Ab Rehab Workout {Diastasis Recti}

I’ve been pretty fortunate to have been able to semi-snap back into shape {give or take a few pounds} after my children were born. This go around things have been slightly different in more ways than one.  I noticed my ab muscles were not returning to their normal state and I figured that maybe it was just taking a little longer because I’m not a spring chicken any more and I have three other children.  When I went in for my post-partum check up at 4 weeks I shared this with my doctor and she said it was a pretty common thing called Diastasis Recti.


That’s what I said because I had never heard of the condition before and then when I heard “recti” I was all, nope, and she was all, nope nothing to do with rectum.  LOL  So, the doctor explained that Diastasis Recti is a separation of your outer most abdominal muscles, your 6-pack, as shown below:


This condition is not only seen in women, it is seen in men and infants as well.  For the sake of this post, we’ll stick with the ladies.  For women, Diastasis Recti normally results from poor form used during exercising, excessive weight gain, multiple pregnancies, carrying a very large baby, as well as certain exercises and sports.  As it relates to pregnancy, this condition is formed when the baby carrying uterus pushes against your abdominal wall and your muscles separate into two sections.  It’s seen in 30-40% of pregnancies.  In my case, this condition was a result of over-exerting or straining my abdominal muscles during pregnancy.  Fortunately, it’s not exactly painful but uncomfortable, yes, a bit.  My abdomen is incredibly weak so I’m unsure of my strength when it comes to what I can carry, etc.

diastasis recti

diastasis recti

Since Diastasis Recti is caused by forward forceful pressure on your abdominal muscles, any movement that puts your abs in that position, should be avoided. For example, crunches, pilates 100′s, obliques, planks, etc.   You want to make sure you are avoiding all activities that stretch or overly expand the abdominal wall through everyday activities, exercise, or breathing techniques.  Specifically, here are some other activities/exercises to avoid:

  • Movements where the upper body twists and the arm on that side extends away from the body, such as “triangle pose.”
  • Exercises that require lying backward over a large exercise ball.
  • Yoga postures that stretch the abs {cow pose, up-dog, all backbends, and belly breathing}.
  • Abdominal exercises that flex the upper spine off the floor.
  • Any exercises that incorporate the “head float” position.
  • Any exercise that causes your abdominal wall to bulge out upon exertion.
  • Lifting and carrying very heavy objects.
  • Intense coughing without abdominal support.

During pregnancy or after childbirth, if you develop a cough it’s important to support your midsection.  Be sure to place your hands across your belly when you cough.  This will provide additional support, and help to prevent separation of your abdomen.

Another important thing to remember is making sure while you’re pregnant that you’re rising from the floor or out of bed properly.  With your torso and head aligned and in one piece, roll over onto your side, then use your arms to help push yourself up to a sitting position.  This is the log roll.

diastasis recti

Now you know what I’ll be doing for the next few months.  Wish me luck!




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