If you’ve been pregnant and notice extra skin on your stomach or that your tummy doesn’t quite look the same, you’re not alone.
Diastasis is a common side effect of pregnancy, but it’s not the end of the world. Many people think this will go away on their own, but like most things in life, it takes time and work to make it better.
Keep reading to learn the answer to your question, “what is diastasis?” As well as exercises to help build your muscles!
What Is Diastasis?
Diastasis recti, or sometimes called a pooch, is the space between your left and right abdomen muscles. It happens when there is a partial or complete separation of your rectus abdominis (your abs). These muscles meet at the midline of your stomach, and diastasis happens when they no longer connect.
It often happens after your pregnancy due to the uterus stretching your ab muscles to the extreme. However, it isn’t limited to pregnant women only. It can happen to newborns and men. In men, it’s due to lifting heavy weights wrong or from performing unsafe ab exercises.
If you notice extra fluff in your midsection, all hope is not lost! There are exercises you can do to rebuild these muscles, and you’re not alone.
If you’re planning to get pregnant, start strengthening your core right away. This includes exercises to improve your pelvic floor, as well as oblique muscles. Be sure to practice good form while exercising, and avoid activities that make your stomach bulge or causes your back to strain.
The best thing you can do for yourself before you get pregnant is going to a certified personal trainer. They will work with you on exercises that will keep your body in peak condition for your pregnancy.
Don’t Make It Worse
Before we tell you how to make it better, we want to tell you how to make sure it doesn’t worsen. If you notice that you have diastasis, give your stomach a break. Don’t try and overexercise it, as that can exacerbate the condition.
Especially if you’ve just given birth, you don’t want to push your body too far; it needs time to heal. You should avoid:
- Crunches, situps, or planks
- Holding your baby on one hip, if it causes pain
- Coughing without supporting your ab muscles
- Any strenuous activity that causes your ab muscles to bulge
How to Check for Diastasis
This is a great way to check at home to see if you have Diastasis. Just remember you’re not a doctor, so if you’re looking for a formal diagnosis, please see your primary care provider.
Start by laying flat on your back with your knees bent. Put your fingers on your belly button, pointing down towards your pelvis, and press down. Lift your head up about an inch while ensuring your shoulders are on the ground.
If you have diastasis, you will feel a gap between your muscles that is about an inch wide or greater.
Exercises to Help With Diastasis
Remember to exercise extreme caution when working out alone. We always recommend training with a certified personal trainer for the safest and most effective workouts.
This is one of the most fundamental exercises you can do after having a baby. It trains you to breathe with your diaphragm and how to work your transverse ab muscles.
Start by sitting in a comfortable position with a straight back. Inhale deeply, completely filling your abdomen with air. Then, exhale by squeezing your ab muscles together tight. Be sure not to move your shoulders at all while performing this exercise.
Have each inhale and exhale take three seconds, and do this for 20 seconds to start. As you become stronger, bump that up to 30 seconds.
This exercise creates an excellent basis for correcting diastasis. It’s similar to the diaphragmatic breathing, but instead, you will hold the exhale position longer.
Start in the same position by sitting straight up with a straight back. Exhale while focusing on drawing your stomach in while squeezing your ab and pelvic floor muscles. Pretend like you’re bracing your abs as if your pet, or child, is about to jump on your stomach.
Hold this position for five seconds, then release and relax. Do this five times a day.
Posterior Pelvic Tilt
This should be one of the first exercises you do before starting any other ones. It will help you activate your pelvic floor muscles, as well as build a base for other exercises.
Start by laying on your back with your knees bent and feet flat on the floor. Push your stomach down to the floor and completely flatten your back. This will rotate your pelvis into a neutral position, and there shouldn’t be any arch in your lower back.
Stay like this for five seconds before releasing. Do this five times a day.
Remember, these are just a few of the exercises you can do to help with diastasis, but that’s not all you can do.
Think You Have Diastasis? Get Help Today
If you were wondering what is diastasis and decided you may have it, it’s time for you to get help. Remember, this is common and nothing to be embarrassed about. You’re not alone in your fight to get your body back; there is help!
Reach out to Peak Physique today for expert personal training. We know it can be intimidating to start training, but we are here to help. We’ve been helping people just like you for years, and we can’t wait to be your partner!