Why are there not more free resources on how diastasis recti repair on the internet? Why are people not giving proper instruction on how to properly activate the abdominal muscles, pelvic floor muscles and core to close the abdominal separation? Why is it so hard to find good, reliable and accurate information when it comes to ab exercises postpartum!?
A diastasis recti aka mummy tummy is when something that happens naturally during pregnancy along the linea alba (the rectus abdominis stretch) but there’s still a two finger width gap 6-12 weeks after baby is born between your ab muscles. There are things you can do during a workout while you’re pregnant to reduce your chances of getting a diastasis recti like avoiding crunches or doing planks later in pregnancy. For many women, the abdominals will go back together without abdominal exercises.
These are a few of the questions that I had after Tommy was born. After Connor, I went and saw a physical therapist. She wasn’t covered by insurance and she was hard to find.
During my visits we worked on building strength in the pelvic floor muscles, releasing them as well, working on proper breathing techniques to engage the abdominal wall and transverse abdominis. We worked on proper breath work by elongating my spine, having a neutral pelvis and drawing my belly button up towards my collar bone on the exhale. I got to relax a bit on the inhale. We also focused on having good posture to reduce low back pain. While I didn’t have a “pooch” or “bulge” like many many moms, I did have a minor DR and wanted to fix it before it caused me any lower back pain or intra-abdominal pressure. I was clearly seeing a lot of coning and doming during my pregnancy which was normal, but postpartum, I could still see them!
It was a great experience for me but I know not all moms have coverage for their kids so they can go spend an hour healing something that might not go back… You may not have the money to see a pelvic floor specialist or you might just not have one near you that is any good!
That is why I created this three part video series. First, check to see if you have a diastasis recti. If you do, then you’ll want to start with Stage 1 of this video series. You can do these exercises right away after childbirth. I did them 7 months postpartum because I didn’t think I had a DR. I didn’t… too much, too soon made my 2 finger “normal” gap worse at 6 months and I got one then!
DR or no DR, if you want to start doing ab exercises right after giving birth, start with stage 1. Graduate to stage 2 2-4 weeks later. Graduate to stage 3 2-4 weeks after that. I am still doing stage 3 at almost 10 months postpartum! Let me know if you have any questions below.
If you live in Boston, I saw Melissa Hines of Wellest Integrative Health and highly recommend if you are looking for a PT for your pelvic floor. Here is why I finally went to see a pelvic floor specialist despite knowing what I should and shouldn’t be doing!
If you live in Boston, I saw Melissa Hines of Wellest Integrative Health and highly recomend if you are looking for a PT for your pelvic floor. Here is why I finally went to see a pelvic floor specialist despite knowing what I should and shouldn’t be doing! I have a list of Pelvic Floor Specialists as well in Boston and surrounding suburbs if you’re interested in seeing someone who is covered by insurance.
Stage 1 – First Postpartum Ab Exercise Routine
This video above should be the first stage of diastasis recti recovery exercises. A lot of it is just proper breathing, breath work, posture, engaging the pelvic floor and connecting with your deep core muscles. You can begin these exercises if you are 2 weeks postpartum or later. Even if you are 6 months postpartum and have a diastasis recti, start here!
Stage 2 – Heel Slides, Toe Taps
Once you are comfortable with the above exercises, you can move to this next set. If you are newly postpartum, I’d wait until you are at least 6 weeks postpartum OR 2 weeks after you began phase 1.
Once you’ve mastered stage 2, feel free to move on to stage 3 which should be no sooner than 2 weeks after you begin stage 2. For some it might not be until you are 12 week postpartum so please go at your own pace ensuring that you can maintain proper core connection and you do not notice and coning or doming while you perform these exercises.
Make sure to pin this post to save for later if you are currently pregnant!
Let me know how you did on Instagram @SarahFit.