I have been asked by a few of my readers about post pregnancy diastasis problems.
After talking to sufferers of this condition I can see how this can be a concern for most.
Because this is viewed as a cosmetic issue by many medical professionals, it is highly overlooked and it is for this reason that many women do not even know that they even have this problem.
I believe that this is not just a cosmetic problem as diastasis recti means the separation of muscle. In the case of diastasis recti after pregnancy, this is a separating of the abdominal muscles.
If you know that you have this problem, you can take steps towards fixing this.
In extreme cases, a doctor may advise that surgery is the only way. This is OK but if it were me that had this problem, I would do everything that I could to try and fix this before going down this road.
Can I start to fix this at any time?
I know that a lot of mothers that are just finding out that they have this condition will have had children for several years and may think that it is too late for them.
This is simply not the case. It's never too late to start to develop or train any muscle in the human body, so however long that you have left it, you are good to start.
What NOT to do
It is very important that you select your exercises VERY carefully. If you go into the gym or get your yoga mat out and start doing big sets of crunches and sit ups you will be in danger of making your recti split worse!
So do not rush into starting any old abdominal or “6 pack” routine. There are certain types of exercise that you must do to help you
What to do
There are products out there that some people use and Im pretty sure that these work. You can use a “Splint” This is a kind of wrap around piece of material that pulls your stomach muscles into place. I am aware of a few programs that focus on this kind of thing for fixing this problem.
However, I think that it is more important to use correct abdominal exercises rather than relying purely on a “third party” to help you out.
Meaning that if you only make use of an abdominal splint, as soon as you stop using the splint, your problem may just re occur. By all means, get yourself a splint, this can only help you out more, but I would not use this as your primary focus.
The most important thing that you can do is to learn to engage your abdominal muscles and simply be aware of them.
If you are reading this I'm sure that you have heard of “pelvic floor exercises” or “Kegel exercises”?
Well this is the same sort of thing but with your abdominals (tummy muscles)
If you can learn to engage this muscle group, you can then start to develop and fix your Diastasis recti pregnancy issue.
Learn to engage your abs …
I feel that the easiest way to explain this is:
Sit on a tall backed chair with your back flat against the back rest and your head positioned so that your view is parallel to the floor.
Relax your arms so that they rest comfortably by your sides or on your lap
Take a deep breath and as you breathe out, suck your tummy in so that your belly button moves closer to your spine
As you are berating out, if you do a shower cough, your abs will engage.
This is the key to the types of exercise that you can do. Some trainers refer to this as a “tummy tuck” or “Tummy vacuum”.
Now you know how to engage your abs, you can do this without coughing and it will only do you good to do this when you remember to do it, you could perform this movement and engage your abs while you are watching your favorite TV show or even while you are at work.
The more that you engage your abs, the more comfortable that you will become with this process and the stronger they will get.
Here are a few exercises that you can try
Beside just finding your abs and engaging them, you can do several light exercises. But before performing these it is a good idea to go to your doctor or Doc and ask them if it is safe for you to follow this kind of routine. Remember that everyone is different.
# 1 lying tummy tuck
Start position; Lay on your back with your hands rested over your navel and your knees bent with your feet flat on the floor
As you breath out, suck your stomach muscles in to pull your belly button closer to your spell.
Hold this for 5 seconds, then release.
This completes 1 rep. Do 2 – 3 sets of 15 – 50 reps (You can add more sets and reps as you get stronger so if you are new to this, I'm advise that you start off with the minimum number of sets and reps)
# 2 All 4 tummy tuck
Start position; Get into a position where you are on your hands and knees.
It is very important that your back is flat and you are looking directly at the floor.
As you breathe out, pull your tummy muscles in so that your belly button moves closer to your spine making sure that your back stays flat.
Hold this position for 5 seconds, then release.
These counts for 1 rep. You should complete 2-3 sets of 15 – 50 reps (As your strength increases, you can increase the number of sets and reps)
# 3 Kneeling tummy tuck
Start position; Get into a position so that the front part of your lower legs and feet are in contact with the floor and you are sitting back on your heads.
Rest your palms on the fronts of your upper legs, keep your back flat and pick a point on a wall or in the distance that leaves your gaze parallel to the floor.
Whilst breathing out, suck your abdominal muscles in to pull your belly button in also. You should make sure that your back stays flat and your eyes stay fixed so your head does not move. Hold this for at least 5 seconds and then release as you breathe out.
This is 1 full rep. You should do 2 – 3 sets of 15 – 50 reps (You can add more sets and reps as you get stronger so if you are new to this, I'd recommend that you start off at the lower end of the sets & reps scale )
# 4 Plank
This is a further progress and you should probably not start with this exercise.
Start position: Position yourself so that you are resting your bodyweight on your inner forearms / elbows and toes. Keep your head straight and your back flat (It is a good idea to check your position in a mirror as it is easy to slip out of this.
Suck your stomach muscles in regards to your spine to engage your abs and hold the position
You can start with sets of 10 seconds but the longer that you do this, the stronger your abdominals will become and the longer that you will be able to hold the position for.
It is always good to keep in mind that consistency is key to success when it comes to any kind of muscle or fitness development so stick with it and you will do just fine.
This is a good start towards fixing your Diastasis recti pregnancy issues. I would always advise that before starting anything like this you should consult your doctor of physician. These guys will be able to give you the green light on the exercises.