This post probably contains affiliate links, to items I am in love with, and I am confident you will too! For any health advice I give on nutrition and wieghtloss, make sure you check with your doctor, as I am not a health professional. I am just a mama with lots of health and fitness knowledge and experience.
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 actually 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 actually 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 just may need more time to attempt to regain strength. Diastasis Recti is when your abs just 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 cone up when you do a sit up. What happened is the fascia between your two recti muscles stretched beyond it’s 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, you have some ab separation we can work on. Getting down to a 1-2 finger-wide gap is a good, 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 know 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 slow process of stretching the muscles. Time really 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 would’ve 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 needs 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 as well, so you are killing two birds with one stone!
I would love for you to download this free cheat of exercises you should do every day. This will get you started. Keep in mind, in my program I explain and walk you through every move I do, the specific routines I do weekly, and I show you and do the moves with you. I highly recommend a full program because your nutrition and extra weight affects your abs! If you have extra weight on your belly, it pulls the muscles out and keeps them stretched. By eliminating extra weight on your belly, you aren’t having your abs pulled outward all day. The outward pull from extra weight is constant, where as 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 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 am IN LOVE with it, and they came out with a new Fourth Trimester-specific section that is full of stroller workouts and postpartum workouts! Focusing on getting fit again will also use your ab muscles naturally, for stability during movements, so 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 some links to awesome recipes and a guide on how to keep 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.
If you need help losing the baby weight and keeping up your milk supply, I have a very popular program, The Postpartum Cure, which provides you with your diet and nutrition plan to lose weight, not milk supply!