The expansion of abdominal muscles is one of the major things that occur during pregnancy. While expanding, the right and left abdominal muscles separate due to the stretching of connective tissues. All this is done to ensure that enough room for the baby is made.
However, abdominal separation can sometimes be a complicated condition. It is a normal thing but when the gap is extreme, it is considered as diastasis recti. The gap heals easily in some women while in others it does not.
For those looking for a workout program online, I recommend Restore Your Core’s heal diastasis recti without surgery program. The RYC program is designed to help you rebuild your
core fully. If you think that you have diastasis recti, check it out!
If you think that you have diastasis recti, here is a complete guide to help you get rid of it. Check it out!
Who is more likely to develop diastasis recti?
If you don’t already have the condition, you might be wondering if you’re likely to develop it. Certain factors may make you more prone to diastasis recti. They include:
- When you’re heavy with multiple babies; twins, triplets or more.
- In case your baby is heavy, thus straining your abdominal muscles.
- If you’re petite, which means your muscles need stretch way more than for others.
- Giving birth at the age of, or above 35 years old.
- Giving birth multiple times and in close range.
Even though the condition is most common in pregnant women, it’s not limited to them. Men and children can also have the condition due to;
- Poor exercise regimes that constantly strain your abdomen
- Being overweight thus straining your abdomen with the weight.
- Poor posture.
- Having generally weak abdominal muscles.
Detect if You Have Diastasis Recti
Symptoms to watch out for
Now let’s help you identify the condition. Try to assess the following symptoms and check whether you’ve experienced most of them or any:
- A bulge or pooch in your stomach months after pregnancy; this is the most common symptom. It’s most noticeable when you strain or contract your abs. Additionally, it’s also visible when you cough or sit up from lying down.
- Pain in your lower back.
- Pain during intercourse.
- Urine leakage- especially after coughing, sneezing or laughing.
Confirming diastasis recti
This is the first step in getting rid of diastasis recti. It can be done by having a doctor or a physical therapist check you to detect it. You can also do it yourself by following these steps;
- Lay on your back with your knees bent and let your feet be flat on the ground level
- Lift your head off the floor to ensure that your stomach muscles are engaged
- Place your fingers at the belly to feel the indentation downwards from the center of the stomach
- Try to measure the depth and the width of the dent with your fingers.
If the gap allows your fingers to press down and the width is more than two fingers, then you could have diastasis recti.
How to get rid of diastasis recti
There are a few ways through which you can correct diastasis recti:
1. Focus on Rebuilding Your Core
If you want to heal diastasis recti more quickly, you should concentrate on rebuilding the core. Begin by firming up the deepest abdominal muscle, that is, transverse abdomins.
When your deep muscles are strong, they can give support to the ones that are strained.
Then find easy home exercises that can help you strengthen the diaphragm and the pelvic floor and also engage your ab muscles.
2. Find the Right Workouts
Any regiment you decide on should always start by strengthening your innermost core muscle. That’s the transverse abdominis. For that, there are breathing exercises that specifically aid with that. Don’t skip them, thinking it’s too easy. After having done those foundational exercises at least three times a week, you can move on to the others.
Here are 4 main exercises meant to help you get rid of diastasis recti;
1, Deep ab Activation
- Lie on the floor with your feet flat on the ground and bend your knees
- Try to bring your abdominal muscles together using your fingers and don’t hold breathe.
This exercise intends to engage your TVA muscles hence rebuild the core. You should do it several times daily.
2. Pelvic tilts
This is an especially effective workout for getting rid of diastasis recti. It engages both your transverse abdominals and takes care of your pelvic floor. Here’s what to do:
- Lie on the ground with flat feet and your knees bent
- Press your lower back downwards while pulling your belly bottom towards the spine
- In the same position, lift your pelvis and then bring it back down, engaging your pelvis floor.
Do this exercise for around 15 times for a start but increase the number as you progress. Rest for 30 seconds between each pelvic tilt.
3. Side Planks
- Lie on the side on the ground and place your arm on the ground under your shoulder vertical to the body.
- Let one leg be on top of the other with straight knees and hips
- Then raise your body slowly upwards and hold that positions for around 15 seconds.
Repeat this exercise with the opposite side and increase the amount of time you hold your body as you progress.
4. C- Curving
- Sit high on your sit bones with wide feet and your hands behind knees
- Rock back softly without sinking in the chest
- Then exhale while pulsing backward to hallow out your lower belly
You can do 20 to 30 pulses daily to strengthen the abdominal muscles.
Here, you should avoid exercises such as sit-ups, crunches, and any other exercise that involves straining your rectus abdominus.
In addition, incorporate a proper diet to these practices and you’ll be guaranteed of getting rid of diastasis recti.
Other helpful workouts include:
- Hand guidance
- Bent knee raise
- Pelvic pillow squeeze
- Heel slide
- Glute raises
- Alternating leg circles
- Front march etc.
A lot of exercise routines can cause more harm than good- this is especially true when it comes to most abdominal workouts. Ironic, isn’t it? To find the right workout, not only do you rely on research, but also your doctor. Keep them up to speed about the exercise you want to try out, and they will let you know if it’s safe or not.
There are many programs and communities you could enroll in for these workouts. Sometimes it helps to be in the company of people you’re going through the same thing with. Find the right one for you.
1. Physical Therapy
Home workouts, especially when you’re alone, are a bit of a challenge. Therefore, if you can’t fix diastasis recti on your own, don’t worry. With the help of a physical therapist, you may get the job done as well.
Make sure the therapist you choose has proper documentation and qualifications for the job. They should be able to prepare a proper schedule customized to meet your specific needs. Ask your doctor for recommendations on a good physical therapist, or anyone who’s had the same issues before.
2. Surgical Correction
For severe cases of diastasis recti that are not easily corrected naturally, surgery is an option.
Some surgical options include:
- Abdominoplasty, also known as a tummy tuck
- Laparoscopy etc.
Surgery, therefore, only serves as a last resort due to the risks involved; do not take it lightly. You may consider it as a quick fix, but it’s not normally recommended unless you’re sure you’re done giving birth. Side effects such as scarring, infection, etc. are possible with any operation.
What not to do before you’re fully healed
Here, you should avoid exercises such as sit-ups, crunches, and any other exercise that involves straining your rectus abdominus. More exercises to exclude include:
- Full push-ups
- Any type of curls
- Russian twist
- carrying or handling heavy packages
- any strenuous activity that may cause your ab muscles to bulge
- strenuous yoga poses
- holding your baby in any position that causes you pain
- coughing or sneezing freely; make sure to support your ab muscles when you do
- standing or sitting down without properly supporting yourself.
- bending on your hands and knees
Strictly take it easy until you heal from diastasis recti. Otherwise, you may end up worsening the condition.
How to prevent or lower the risks of getting diastasis recti again
For a woman who hasn’t had the condition before, strengthen your core before you get pregnant. It’s the best way to go about it. Have your doctor confirm the proper exercises for you, which lowers your chances of developing the condition in the first place.
During pregnancy, there are also several workouts that can help strengthen your abdominal muscles in preparation. Just like with the post-partum exercises that help you heal, make sure to consult your doctor about any workouts you come across so they can give you a go ahead.
Find help in case you’re pregnant, and you’re taking care of another baby. The strain while taking care of them, e.g., lifting them up, may lead to diastasis recti.
When getting up from the bed, always use the log roll style, that is, rolling onto one side with your body aligned. After, use your arms to push yourself up to a sitting position. Do this gently.
Always observe the correct sitting posture; try adding a towel or pillow for lower back support.
Don’t be ashamed of having diastasis recti; it’s a relatively common condition. In fact, one out of two women have it. Be a proud mom. As we’ve seen, most of the time, it’s easily corrigible with physical exercise and therapy. It does, however, require a lot of time and effort on your part. It might help to have a support system in place to keep you encouraged and motivated.