Some women go through their Postpartum life still looking and feeling pregnant with a belly pooch that they just can’t seem to get rid of. No matter how much they exercise, no matter how well they eat, yet it’s still there. Well, there just might be an answer to that problem, you may have Diastasis Recti.
What is Diastasis Recti?
Diastasis Recti is a separation of the abdominal during pregnancy, therefore, leaving a gap in between your abdominal causing that belly pooch.
How to tell if you have diastasis recti?
Lay on your back (supine position) on a flat surface. Have your knees bent and both feet on the ground. Place your hand, palm down, over your belly with your fingers pointed toward your toes. Gently press your fingers into your bellybutton region, at the same time raise your head by lifting the chest, chin tucked in, causing your abdominal’s to engage. If you feel a gap of at least two fingers in width between your muscles while they’re contracted, you have diastasis recti (a moderate case). A severe case would be more than two fingers in width. You may want to repeat this exercise, along the entire abdominal region because sometimes the ab separation may occur in different locations of your abdominal’s and not just in the center.
Is there a way to prevent diastasis recti?
Yes and no. Sometimes it less likely to happen to women who have a strong core, or who have consistently worked on their core pre-pregnancy. However, that’s not always the case. It can happen to anyone.
If you consider it, your abdominal region expanded rapidly within a 9-10 month period, how are our muscles not going to separate while baking a human in there.
Is it treatable?
YES! The good news. The sooner you confirm diagnosis of your Diastasis Recti, the sooner you can begin to repair your powerhouse (core).
Unfortunately, aside from all the postpartum symptoms and hormonal changes, you may have to add Diastasis Recti to the long list of what happens to your body after baby. Luckily there are ways to help reconstruct your core muscles by regaining strength through core exercises. One step at a time mama’s!
Exercises to help repair your Diastasis recti
So you’ve discovered that you have Diastasis Recti, and are wanting to do as many ab exercises as possible to get rid of the pooch.
HOLD IT! NOT TOO FAST!
Did you know that crunches are one of the WORST moves that you can do to repair your Diastasis Recti? Mind blown? Here’s why…
You might want to avoid crunches and sit-ups because they cause strain on the mid-line of your abdominal region which then causes the belly to bulge outward/pooch forward. “When this action is repeated forcefully, and frequently, the degree of separation can actually worsen,” according to Kevin Brenner, M.D., F.A.C.S., a board-certified plastic and constructive surgeon based in Beverly Hills.
Diastasis Recti is the result of excessive intra-abdominal pressure. Unfortunately, when the 2 parts of the abdominal muscles separate (left from right) the connective tissue is stretched and weakened as it takes all other muscle support with it. Leaving you, with a pooch. So, what can be done to repair our abdominal’s?
Here is a list of do’s and don’ts for mama’s who want to repair their diastasis recti with at home exercises:
- Oblique twists
- Pelvic tilts
- Toe taps
- Single leg stretches
- Heel slides (while lying in the supine position)
All of these exercises can be done slowly and at your own pace, and most importantly, until you feel ready. Yes, they have waist trainers, corsets and bands, BUT, those are not a sustainable way to repair your Diastasis Recti. You may even end up wearing them for the rest of your life, if you don’t repair your DR internally. Which is why I strongly recommend any mama that has Diastasis Recti, to slowly begin to regain strength in their core. Maybe try out a mommy and me yoga class, or a postpartum fitness program where they understand a woman’s postpartum body. Slowly and steady wins the race mama’s, be patient and you’ll regain your core strength and your abdominal’s will once again be together!