Diastasis Recti

Are you confused about Diastasis Recti after Pregnancy? 

Many women aren't very well educated about this important topic after they've been cleared by their doctor to workout. Postpartum fitness isn't something very many doctors explain to their patients, because they are primarily concerned about other things, like proper internal healing and the overall health of the mother and child. 

Diastasis Recti:

a common condition after pregnancy, where the Rectus Abdominus muscle (the one you can see when someone has a "six pack") splits down the middle and no longer stays together. This can cause issues for support of the internal organs, and make it very difficult to regain muscle strength without specific exercise protocols targeting the right muscles.

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Did You Know?

  • Pregnancy puts so much pressure on the belly that sometimes the muscles in front can’t keep their shape. "Diastasis" means separation. "Recti" refers to your ab muscles called the "rectus abdominis."
  • It's very common among pregnant women. About two-thirds of pregnant women have it.
  • The muscle opening often shrinks after giving birth, but in some studies of women with diastasis recti, the muscle wasn't back to normal even 1 year later.
  • When the connective tissue has healed, some Pilates or other exercises may help you strengthen and rely more on your transverse (deep core) belly muscles instead of the outer ones. 

This is information taken DIRECTLY from webmd! I have worked with so many mothers over the years and many of them weren't even aware that they had Diastasis Recti. We have to work together to figure out what exercises they are capable of performing, and what exacerbates the damage to the superficial muscle. Many of the traditional ab strengthening exercises are targeted towards the Rectus Abdominis and that will only make the damage worse. When working the Transverse Abdominis, which is what we focus on during Pilates workouts, you will pull your abs together, and down toward your spine, which alleviates the strain on the Rectus Abdominis.

 Exercises that can make Diastasis Recti worse:

  • Planks
  • Sit Ups
  • Crunches
  • Toes to Bar
  • Many other movements that require flexion of the torso 

Exercises that can make Diastasis Recti better:

  • Exercises targeting the Pelvic Floor Muscles
  • Stabilization exercises for the pelvis and low back, such as the Pilates "series of 5" (without lifting the head and chest)
  • Upright body weight movements, such as squats
  • Side Planks (when performed correctly)
  • Deep Breathing exercises 

If you want more information on how to properly rehab your body after having a baby, you can download a free workout to heal your abs and avoid making your Diastasis worse!