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Correcting Diastasis Recti and ab separation after pregnancy can seem totally daunting, and almost depressing, but there are very specific Diastasis Recti correcting exercises you can to do really help your tummy go back to pre-baby status. The hardest part of healing your abs and putting things back in place is finding the time and space to do it! As a soon-to-be certified Pre/Post Natal Exercise Specialist, I can tell you that the exercises are very simple. It is the reconnecting of our minds and muscles that takes more patience than strength.
My biggest piece of advice in correcting Diastasis Recti and ab separation after pregnancy is to have a lot of patience!
I can’t even begin to explain how hard this is for me. I want to run, jump, squat and work hard. I want to burn off the baby weight ASAP after having a baby, and lying on the floor doing the tiniest muscle movements is just plain boring. I don’t naturally have the patience, and it doesn’t feel like I am getting anywhere at first.
There isn’t any instant gratification when correcting Diastasis Recti and ab separation after pregnancy because it is a long and slow process of tiny movements.
Do you have Diastasis Recti? Maybe Not!
If you are checking yourself just a few months postpartum, of course, you have ab separation! This is normal after having a baby, and depending on your genetics, it can take a year for the ab muscles to fully come back together. Also, if you’ve had multiple pregnancies close together like me, your abs may need more time to attempt to regain strength. Diastasis Recti is when your abs stop coming back together at a point that still leaves them separated. It is an abnormal distance between your two rectus muscles, and you can see your muscles come up when you do a sit-up. What happened is the fascia between your two recti muscles stretched beyond its natural stretching point, so the connective tissue ends up thinning and not being able to pull the abs back together as well. But I don’t want you to worry too much yet if you are less than 6 months postpartum or even just around a year postpartum. This can be helped!
If you aren’t sure if you have ab separation at all, do the Sit Up Test:
First, lie on your back like you are going to do a sit-up. Then, start crunching up, and watch your abs. Do they pooch and cone out, and you can fit your fingers into a valley/trench? IF so, do you have some ab separation we can work on? Getting down to a 1-2 finger-wide gap is a realistic goal. If you’ve only had one pregnancy so far, you might be able to get less than a one-finger gap. Once you have some separation, relax and know that it is a slow process of repeating tiny movements consistently to repair them, just like pregnancy is a slow process of stretching the muscles. Time does heal things!
The best thing you can do is get your mind right and relax. Take your time and know that healing your abs is not an exciting process, but it does have BIG RESULTS!! I wish I had done this with my first and more after my second. I am finally seeing a pooch almost completely gone at 18 months postpartum. I had a lot of work to do, and it needed to be consistent for months. I have a 3-week program that I teach with specific Pilates-based routines I walk you through, along with a prescription on things to practice each day to make sure you are repairing your abs correctly. I make it more of a workout, so you kill two birds with one stone!
I would love you to download this free cheat of exercises you should do daily. This will get you started. Keep in mind that in my program, I explain and walk you through every move I make and the weekly routines, and I show you and make the moves with you. I highly recommend a full program because your nutrition and extra weight affect your abs! If you have extra weight on your belly, it pulls the muscles out and keeps them stretched. You aren’t having your abs pulled outward all day by eliminating extra weight on your belly. The outward pull from extra weight is constant, whereas the tiny amount of time, maybe 10-15 minutes a few times a week, you spend attempting to correct your abs isn’t going to be able to compete. I have a complete nutrition program with the Ab Rehab + Pelvic Floor Restore section so that you can do both at once!
If you think you can follow the cheat sheet, I highly recommend this app to get amazing workouts at home! I love it, and they came out with a new Fourth Trimester-specific section full of stroller workouts and postpartum workouts! Focusing on getting fit again will also use your ab muscles naturally for stability during movements. Hence, you want to start a fitness program while correcting your Diastasis Recti and ab separation!
You can also try my free eating clean program with links to awesome recipes and a guide on keeping up your milk supply while losing the baby weight! It is a great way to jump-start your nutrition back on track, help your body heal after baby and reduce some of the extra weight pulling on the ab muscles we need to strengthen again.
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