I want to talk about Diastasis Recti and how you go about healing it post-pregnancy, between pregnancies, or if you’re many years into this mom-ing gig.
I described diastasis recti and how to assess yourself for it in this article, so be sure to read that to you understand the ins and outs.
Let’s review super quick.
What is diastasis recti?
Diastasis is a really common occurrence in pregnancy (note: it doesn’t just happen in pregnancy or simply from being pregnant in everyBODY).
There is connective tissue that holds the 2 halves of your rectus abdominus muscles together – it runs down the middle of your belly and is called the linea alba.
During pregnancy, the linea alba will stretch to accommodate your growing babe and, as a result, this means there can be a greater than normal width between them.Basically everything you need to know about diastasis recti, with a yoga pants (let’s be real, everyday pants) comparison – what could be better?
That stretch, that thinning of the fabric…that’s kinda what diastasis recti is like.
The connective tissue becomes more stretched, not as dense, not as “thick”, which is what leads to the abdominal muscles having a separation between them.
THIS IS FINE. Do not stress. This often needs to happen.
Here’s my diastasis mantra: Prevent the severity in pregnancy, heal the belly well postpartum.
Great news! It absolutely can be done. I watch my To Pregnancy & Beyond tribe of mama’s do it all the time. I just went through the process myself this past summer (I’m now 7 months postpartum).
Here are 3 exercises I want you to start practicing immediately, that will help you heal your diastasis and will help you regain total confidence in your core and pelvic floor.
1). The Core + Floor Connection: You can do this wherever you are right now. Put your hands on either side or your ribcage, or one hand on your low belly and the other on the side of your ribs.
Inhale and feel nice expansion through the ribs, gently into the belly, and think about the front of your hip bones getting slightly wider wider apart.
Exhale to gently lift the pelvic floor up and into the body, and think about bringing the front of your hip bones back in closer together. Think about using 30% of your max effort here – it’s easy, not aggressive.
As you return to inhale, really focus on letting go of that “lifting” you felt through the pelvic floor and the belly. Let it gooooo! This is key.
Do 10 slow breaths.
2). Heel Slides: You’re going to use the Core + Floor Connection on each rep in this exercise.
Lying on your back, hands on the hip bones, exhale and slowly extend one leg out straight – hovering it above the floor.
Remember as you exhale, you’ll gently lift “up and in” with the pelvic floor muscles and imagine the front of your hip bones getting closer together. You should feel deep tension in your abs, between the front of your hip bones.
Keep the pelvis completely stable. Inhale to bend the leg back in.
Do 8-10 reps each side.
3). Glute Bridge: You might be doing bridges already, but I want you to do them BETTER.
Watch this bonus tutorial video so I can cue you through this exercise on video. This exercise looks simple but the technique is really important, especially when healing diastasis.
Exhale to lift the pelvic floor “up and in”, then lift the hips up by squeezing your glutes (aka. the booty). You are going to keep your ribs down in front.
I don’t want you to raise the body super high – just steady, strong, and stable.
Inhale to return back down to the floor. The upper and lower body move as on unit throughout.
Do 10-15 reps.
You can do these exercises every day. I want you to practice them on at least 3 days per week, for 1-2 sets.
• For more exercises to help heal your body after birth, see my 8-week Core + Floor Restore program for the full system.
• If you’ve had a C-section and want to regain abdominal muscle strength, the Core + Floor Restore for C-Section program is for you.