The post baby tummy that no amount of exercise could ever get rid of...
Diastasis Recti is what i'm talking about.
It's where the 6 pack area (the Rectus Abdominis muscle) separates
A third of 1st time mums and c.70% of mums with 2 or more kiddes are suspected to have some degree of abdominal separation.
It usually occurs in the third trimester of pregnancy where either side of the abdomen pull apart under the strain of your growing baby . And it can be a contribution to the 'mummy tummy' where the tum sticks out and down. It can also contribute to pelvic floor weakness & back pain.
How to know if you have it.
You may see a doming of your lower abs. Or if you lie on your back, contract your abs and press gently above and below your navel. If you can feel a soft spot or gap between the muscles, then you likely have a separation. One to two finger-widths is normal and should close on its own. If your gap is wider than three finger-widths, it may not be a bad idea to contact your doctor for further advise.
Will it close
It will reduce on its own, but a slight gap may remain. If you are worried or concerned, consult your doctor.
What should I do if I notice or think I have this
Avoid any crunch or sit-up exercises throughout pregnancy and afterwards, ideally until the gap has healed. Anything which causes the tummy to dome out should be avoided - even after pregnancy.
Looking at and correcting your alignment and posture can help. As can strengthening up your TVAs (Transverse Abdominis) & pelvic floor.
As your core starts to reconnect with the pelvic floor & work correctly, then your deep core muscles will draw your stomach flatter, bringing the two sides of the split muscles towards each other and strengthening the connective mid-line.
Once the gap has closed, you should continue to slowly rebuild and strengthen your deep core muscles and pelvic floor to ensure the muscles stay knitted together. Even with exercise, this is a slow process and can take up to 12 months.
Without that deep core engagement, if you continue to do heavy ab workouts, you'll just be shifting pressure to the areas above and below, which can cause further separation, imbalance and other injuries. It is key to first restore your core muscles to optimum functionality.
Want some guidance? Join us for some gentle yoga or book in for some 121 personal training with AJfitness.
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