Wondering why you still look pregnant months after welcoming your bundle of joy? If yes, chances are you may have diastasis recti abdominis. Commonly referred to as DR, diastasis recti refer to the separation of the rectus abdominis muscles that mostly occurs during pregnancy. It’s quite prevalent and affects two-thirds of women after pregnancy. Note, it can also occur in men or even newborns. But you can take comfort in knowing the condition is not permanent, and neither do you need surgery to get it fixed as there are many diastasis recti repair exercises you can attempt. Read on to learn more about diastasis recti and some of the do’s and don’ts.
How to Recognize if You Have Diastasis Recti
Your body undergoes immense changes during pregnancy. One of these changes involves your uterus’s muscles expanding to create space for the growing baby. This means that after you give birth, your belly may take a while to go back to normal size. In that light, just because it has been a while and your post-baby pooch doesn’t seem to have plans of going away doesn’t necessarily mean you have diastasis recti. That is why you should do the following home test before you attempt any diastasis recti repair exercises
- Lie on your back with your knees bent, and your feet resting flat on the floor
- Relax, and press your fingertips across the midline of your abs(your palm should be parallel to your waist)
- Lift your head or roll into a gentle crunch to engage your six-pack muscles, while gently pressing on your midline. (if you find this difficult, place your other hand behind your head so it can be easy to lift your head)
- Usually, you will feel a small gap. But if your fingers sink in or the gap is two finger widths or more, then you do have diastasis recti.
Diastasis Recti Repair
If you’ve done the above self-check test and confirmed that you indeed have diastasis recti, there’s no need to panic. As mentioned, there are plenty of exercises you can attempt and get rid of that baby-pooch caused by diastasis recti. But note, not all tummy-trimming exercises will work when you’re attempting diastasis recti repair.
You should essentially avoid any strenuous exercises which cause your abs muscles to bulge out. This is because they place extra stress on your midline, and may cause your abdominal wall to stretch further, worsening your condition even more.
You also need to stay away from heavy lifting workouts. The key here is to strengthen your core first, and the flat belly you had during your pre-pregnant days will come later. Therefore, try exercises that keep your tummy pulled in such as the following
- Pelvic tilts
- Single-leg kickbacks
- Vacuum crunches
- Upright push ups
- Glute bridge
- Head lifts
Also, whichever exercise you decide to use, make sure you always breathe through it. Practice breathing in and out properly before you attempt any of the mentioned. Also, try and practice good posture always. Proper breathing and proper posture coupled with the right exercises, will help engage the core and tone your deep abdominal muscles, which is essential to diastasis recti repair.
Make sure you have the green-light from your doctor. It is also wise to have a highly qualified expert from Every Mother guide you through the process.