If you still have a tummy pooch or still look pregnant a while after giving birth, you could have Diastasis Recti. There are different degrees of the abdominal separation, and it can range from mild to severe.
What is Diastasis Recti? It’s the separation of the rectus abdomonis muscle into right and left halves (if the separation is 2.7cm or more). Essentially your abdominal muscles become separated. It happens mostly with pregnant women because of the quick growth of your abdomen area from the uterus pushing on the muscles and separating them.
The problems caused are mainly cosmetic- the “mummy tummy” or pooch from the weakened and separated muscles, but can sometimes have negative affect on muscle balance as well. You could experience lower back pain, bad posture, etc.
Here is what a tummy pooch may look like-
How do I check myself to see if I have this?
- Lie down on your back with your knees bent.
- Place your fingers over the center of your abdomen.
- Nod your chin to your chest and lift your shoulders just a little while contracting your abdominal muscles (somewhat similar to a crunch).
- Feel the distance between the left and right halves of the abdominal muscles with your fingers, starting at the top and moving down the length toward your pubic bones.
If the gap is about 2 fingers width it’s fairly mild, and will most likely heal itself. However, if you have 2 fingers width or more, it may be more severe.
There are certain exercises to avoid while pregnant to help prevent getting DA, however sometimes it may just happen on it’s own. In fact, most women will have some degree of the separation, but it may be too mild to notice.
Here is a chart showing different variations of Diastasis Recti:
Exercises to avoid during pregnancy to help prevent DR would include:
- Crunches/Bicycle Crunches/Sit-Ups
- Plank Poses
- Anything with Ab Twisting
- Anything placing Strain on your abdomen
** Always be sure to check with your doctor about these exercises, there may be more than this list you need to avoid as well.