Help! Diastasis Recti!

Feb 12

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After giving birth, it’s time to get back to the gym, bust a move and get that pre-pregnancy figure back STAT, right?  Let’s get sexy back!!!!!!!

Welllll, not so fast there, speedy. Approximately 70% of new moms develop diastasis recti at some point in their third trimester. This common problem is the separation of the abdominal wall, specifically the right and left sides of the rectus abdominis, and can last long after birth. If you’re among the majority, you can still bust a move. You’ll have to proceed with caution, however.

How can you check for diastasis recti?

  • You should consult with your Doctor for diagnosis, but a self-examination might prove useful. Start by lying on the floor in a supine position (on your back), knees bent, feet flat. Lift head, neck & shoulders slightly off floor & feel the center of your abdomen around and above the navel. Diastasis recti is a gap more than 2 fingers wide.

Eek! What should I do if I have it?

  • In severe cases, like a herniated navel, surgery is necessary. Avoid crunches or added pressure to the abdominal wall. Instead, engage core muscles by drawing navel to spine before heavy lifting. Proper hydration is key!

Can I exercise?

  • Yes! Some exercises can help bring the abdominal wall together. Strengthen and stabilize the peripherals, like muscles along the spine, hips and core.
  • Include the following exercises into your existing strength program:
    • hip bridges
    • cat/cows
    • elbow front & side planks
    • bent-knee leg drops, limited range of motion
    • torso rotations
    • quadrupeds/bird dogs

Can I prevent diastasis recti during pregnancy?

  • Unfortunately, diastasis recti is the luck of the draw. Pregnancy stretches the abdominal wall and there is truly no way to stop growth! However, “ignoring the core” during pregnancy isn’t the answer. I recommend incorporating joint and core stabilization exercises throughout any pregnancy exercise program. Exercises like:
    • seated 1-arm cable row
    • standing torso rotations
    • cat/cows
    • quadrupeds
    • modified hip bridges
    • pelvic tilts
    • -figure 8’s on stability ball
    • -wide-stance squats
    • -seated stability ball 1-arm dumbbell overhead press

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