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Diastasis recti

Spotlight on:

What is diastasis recti?

Why do some mums get diastasis recti and not others?

How long will it take to get rid of my diastasis recti?

How do I check for abdominal separation?

Does it really matter if I have diastasis recti?

What can I do to help recovery from diastasis recti?

What should I avoid doing with diastasis recti?

Diastasis recti or a significant abdominal separation is a really common problem - you are not alone. My online postnatal Pilates programme is designed to specifically close the abdominal gap, building you up safely and progressively over the weeks.

Try it for FREE and you'll notice the difference!

 

Bulging or doming of the abdominals when doing a sit-up with diastasis recti or abdominal separation

 

What is diastasis recti?


Diastasis recti: six months post birthWithout getting horribly technical, you have 4 layers of abdominal muscles, going from the deepest layer,which in layman’s terms tends to be referred to as your core but is actually called the transversus abdominis, to the uppermost layer which most people think of as the famous six-pack which men’s fitness magazines are so keen to showcase! During pregnancy, your abdominal muscles  stretch and lengthen enormously, to allow room for your baby to grow. Amongst over two thirds of women, the outer layer of abdominals – the six-pack, or rectus abdominis – separates out to allow room for expansion. If you can picture yourself wearing a zipped up fleece, this separation is the equivalent of your fleece unzipping lengthways from your breastbone down to your public bone, via the belly button.


You might, for example, have noticed during pregnancy if you were lying back in the bath and then sat up to get out, that your pregnant tummy would poke upwards into a funny Ʌ shape. If so, that was because your outer layer of abdominals – the six pack – had separated out. This is called diastasis recti. The extent of this separation varies enormously from just a few centimetres wide and long, to a gap of 15-20cm extending the whole length of your linea alba from your breastbone done to your pubic bone. For step-by-step written and photographed instructions on how to check for abdominal separation, just grab a copy of my FREE Mummy Tummy Guide.

 

Download your FREE guide from the top right hand corner

Why do some mums get diastasis recti and not others?


Whilst everybody’s abdominals become vastly stretched in pregnancy, not everyone ends up with diastasis recti and amongst those who do, the extent of the separation varies enormously. The question is why? Here are some of the contributing factors:
If you are small framed and are expecting a larger baby, your bump has to go somewhere… usually, outwards!

  • Expecting multiples
  • Having 2 or more pregnancies close together
  • Being over the age of 34
  • Lack of exercise

How long will it take to get rid of my diastasis recti?

This is a question that I get asked a lot. Once you have given birth, your outer abdominals will start to realign and come together and by about 8 weeks postpartum, most women will have what’s referred to as a “two finger gap” - the separation is measured by seeing how many fingers fit into the gap where the abdominals have separated. With a gap of less than two fingers’ width, exercises designed specifically to address the separation, will help draw the two bands of muscle together and tighten the deep abdominal muscles beneath.

 

My online postnatal Pilates programme is designed to specifically help you strengthen this weakened area and close the separation. Stick at the programme and do your workouts 4+ times a week and you will be able to measure the improvement within a matter of weeks.

Try it for FREE!

 

Bulging or doming of the abdominals when doing a sit-up with diastasis recti or abdominal separation

How do I check for abdominal separation?


For step-by-step written and photographed instructions on how to check for abdominal separation, just grab a copy of my FREE Mummy Tummy Guide.

 

Download your FREE guide from the top right hand corner

Does it really matter if I have diastasis recti?


Yes it does! If you have significant abdominal separation of 2 fingers or more, accompanied by weak deep abdominals, this leaves you very vulnerable to lower back pain, especially when accompanied by the rigours of looking after a baby: lifting, carrying, feeding etc. If the area in the abdominal gap feels soft and “squidgy” then this is an indication that the deep abdominals are not only stretched but also weak, and so you need to start tightening up this corset of muscle so as to help protect your back and to avoid having your back suddenly “go”.


In some case, the gap is so big, and the abdominals have been stretched so far apart, that the abdomen remains distended leaving the new mum feeling as if she still looks 5 months pregnant. Not only can this be upsetting in terms of aesthetics but it will often be accompanied by back trouble. In these cases it is advisable to go to the doctor and ask to be referred to a Women’s Health Physiotherapist. 

What can I do to help recovery from diastasis recti?

Here are some of things that you can do to help:

  • The first thing you can do, of course, is get yourself a copy of my FREE Mummy Tummy Guide which you’ll find in the top right hand corner of this page. 
     
  • The second thing you can do is join my week-by-week online Mummy Tummy Exercise Plan with weekly exercise videos designed to progressively help you close the abdominal gap, flatten the abs, and lose the layer of fat on top (we all have some fat, that's perfectly normal and healthy). 

    Bulging or doming of the abdominals when doing a sit-up with diastasis recti or abdominal separation 
     
  • Postural alignmentOn a daily basis, focus on maintaining tall posture as this will help you use your deep abdominal muscles effectively, thus protecting the lower back.
     
  • Make sure that you always get out of bed by rolling onto your side. In other words, avoid doing a sit-up to get in and out of bed.
     
  • Try and remember to gently draw your navel to spine prior to bending to pick up your baby/car seat/folded pram/shopping/yummy mummy changing bag.
     
  • If you find yourself wrestling with a supermarket trolley that insists on veering either to the left or the right, abandon ship and get a trolley that’s well behaved. Why? Because your attempts at getting the trolley to move forwards will force you to use the waist muscles (obliques) and this, in turn, will exacerbate the abdominal separation.     

What should I avoid doing with diastasis recti?


Here are some of things that you should be avoiding:

Bulging or doming of the abdominals when doing a sit-up with diastasis recti or abdominal separation

Here you can see doming of the abdominals caused by

someone doing a sit up with abdominal separation

 

  • Sit-ups, crunches, curl-ups – whatever you call them, avoid them. They will compromise recovery.
     
  • Any exercise which causes the abdominals to protrude upwards, or “dome”. It is imperative to avoid any doming, as this will actively stop the gap from closing.
     
  • Stretching exercises for the abdominal area. Remember that the aim is to shorten and tighten the abdominals at the moment.
     
  • If the separation is significant and the abdomen is distended, exercising on all fours could well place extra strain on the area, due to the downward pull of gravity on the tummy. Most all-fours exercises can be adapted to a seated, standing or back-lying position.
     
  • Exercises which work the waist muscles - avoid strong rotational exercises and side flexion such as side bends, side planks and V-sits.

 

Now you know what diastasis recti is, that you are not alone, and that my online week by week postnatal Pilates programme works to solve this probelm. So how about giving it a go for FREE

Try it for FREE and measure the difference!

 

Bulging or doming of the abdominals when doing a sit-up with diastasis recti or abdominal separation

 

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Mummy tummy!
Here's your FREE step by step guide to checking your postnatal abdominals for separation, so that you can get rid of that mummy tummy safely


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