Diastatis Recti (DR) is the posh word for tummy gap during and after baby and is something that all women have to some degree.So, what exactly is DR? OK, so in simple terms, as you grow throughout pregnancy the rectus abdominals (otherwise known to most of us as the six pack) separates laterally in order for the baby to grow. When I say ‘separates’, I’m talking about the connective tissues which have the ability to stretch, and it’s to what degree they stretch that can become a problem for some women. This is why it’s important to keep a strong core throughout pregnancy, which will help keep those connective tissues as supple as possible and therefore help avoid any major split.
Once baby is born, these muscles can naturally join back together (if you didn’t have any major issues or separation during pregnancy, then they probably will) this usually takes around six weeks, which is why experts advise women not to start exercising (especially not doing any ‘ab work’) before this point. But, for many women this can take a lot longer and in some case, never join back together as it once was.
Is there anything I can do to help the healing process? Yes, of course! There are specific exercises that can help strengthen the core and aid the recovery process (without doing anything to make it worse) which I will show you in the videos that I have created. The first of which is below, and centres of pelvic floor and lateral breathing, both of which you should use during your deep abdominal muscles whilst exercising.
Here are a couple of things I must point out:
You must get yourself checked out by a medical professional around six weeks postpartum, to see if you have a gap and if so how wide it is. They will be able to help advise you on this whole subject too.
- You must not do any curl up type action, planks, twisting, or high impact (jumping) before you are ready. All of these movements can put way too much strain on a new mum, which can lead to more severe problems such as a prolapse (when the pelvic floor and DR is weak and cannot support the internal organs).
- Also, strengthening the abdominals before they have joined back together can lead to them staying apart permanently. This gives the effect of a ‘dome’ belly, which is where the tummy pops out between the abdominal separation. Not ideal!
The below video follows on from the previous one and demonstrates some exercises that specifically help to heal DR.
If you have any questions, please feel free to message me directly via my social media channels IG @korinnolanpilates Facebook @thebabybodybootcamp you can also check out my website for my postnatal online fitness plans http://korinnolan.com/