so, that was in my top 2 questions.
DANI: I bet you’ll be happy just to kind of have that out there. It answers for you, now.
KATY: Well, it’s nice to have a place to refer people. I think that people ask questions because they want to know; they’re not like, and I don’t want to read the book about it, just tell me. I think they are just like, tell me where I can find this information, so it’ll be nice to say – like, I can’t sit down and have a 14 or 18 hour conversation with you. But you can read the book, which is the same thing as having this long conversation, and then you can come back and ask questions, because we’re much more on the same page. So that’s helpful.
DANI: And I think this book is going to be a tremendous companion for people dealing with this. So good grief, the exercises alone, they are so many. I just keep kind of scrolling through the galley going, whaaaaat?
KATY: And the pictures, I think, are super helpful.
DANI: Very. Illustrations are great, too.
KATY: Thank you.
DANI: Did you just draw those?
KATY: No, those are Jillian’s. Shout out to Jillian.
DANI: Shout out. Those are fantastic.
KATY: Yeah, I think it’s helpful, and what I’ve always done in books before is a picture or instructions of the exercise, and then add kind of like, and here’s how to modify it: X, Y, Z if you can’t do it. What I did with this book was like, I’ve just come to the realization, you know, over the last few years, that almost no one is prepared to do the exercise, that everyone needs the modifications and the bolsters. So I’ve started to teach the exercises with the bolstering first, and then with notes about how to make it more advanced. Which of course, duh, is the better way to teach. But we’re just so used to like, why can’t everyone just do this abdominal exercise? It’s like, well, this is a book for people who already have an issue, so everything is pictured – the bolsters are pictured, the modifications are pictured, because we figure – I’m planning, I designed the program – for everyone to be starting from a place of weakness, not from a place of general fitness. Get your cores together, it’s like you have got to bolster the current version of your body to slowly transition to this stronger version of yourself.
DANI: Yeah. You know, there’s that chapter called “Little Moves,”
DANI: Which is that work that I always called the small work, because it’s not things – it’s not the big things that people think they’re going to get results immediately. But it really is – seems so subtle and so small, but it adds up.
KATY: Well, they’re subtle, but they’re constant, right?
KATY: So it’s like they’re small in terms of visual exchange between the parts and what you see with your eyes, but then there’s again, in terms of forces, which are all invisible, if you can’t see how making a small adjustment with your rib cage changes your pelvic and your intra-abdominal and your thoracic pressures all day long, then you’re going to miss how large of a change that is and why it’s so beneficial.
KATY: And I’ve got people who – I think we – did we talk about the person who couldn’t poop for like, months? And people who are sticking out – these constipation issues? And then they learn the abdominal release, right? Which is a teeny exercise of not doing something. Like, it’s not even doing something; it’s not doing something.
KATY: And then all of a sudden their bowels kick in and all this peristaltic activity is happening simply because you changed your forces with something almost undetectable to the naked eye.
KATY: So there’s small moves, medium moves, and large moves, right? So that’s how the book is organized, and it’s – it’s – I think it might be my favorite book. It’s like kids. It’s like, I think this might be my favorite kid. I don’t know.
DANI: It’s awesome, you keep saying that with every book you put out.
KATY: Well, that’s just how it is with kids, right? Isn’t that how it is with kids?
KATY: It’s like, this is my favorite kid.
KATY: Right now. And then five minutes go by, it’s like, oh my god, I love that kid! It’s like oh, I just love these kids so much.
DANI: That’s a good kid. That’s a good kid.
KATY: It’s my most polished. It’s my most polished kid.
DANI: Excellent. And we’ve been waiting a long time, all of us, because you’ve kind of been talking about this book for some time. What question do you get most frequently about the book?
KATY: That would be – I have this other condition, like, well, I have it really badly, or I also have a pelvic organ prolapse, or I have hypermobility or Ehlers-Danlos; some other collagen disorder. So will I be able to do it? These are people who have already other symptoms of musculo-skeletal weakness or damage who know that they need to move more, but they’re afraid that the way that they move will make their condition worse. And so when this – if you have those things and a diastasis recti, it’s like, I want to work on my diastasis recti but I have these other things, and we’re so used to a book being about a single thing, you know. Like, I’m going to fix my feet. This is the book about feet, but I have this knee problem, so is this foot exercise going to exacerbate my knee problems? But the thing with the way I write my books is like, my books are all about whole body solutions, and so on the cover we even just add it to the cover because we’ve gotten so many, just in sharing the cover, art.
KATY: You know, an overwhelming response of, “I want to do this so badly but I’m afraid of it hurting X or Y,” and we’ve added to the cover – and places within the book, going, yeah, not only can you do it, but it was designed for you.
DANI: Yeah, I noticed that, because you had these side bars on pregnancy and those kind of other issues you just mentioned, and you’re saying not only can you do it but that’s why I designed it was with you in mind.
KATY: Yeah. Like, this would be exactly the same program if you had any of those other things. I would start you with all of these same exercises because again, we’re treating a problem; we’re not treating the symptom. The cover says Diastasis Recti because of marketing and because that’s the audience that I’ve chosen my words for, but we’re really just restoring pressures and strengths. And so no matter what ailment you have, especially one that’s related to the torso of the body, this is your program, too.
DANI: Wow. I’m so excited for people to be able to read this, and I think just understanding about forces – I mean, I know we talked about that in episode 11 when we talked about DR, but this is just, yeah, a little bit more about forces.
KATY: I feel like when you say episode 11, every time you say episode 11 and forces together, I feel like we’re talking about Star Wars and like, the unreleased film. DIASTASIS RECTI: EPISODE 11 (Star Wars theme in background.) May the force be with you, or something like that.
DANI: It’s good to understand The Force, and forces. This is very important, and like I said, that hasn’t been addressed in – for this issue, it has not yet been addressed.
KATY: Well, diastasis recti is all about forces, right? So whatever the blog post was that I wrote years ago – Under Pressure – you know?
KATY: And – and it’s the same with hernias, it’s the same with pelvic floor issues, organ prolapses, where your organs are dropping out of your vagina – or if you’re a man, onto your prostate. The forces that you are creating all day long through static positioning, through movement, through the resting tensions in your muscle, through how much intra-abdominal pressure that you have: all of these forces push and pull parts of your body into places that they’re not necessarily supposed to go. So in this case, it’s about forces and how all these things I just mentioned can be pulling your muscles away from each other. On the rectus abdominus muscles, the right and left side of it, pulling those away and stretching, over-thinning or damaging the midline of the linea alba.
DANI: Okay, and everybody – okay, I’m going Yoda on you. (Talking like Yoda) Listen to Episode 11 you must. (Back to Dani) So that should answer a lot of questions, if you have them.
KATY: I hope so.
DANI: Not my Yoda, but episode 11 on DR, so go back and listen to that. But we also had some questions that we have recently got – you want to give us some quick answers? Just from this morning.
KATY: Yeah, let’s do some quickies.
DANI: Okay, here’s one. Is it ever natural for children to have DR, and if so, between what ages? I seem to recall it’s natural for babies to have it.
KATY: Yeah. There are – I mean, it’s hard to say what’s natural and what’s not natural, because so many things about babies right now and their mechanical environment is unnatural. But it is common for babies to have it, and for kids to have it. As you would develop strength, you know, and there is a natural period of time to develop strength, which is probably way earlier than when most babies develop strength, which is a little bit later. But as you rectify – ironically – your strength deficit, then you would notice that bulge go away, because there’s just – you know, you don’t come with well-developed, strong muscles. And there are other things going in – like, what could be causing intra-abdominal pressure or increases in babies? It’s not going to be intra-abdominal fat, but it could be bloating because of their diet or their mother’s diet, if they’re nursing, isn’t suited for their body. A lot of times the forces can be created by things that you don’t think about, like, why do they have so much gas in their belly? It’s liked, well, what are they eating? They’re eating “good foods” but not foods that line up well with their particular system.
DANI: Yeah, they’re not agreeing with them.
KATY: Yeah, and it’s like, well, my baby drinks breast milk – and it’s like, yeah, but what do you eat, then? Because what you are eating is creating the chemistry of that breast milk, and then the immobilization time, and then we add other things like diapers and so many components. So is it natural? I don’t know. Is it common? Certainly. Does it rectify as children get up and move around? In many and most cases, yes, but then again if you continue with a particular weakness in a particular environmental situation that keeps your forces in a way that they shouldn’t be, then it might not rectify.
KATY: That was my short answer. Sorry about that.
DANI: Nah, that was good. You did well. Okay, here’s another one. This one’s really long, so I’m just going to read you a piece at a time.
DANI: Or do you want the whole thing?
KATY: Do whatever you think is best.
DANI: Mm, okay. If you’re pregnant and already have DR problems from pre-pregnancy – this is her 6th pregnancy – that you didn’t fix beforehand, what can you do? Most OBs and midwives say that you have to avoid all abdominal strengthening during pregnancy, but then that leaves me very little option.
KATY: Okay – stop there. I think that that’s a good – I’m sorry. I told you to do it. I’m such a control freak. All right. I think – so –
DANI: I sent you Frownies, it’s okay.
KATY: So what I’m going to do is I’m going to slap them on, and I’m totally smiling as I say this. As I say in the book, I put the sidebar right in the introduction, so that it’s like, can I start when I’m pregnant? Yes, absolutely. I actually think that the best time to start working on your diastasis recti if you are currently pregnant is while you’re pregnant. And I think that, you know, when your OB or your midwife says that you need to avoid all abdominal strengthening during pregnancy, in their minds they’re thinking crunches and exercises, and things like bending your torso.
KATY: And they’re like, don’t bend your torso, there’s a baby in there! So in their minds, they’re thinking that you’re going to go out – because a lot of people do – that’s their version of “I’ve gotta strengthen my core, so I’m going to do these 8 core exercises that everyone knows and does” and none of those are in this book. Like, I don’t do those – which is different to say that your body is strengthened through movement, so core muscles stabilize every movement – or should be stabilizing all these whole body movements that you would do, and it’s perfectly natural to be moving – and beneficial, and necessary – to be moving and strengthening your core while you are pregnant for a better, facilitated pregnancy and delivery. So, that all being said: start now, but understand that the types of exercises that I am talking about are about just – that aren’t the thing that you necessarily associate with strengthening your core. They’re not things that bend and shove on a baby or invert you or do weird things. And in the sidebar I put, you know, this program – there might be some things you don’t feel comfortable doing because you can’t get on your stomach or you can’t get on your back all the time, so you just leave those out and do all of the other ones that you can do, and then you will be – I’ll just say that, again, this is also in the book. We have this idea that – and in episode 11, I think – we have this idea that to not have a diastasis recti means that the left and right rectus abdominus muscle are sitting side by side, where I define it a little bit more in depth, meaning that there’s a natural distance to them, and that natural distance depends on what state of nature you are in. Pregnancy is a natural state. There is a natural distancing of your rectus abdominus during pregnancy, but that is – if you have diastasis recti, going to be less of a distance than you have right now, meaning that your rectus abdominus – those front kind of 6-pack muscles – they’re going to have to separate a little bit for pregnancy. That is not diastasis recti, when they’re separating the natural amount. It’s when they’re separating beyond the natural amount that it is a diastasis recti. So all we’re trying to do when you’re pregnant is bring them to their natural distance – not side by side over the front of your abdomen. Do you want to read the rest of her question?
DANI: I don’t, because I think that that’s – everything else that she asks you totally answered.
KATY: Yes, because your rectus abdominus muscles should be supporting the weight of your baby. They should be supporting the position of the uterus, and the cervix. So when you don’t have those muscles there, then everyone starts, you know, hoisting their stomach up with wraps –
KATY: And they have pelvic – pubic symphisis and SI joint pain because their weight of their organs essentially tumbling forward in space with nothing holding it but the skin, because the muscles have pushed off to the right and the left. So too far to the right and to the left. So you’re going to learn how to bring them back around. They’re still going to be spacious, but they’re going to be in the place where they could be supporting these organs, and there’s no better time to do it when there’s something in there that needs to be supported.
DANI: Mm-hmm. Yeah. And when I first met you in person, you were pregnant with your second child, and –
DANI: Yeah. And I asked you – it was that pelvic floor workshop, and I asked you, oh, you know, when are you due? And you just said, oh, like 2 months. And I thought you were messing with me, because you didn’t look that – like, you were – like most pregnant women that I was used to seeing. And so I said, you know, I called BS on you, which was weird because we’d just met, but it kind of just laid the groundwork for our friendship.
KATY: And then you’re like, here’s some Frownies!
DANI: Hi, nice to meet you! You’re full of – you’re full of poo and you’re frowny! No, so you showed me, you were like, well, this is how most people stand, and you went all out of alignment and everything. And then you looked like, yes, you were going to be due in two months.
DANI: And I just wanted to point out that I read through the foreword of this book that you wrote, and you’re such a good person, aside from all your knowledge and training in biomechanics and everything, but of your experience that you had after your first child. You’re not just somebody who’s never been through this, telling us how to get through these exercises. Thank you for sharing that, because I didn’t know that.
KATY: Well, that’s funny, because that foreword was buried. So this is the art of a good editor – or the skill. The science of a good editor, you know. That was just buried at the end, in the exercises, and she pulled out my story, like, just for those of you who don’t know, um, I had my first – I had my first child at home, and it was a fine birth, but the attendants – and I say the attendants so that my husband doesn’t feel bad, because it was him. My midwife was – I wasn’t in any stress, there wasn’t anything, but she wanted my first – she told me later, she’s like, I just didn’t want you to have to be dealing with this for a long period of time. And like, I had had four hours. It wasn’t long. So she told my husband to push on my hip as hard as he could. She told my sister on the other side to also push on my hip as hard as she could. And my sister is less than 100 pounds, and my husband was not. And it created just a torque, and during that torque, there was basically a laceration – my own fascia of my piriformis lacerated my artery, and so it was – again – I like to, you know, it was one of those things that had it been – I mean, it was a natural homebirth, right? So there was nothing, it was at home, but there was still someone else’s worry kind of affecting my situation that got other people worried, and then they pushed, and it was enough to – according to the surgeon later on, to just basically create such a tight line of fascia that when it pressed on the artery it cut it.
KATY: So I had my baby fine, but it was after – it was a couple of hours after, basically, it was a hematoma. This was my pudendal artery. There was a hematoma –
KATY: So then it’s down – if you grab your ischial tuberosity, there’s an artery right down in there. So it was down low, right down at my sitting bone is the kind of colloquialism for the ischial tuberosity. And that had filled into interstitial space. It’s like you’ve got a little space that can be pushed around. So that’s sort of filling with blood, and that became a hematoma, and then that burst through – so here I am, I’ve had my baby, I’m fine, but then I start to hurt. And there’s no blood. I had no tearing. So I had zero episiotomy, zero ripping, zero tearing with either one of my kids. So everything was fine, they came out – he came out, I nursed him. But I start to hurt, and I was like, these liars! They said that when I was done having the baby it would stop hurting, and I was just kind of laughing and I was like, ah – god, we could just have a whole show just talking about this. And then from there, that hematoma burst into another area. So it’s kind of like, I imagine, it’s like – I’m such a sci-fi geek, it’s like, it’s when they blow a wall on a space station and they have to seal all the other doors.
KATY: It was like that, only it was starting from the inside. So it would blow through one door and then all the blood would flow out into the two rooms, and then it would blow through another door, and every time it blew through a door, there would be like a pop – I would feel it.
DANI: Ugh, man!
KATY: But it felt better. So the popping alleviated the pressure, so then I would be like, oh, something must have – so what I thought was oh, a body part just adjusted. I was like, this is hurting, guys, this is hurting, it’s actually hurting really bad. So there was this series, and finally after an hour and a half, it burst through my vaginal wall. And then all the blood came out. All the blood that had been spilling out of my arteries into interstitial space finally exited where someone could see blood. And then, they didn’t know anything yet because they didn’t know what was happening until after the fact –
KATY: Then they thought that my uterus was bleeding out. And I had already delivered a full placenta – like, everything was perfect except for this artery that was slowly bleeding out in my body. And I was fully conscious.
DANI: Did you get a ride, then, to the hospital after that? In the egg car?
KATY: I – once that came out, not in the egg car – the midwife was like, it’d be faster if your husband drives you. Because we were very close to a hospital – we wanted to be close to a hospital, just in case – and he got me there, and they had to cut off my brand new nightgown, but the pain was so bad, like I have never actually – it gave me sympathy for people who are actually in pain. Like, I had never been actually in pain at a level 10. You know, you go to the doctor’s and it’s like, are you kind of like, a not so happy face? A 1 and it goes all the way through 10, and at a 10 – I mean, at a 7 I handed off my newborn baby and was like, someone else needs to deal with this, because I can’t even hold him. I couldn’t focus any longer, and the pain was escalating, escalating. Nothing like birthing pain. Birthing pain, to me, is not – I mean, it’s clearly – it’s not like a massage, you know. But there’s a big difference between actual pain and this biological, just, sensation of birthing a baby. And it became clear when I had two of them back to back.
DANI: So you had to have surgery, and then you were flat, right?
KATY: He rushed me in and the doctor – god, he was so handsome. He’s like the most handsome man in the world. And my husband’s like, frankly, I have a crush on him as well because he saved your life. And he goes, hello, he’s like, I just want to let you know that we’re going to go in – and I was already, they’d already given me whatever they gave me – what am I trying to think of? They were going to put me under. What’s it called?
KATY: Yes, they had already given me general anesthesia, and I was about ready to go out, and he said, hi, I’m Dr. So-and-so. He said, I just want to let you know – god, bedside manner is so good, it kind of makes me tear up. He was like, I’m not sure what we’re going to find in there but there is a chance that when you wake up you will not have your uterus. And it was such a – like, I’m not an emotional person, although I’m crying almost right now, which is strange. I said, I go, that’s fine, I trust you to make the most – what did I say – the most prudent and the most conservative decision. And then I was out. And I remember his face looking at me, like, what? And then I woke up, you know, one minute later, like it is – if you’ve ever had general anesthetic, and they said, this is what happened, and so they had gone in through my vaginal wall, all the way down to find that artery and close it off. And I had lost half my blood.
KATY: And he was like, how you were functioning on only half your blood…and I was like, because, I go, I carry a lot of my blood – I don’t – it’s in my muscles, you know, it’s not all running through my arteries.
KATY: And, anyway. So, yes. In the book it doesn’t detail that nearly like I said, but it does say that this program stems from me going through a vaginal delivery followed by 2 surgeries – I had to have that surgery then, and I had to have a blood transfusion the next day, and then I had to have another surgery afterwards, because they had to – they had to put me under to unpack and stitch the next layers. So I had been on catheterized bed rest, 2 surgeries, a natural, vaginal delivery – so it was a total, I think of 5 days without anything. And so when I stood up, I had almost no core or pelvic floor strength. And that is who has written this book – as much as me and my biomechanist brain, you know.
KATY: So, yeah. That’s my story, for those of you who didn’t know. I’m not only a company owner, like, I’m a client. How’s that thing go? Like, I – it’s for myself. I made this for myself. I did this myself, for myself. And went back and my 2nd delivery was also amazing and at home and fast – 3 contractions. Your worries, your experiences – not yours, but people listening – who are going, but I’ve had this, and I’ve had a baby, and I’m like, yeah, so have I. I’ve been there, I have been at a non-strong, wounded, surgical – like, I am you. I really am you. I am not selling something that I wouldn’t use and haven’t used myself.
DANI: Right. Which is good, and important for people to know, I think. And since we’re talking about that – let’s just go, do you have a quick little movement break we can do before we move onto the next question?
KATY: Sure. A short one.
DANI: Because all this talk about stuff – I just want to get around.
KATY: Well, so I’m not going to let you run around, but I will – a quick, twist makeover. So if you’re standing or sitting if you just twist all the way to the right and then all the way to the left, you would get a sense of like, oh, this is how much range of motion I have in my trunk. But now what I’m going to have you do is drop your ribs so that the front, lower part of your rib cage – kind of like, if you grab/feel around for that bony part. If you drop it all the way down, kind of like you’re doing a crunch, almost. You’re bringing the front of the rib cage down so it lines up over the front of the pelvis. Stay there; you can feel your – usually you can feel your abdominal muscles engage once you lean forward a little bit, and then twist to the right and to the left, and see how the range of motion changes when your ribs are lined up versus stand back up and twist to the right and to the left. And so a lot of forces in diastasis recti are coming from an overly tense waist muscle, and so everyone’s doing spinal twists, trying to figure out how to loosen up their waists, but they haven’t corrected their rib-thrusting problem, so their twists are for naught. You’re not actually mobilizing the very muscles that can tug on the linea alba. So twist makeover. Try that a few times as you’re listening. I’m standing, so I have just dropped my ribs and you go, wow, if I just keep my pelvis still, my ribs only go 1” or 2”, which is way less than they should yield and lengthen to be able to do.
DANI: Excellent. Gracias.
KATY: De nada.
DANI: Okay, ready for the next question, while we twist the afternoon away?
DANI: Okay. Here it is: can DR be fixed through changing your life? Doing exercises, walking barefoot, etc.? I have been doing Restorative Exercise™ since January. I’ve been truly barefoot since February, and I’m seeing some tremendous changes. My linea alba has gotten thicker, but my muscles are still spaced out about 4 fingers. My belly still sticks out. I drop my ribs every day. I do the body twist and psoas release daily, same with shoulder and hip stretches, and then there’s this little plaintive, “help!”
KATY: Help? Well, it sounds like she’s – what did she say, I’ve seen tremendous changes: help.
DANI: Which is awesome. First of all, you’re doing well, okay? Keep going.
KATY: Yeah, so. First of all, do not sweep under the rug the fact that you have made tremendous changes to your life in months.
KATY: But what I see here is that she is doing the small moves, which is why I have also included medium and larger moves, because you have to – in order to get this strong, dynamic core, you have to challenge it in ways with greater loads and bigger ranges of motion. So this help is on the way in the form of Diastasis Recti, the book and the program. And there’ll be some snacks that go along with it, too, so you can use – I’ll help you via video, because I know that having the book as a reference and learning helps, but it’s like, I just want a video to follow. So we’ve got that coming, too. But yeah, your stomach muscles, when you think about what they’re capable of doing: if you put yourself, like, hang on a bar, and you’re like, wow, my whole trunk from my ribs down to my pelvis – those muscles carry the weight of the lower half of the body, and they can haul the lower half of your body up so that your feet can come up to this same bar that your hands are hanging from. And when you look at what your core and torso can do, then you have to kind of start making associations in my mind. If I want it to look like a strong, dynamic core, then I have to start doing these things that challenge all of it in lots of different ways. Because that’s when you get the core that you want, which is when the resting tensions are holding the muscles in place more. So I think it’s just a matter of loads, the loads that you are doing – whoever asked this question – just aren’t high enough yet. But you’re totally on the right – you’re right exactly where you’re supposed to be.
DANI: Mm-hmm. Yeah.
KATY: You have to do the small stuff for a long time before when you go to hang from a bar, you know how to not be thrusting your ribs while you’re there.
KATY: So I think that she’s just ready for medium moves is all that it is. And so that’s amazing, is –
DANI: What great timing, then, for the book.
KATY: Yeah, that was perfect. That was perfect. Yes, it’s all for you, whoever has asked this question.
DANI: Okay, so what’s your favorite – not one you get the most often or most frequent – but most favorite question about this book?
KATY: I don’t know if it’s my favorite, but it’s just the best. Whoever asked this question, you’re the best. The question is like, so here it is. I’m like, hey, everybody, here’s this new book that’s coming out, here’s allll the new things in this book, it’s going to be amazing. And the question is, when are you going to write this other book that I want you to write? That is my – that’s the best question ever. It’s like, so great. And it’s usually about, when are you going to write your pelvic floor book?
KATY: You know, like, when are you going to write the book about the pelvis? And I’m like, but I just wrote this amazing book! And let me say this on Katy Says: if you have a pelvic issue of any type, this book is the same exact program that I would create for you. So really, in my most perfect world, I would just write one, huge book called, Everything That You Need to Know About Movement and here’s all the correctives for all everything and no matter what your ailments are, they will fall away, these ailments are symptoms of your movement deficiency. And you fix your movement deficiency and you fix your symptoms like recede, I guess is the best way to think about it. You’re – it’s a receding of a problem, and so if you can see it as a problem slowly receding, there are many steps to lessen it along the way, then that’s the book that I would write. But people don’t get that perspective. I mean, a lot of people do, I think, and a lot of people listening to this show. But in general, I can’t write a book for 400 people, I have to write a book for 40,000 people, and so Diastasis Recti is the name of this book, but it is – like, if you have pelvic pain or organ prolapse, it’s all the same stuff. You’re going to be seeing, like you’ve got to change your pressures, you have to re-establish your core, you have to establish a nice, strength to your backside and to the muscles that are attaching your arms to your pelvis. Like, this is the book that you need.
DANI: It really is.
KATY: It just has a different title.
DANI: Right. And I can just say from experience and from doing these correctives for 3 ½ years now, if someone is doing all these small, medium and large moves in the book, it’s not just your DR that’s going to get better. I mean, everything.
KATY: It’s everything.
DANI: Everything about your whole body is going to get better.
KATY: Yeah. Yeah.
DANI: So this really is – this is the book.
KATY: This is the book. That is correct.
DANI: True. You heard it. Katy said it on Katy Says. That’s why it’s Katy Says. Okay, even bigger question.
KATY: All right.
DANI: How and when can we get our hands on this book? Because before I’ve asked you and you’re like, oh, I’m hoping for December…
KATY: I know, I know.
DANI: But you just sent galleys out and you’re sending this to the printers, so this means we’ve got something definitive. And so how and when?
KATY: Quotes around it – “definitive.”
DANI: I want you to just lay it on the line. Put yourself out there.
KATY: Okay. So when is this show come out?
DANI: This show is going to come out mid-November, I think.
KATY: Okay, well, that’s good –
DANI: No, sorry! This is December. I believe.
KATY: Okay, well, then you missed it. The pre-sale already happened, because this book will pre-sell.
DANI: But you know what? I know the producer of this show –
KATY: You could put it wherever you want!
DANI: And I can release this show whenever you want.
KATY: All right, so everyone who just heard it right now who panicked, going, oh my gosh! So here’s the dates: the book goes to the printer on Monday, which is 11/2. I’m looking at my calendar right now. So the book will go on pre-sale 11/16, so here’s the plan, and it’s the plan. With publishing, there’s just – there are so many things that can go not as planned. So you send a book to the printer and the printer sends out one – they print one – and then you read that to make sure there was nothing weird, and then you send it back and they print a whole bunch and they box them, and then they ship them. So then we get them, we have to unpack them, and then we get to put them in the mail for – so everyone’s like, why didn’t I get my book, I ordered it on a pre-sale like 3 weeks ago? And it’s like, because it takes 6 weeks to 8 weeks, and you just don’t know how long the printer’s going to take; they can only give you estimates. So it’ll go on pre-sale 11/16 and we’ll have a 2-week pre-sale. And the pre-sale, the reason we have a pre-sale is to know how many books to print with that first run so that we don’t run out. So when you order on pre-sale, you actually help us ensure that you have a book, because if not, we might order less and then you have to wait extra amounts of time. And if you order it on Amazon, you are not buying it from our company. Amazon is buying it from us, and so if you order – if you pre-order on Amazon, all that process of waiting for it to get shipped, everything has to then – after it gets shipped to us, then gets shipped to Amazon, and then Amazon has to open it, put it in the catalogue, and get it to wherever they ship it. So you’re looking at an extra few weeks if you ordered it from Amazon, because every single one of those people – they’re different people. It adds extra steps.
DANI: Okay. This is going on pre-sale 11/16.
KATY: Yes. And we are hoping – so I’m hoping, I just want to say this last part – our goal is to have them all in your hands – if you’re in the United States – by the Christmas holiday season.
KATY: So that means that they have to go in the mail really by December 14th or 15th.
DANI: Let’s release this on the 17th, which would be a usual release day for a podcast. So if you’re listening to this right now, and it’s still pre-sale, so from 11/17, two weeks after that, I guess that’d be the end of the month, right?
KATY: And this is 2015. If you’re listening to this next – last year, you missed it. You’re way behind.
DANI: A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away.
KATY: But you could just go get it right now. You could just walk to the bookstore and pick it off the shelf right now.
DANI: Oh my gosh, and then you’d be already doing some small moves, right?
KATY: You’re already doing them. And actually, I think that that’s medium moves. I think that walking is medium moves.
DANI: Aw, man. I’m stylin. Okay, if you’re listening to this now, you’re going to want to go to –
KATY: Oh, that’s a good question. So the pre-sale page –
DANI: See how I’m putting you on the spot? I’m just, this whole time, totally getting off on this.
KATY: I know, so you’re making me go – so the pre-sale is usually offered by the publisher. So if you go to Propriometrics Press, there’ll be a place to order it there, and then we’ll send it out via email also, so if you’re on the Nutritious Movement or the Restorative Exercise™ newsletters, you’ll be sent one right into your inbox saying, pre-sale is now! And there’s a pre-sale gift.
DANI: And I think if you follow Propriometrics Press on Facebook, too, there’ll be notifications to your newsfeed from that.
KATY: Yeah. Right. Yeah.
DANI: So go ahead and do that.
KATY: Yeah, because with the pre-sale that you do with us – not from Amazon – but if you do them from us, because Amazon just gets books, we can’t put any pre-sale or anything. We have created a bookmark – this has – you’re going to love this because you’re such a book nerd.
KATY: It’s a diastasis recti bookmark that has all of the exercises on it.
KATY: It’s an exercise cheat sheet bookmark.
DANI: Okay, that right there is pre-sale worth it.
KATY: It’s glossy! It’s glossy.
DANI: That is awesome.
KATY: Isn’t that cool?
DANI: Oh my goodness.
KATY: I know.
DANI: I cannot wait.
KATY: I know.
DANI: It’s awesome.
KATY: I know!
DANI: So there you go. You may have to wait a little bit due to publishing things, but pre-sale bookmark.
KATY: And we will do our darndest – trust me. It’s not because we’re not working all of the time. No one’s like, look at this! And then a couple of days – it’s not like that ever.
DANI: It’s true. That’s true. Is there anything else you want to add about the book?
KATY: No. Just – if you do receive my child, love it. Love it. Love it as I would.
DANI: Love it and share it. Love it and share it.
KATY: Love it and share it.
DANI: What a great gift idea, seriously. I mean –
KATY: It’s a good Hanukkah gift, right? You could do, like –
KATY: Every day a different move.
DANI: Mm-hmm. That’s true.
KATY: We have enough books where the whole – my whole book series could be like a Hanukkah series. Right? How many Hanukkah days are there?
DANI: There’s 8.
KATY: So I’ve pretty much written 8 books if you get the one written in Korean, and in German.
DANI: Yeah, my kids would love that.
KATY: and the one in Russian. Here, kids! Here’s the Russian version of Every Woman’s Guide to Foot Pain. Happy Hanukkah!
DANI: Yeah. That’s more lame than socks or pencils, so.
KATY: I would totally sign it.
DANI: Would you? Okay.
KATY: What about Frownies?
DANI: Frownies are an awesome gift. Small, lovely, and will last for a year.
KATY: Perfect. Excellent.
DANI: All right, well, thanks for talking about this. This was – I can’t wait until we get this book, because I’m always saying how excited I am about it, and then people won’t have to listen to that anymore. All right, everyone. Thanks for listening. For more information, books, online classes, etc., you can find Katy Bowman at NutritiousMovement.com. You can learn more about me, Dani Hemmat, movement warrior and diastasis rectifier at MoveYourBodyBetter.com. Thanks.
DANI: Bye bye.
We hope you find the general information on biomechanics, movement, and alignment informative and helpful – but it is not intended to replace medical advice and shouldn’t be used as such.
Episode 11—Diastasis Recti
Under Pressure, Part 1:
Under Pressure, Part 2: