Is Your Mommy Belly Not Going Away? | Diastasis Recti
Let’s be honest, pregnancy affects every part of your body. After you have had children there are very few things that remain the same on your body. You may find things are a little more jiggly than before. Among the many less than ideal after effects of pregnancy, you abdominal muscles can become separated causing you to look pregnant long after giving birth. It gives you that postpartum pooch we all work so hard to get rid of. So while you may be trying really hard to get your body back, your body may be fighting against you. Here’s what you need to know about diastasis recti, ways to prevent it and some exercises you can do to help and not harm those abdominal muscles effected.
What is diastasis recti?
A separation of the rectus abdominis muscles (the “six-pack” muscles) in your abdomen. They are long, flat muscles that run down each side of your abdomen. Your body naturally creates a gap between your rectus abdominal muscles as the child grows in your belly
These are important muscles that hold in your internal organs and stabilize your core. When these muscles stretch out as your belly expands, the body should heal on its own after delivery once your hormone levels return to normal. If the muscles don’t heal the way they are supposed to, you are left with a gap between the muscles that makes you have a belly even after you deliver your child.
How to prevent it?
The best form of prevention is to strengthen your core prior to pregnancy. Having a strong core will give your body the best chance of returning to normal after baby is born. Also, if you develop diastasis recti make sure your body is healing before any subsequent pregnancies.
How do I know if I have it?
There are a few at-home ways to determine whether you may have Diastasis Recti.
Once you have done the separation test you many have diastasis recti if you meet these conditions:
- If you have a separation of more than 2 ½ finger-widths when the muscles are contracted.
- The gap doesn’t shrink as you contract your abdominal wall.
- You can see a small mound (like a loaf of bread) protruding along the length of your midline.
Now this is the at-home test for diastasis recti, but a physician should be seen to make the final diagnosis as he can measure more accurately with instruments like ultra sound.
But there is good news. Many women can close the gap by doing gentle exercises while the abs are supported. The best exercises you can do, strengthen your core while not perpetuating the damage to your muscles. You can find the best exercises at 6 Core Exercises for New Moms with Diastasis Recti. If none of those work, you can have an abdominoplasty where the surgeon can fold and sew together the weak central ridge. The repair of this condition can also be done laparoscopically with smaller cuts and less chance of infection.