Body After Baby 2.0: Fixing Diastasis Recti?
Let's start this with a little disclaimer: I am NOT a fitness expert, personal trainer, nutritionist, etc. I am a MOM. This is what helped me, my body isn't perfect, nor do I claim it is but it has grown two babies, birthed them, and so far also nourished those boys with milk for 23+ months. They are my motivation for everything, I want to be the healthiest I can be for them and for me. I want to be happy in my skin and I will to continue to put in the effort to be my best self.
Second, if you are searching for high quality and comfortable activewear, look no further. I am OBSESSED with my gear from The Aloha Stride I typically workout in more than a sports bra, and I just love their leggings, shorts, really all of it.
Ok back to business. Birthing my boys is seriously the two best days of my life. I openly LOVE labor and birth, however, there are a ton of fun aftermaths that come along with the gift of growing and pushing out a baby. I am assuming if you are reading this, you know a little about the "mommy tummy" or bulge that diastase recti can cause. It doesn't matter how much of the baby weight you lose, that midsection just doesn't seem to want to change and continues to make you look like you might be pregnant again....
I was rather lucky that my midwife checked me for diastasis at my follow up 6 week appointment because I otherwise wouldn't have had a clue what it was or even worse, I would have probably done exercises that made it worse! Medically speaking, diastisis is a separation of 2.7cms between the ab muscles, but you can check at home and measure by how many fingers you can fit in the space. I had more than a 3 (almost 4!) finger gap so my midwife told me to avoid crunches, sit-ups, and planks.
Aside from avoiding those exercises I didn't focus much on my diastasis recti when trying to get my body back after Brody was born. I knew the second time would be harder but after losing the weight and not the tummy bulge, I took to google to find out WHY this wasn't going away? I was below my pre pregnancy weight but I looked worse than ever in my midsection.
That's when I discovered that in order to get myself where I wanted to be I had to close the separation in my abs and pull those muscles back together. I needed to find exercises to target my inner ab muscles not the outer. Below are the top 4 exercises I focused on that brought my 3 finger gap down to less than 1 finger.
1. Hip Bridge: Start with your body flat on the floor and lift your hips up.
2. Squats: Wall sits also do the trick, make sure to keep your core engaged.
3. Side planks: I clearly don't have the best form, but these suckers are harder than they look!
4. Bird Dog/Superman: I really think this one was crucial for me, I still have some sagging skin that hangs down in this position but I think that is here to stay, or maybe time will help. Im fine with it either way.
I focused a lot on keeping my core engaged correctly through these exercises (although I'm sure I could use a ton of work on my form, practice makes perfect people!). After a few months of consistency, my 3+ finger gap is now about 1 finger. If you want to check yourself for the separation, lay flat on your back and do a crunch, once your head is lifted you can feel the separation. Watch this youtube video for a better explanation HERE