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Meet Your Team: Registered Nurse and Diastasis Recti Rehabilitation Specialist

I find it interesting that everyone that I’ve spoken to in health – whether it’s healthcare or fitness acknowledges how a small exposure triggered a new direction or an additional path in their work. Like any profession, many are drawn to their work by passion, but experience sucks you in and in some cases makes you pivot and consider things you never thought you would.

Conversations around prenatal and postnatal health are occurring more often, or at least more loudly, in the fitness and coaching space because of how women engage in activity today. More women want to stay active for as long as they can and it’s reasonable – being active can help maintain comfort and decrease back pain as the physiology of a woman’s body changes with each trimester. Exercise is a way to help have an overall healthy pregnancy and can lower the risk and prevent gestational diabetes, improve mood and energy, promote regular digestion – but I don’t think this is really new to anyone, it’s just being reinforced more.

More research has been done, but there are still gaps. Some things we do know:

  • Activity does change during pregnancy, but it’s relative
  • Activity recommendations will be based on the woman’s family and medical history as well as activity history prior to pregnancy
  • Pregnancy isn’t the time to go for PR’s, but for some who had high activity levels those may be maintained

How can a trainer or health coach learn about what a woman’s body can do during pregnancy? I give clients a PARMedX form to have their doctor’s fill out. This form helps me learn about some of their symptoms more thoroughly than the screening I do, how far along they are, activity limitations suggested by the doctor. If you’ve never seen a ParMedX form, check it out here. This one is universally accepted in the US too.

I’ve talked before about the weird health space that personal training and health coaching falls in. Depending on the populations you want to work with, there’s some overlap with healthcare and the fitness industry. Trainers and coaches can be used for prevention and treatment to help implement healthy lifestyles and create behavior change.

Collaborating (and handing off) with other professionals is necessary to support many clients, but what’s more important than being open to collaborating is which professionals to collaborate with for which issues.

Here are some professionals that can be helpful for pre- and post-natal that you may not know about:

  • Pelvic Health Physiotherapist
  • Musculoskeletal Physiotherapist
  • Urogynecologist
  • Massage therapist
  • Registered Dietitian
  • Mental health professional

Gina Hatcher R.N. BSN is a practicing pediatric nurse with a background in dialysis and cardiology at Boston Children’s Hospital for the past 18 years. She is a wife and a mother to 2 amazing children (10 and 7) and lives in the Metrowest area.

After both of her pregnancies she discovered that a diastasis recti was the cause of the problem. She attempted to correct the diastasis through physical therapy for 6 months with no relief. Through the Tupler Technique®, Gina was able to quickly correct her diastasis easily and non surgically. Her back pain is completely gone and regular activities of daily living are easy now. This dramatic change in her quality of life has ignited an interest and passion to bring this education to her area and help people with this similar affliction. She has trained in New York City with Julie Tupler R.N., who developed the Tupler Technique and training program. She has since founded Zipcore Boston, and is passionate about helping others reverse their diastasis and help them to develop a stronger, flatter core.

Occupation/Title: Registered Nurse (RN, BSN)

Specialty (if applicable): Specialize in Diastasis Recti Rehabilitation

State that you practice in: Massachusetts, primarily in the Metrowest area outside of Boston

State(s) that you have licensure in: Massachusetts

Years of practice: 19 years as a practicing nurse

Education needed/obtained for current occupation/title: RN licensing: minimum of an associate degree in nursing through an Board approved program, pass NCLEX-RN exam. Diastasis Recti specialization: bachelor’s degree to obtain certificate in Tuplar Technique

CEU needed to maintain licensure: RN licensure requires renewal every two years with 15 contact hours.

In your role, what is your scope of practice? As a DR specialist, my role is to educate women about a  diastasis and the role that your abdominals can play in your overall  health and wellness. I also talk with clients about how it can be treated easily and non-surgically. We create an individualized program to meet their needs,  help them to learn the techniques needed to protect their core including how to safely execute the Tuplar Technique program and lastly, guide them while they are  learning seated  isometric exercises to strengthen their core.

What limitations do you face in your role? I have found that my main limitation is getting the word out to people that a diastasis exists and can be  treated non-surgically. Many people are told to “just lose weight” or “you just need to exercise more”. There is limited information out there for medical personnel on diagnosis and help guide their patients for treatment.

What other health professionals do you or do you want to partner with?I would love to partner with other health and wellness professionals. Specifically, people who focus on fitness and/or  women’s health.  Women’s health is so important and needed. I am passionate about bringing this to my community and helping them as this program did for me.

What is a misconception about your occupation/title?  One misconception is that only women can be affected with diastasis recti. Many men, women and children have a diastasis and can be helped with this program.

What should other health professionals know about your occupation/title? Diastasis Recti is something that has very little understanding of in the medical community. There are a lot of health professionals that don’t know how or where to refer their patients. They are  often referred for surgery which can be very painful and invasive.  This program can reverse a diastasis safely, easily and non-surgically.

What should the general public know about the work you do? Diastasis recti can be fixed at any point. You don’t have to accept any medical issues that you have, for example, urinary incontinence, GI issues, back pain, looking pregnant when you aren’t, a lower “mom pooch” that won’t go away, umbilical hernia. These can all be corrected by fixing your diastasis  without surgery.

What lead you to do the work you do? I am a practicing pediatric nurse with a background in dialysis and cardiology at Boston Children’s Hospital for the past 18 years.  I am also a wife and a mother to two amazing children. I had frequent back pain post both pregnancies and discovered that a diastasis recti was the cause of the problem. I attempted to correct the diastasis through physical therapy for six months with no relief. I used the Tupler Technique® was able to quickly correct my diastasis even though my doctor told me surgery would be the only way. My back pain is completely gone and regular activities of daily living are easy now.

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