Baby Hints & Tips

Diastasis recti exercises – what you need to know before falling pregnant again

Are you planning to have another baby this year? Have you got your Pre Pregnancy shape back from your last pregnancy?Expert tips on diastasis recti by Lorraine Scapens from PregnancyExercisediastasis recti exercises

If you still have your post baby tummy then your stomach muscles may have not healed from your previous pregnancy. This means you could possibly have a diastasis.

Diastasis recti is a condition where the two right and left sides of the rectus abdominis (your “six-pack” muscle) spreads apart at the body’s mid-line (the linea alba). Separation occurs in response to your uterus pushing against the abdominal wall and pregnancy hormones softening connective tissue. Separation can occur at any time in the last half of pregnancy, but is most problematic after pregnancy when the abdominal wall is weak, when there is no longer a baby inside to aid support.

Do I have diastasis recti?

Diastasis Recti Test

Many women aren’t aware of the separation occurring as you feel no symptoms or pain during pregnancy. It is only when baby is out that many women start to suffer from lower back and hip pain or notice many months late that they can’t get rid of their post baby tummy. You may find that with a subsequent pregnancy you could look six months pregnant when you are just three months and have increased lower back pain! So if you have a diastasis, you need to do something about it and address it before it’s too late. Start the exercises before you get pregnant or, if you are pregnant already, during your first trimester.

If you strengthen your core muscles with specific exercises that you can fit into your daily routine, it will help heal your diastasis. Corrective exercise also address muscle imbalances which can lead to increased pain in pregnancy and poor presentation of baby in the third trimester. So it’s really important that you follow an exercise program. You do need to be careful though as there are many exercises that will increase this condition such as crunches, frontal planks, Pilates 100’s and twisting movements. Be aware of personal trainers/instructors teaching these as safe pre and post pregnancy exercises.

Diastasis Recti Exercises

Here are links to two exercises that will help heal your separated tummy muscles and reduce lower back pain. You can do them pre pregnancy and up to 15 weeks pregnant.

Post Pregnancy Leg Slides
Post Pregnancy Hip Bridge

The exercises will only take 5-10mins, 4-5 times a week. This is achievable even if you have 2 or 3 other children running around. It is also important that you make sure that you are activating important core muscles correctly. Click for instructions on Correct Activation of TVA-Transverse Abdominal. If you would like a full Pre or Post Exercise & Health Program, check out my website. http://pregnancyexercise.co.nz


Lorraine Scapens

Lorraine is a Personal Trainer and Corrective Exercise Specialist with 20 years experience training pregnant and post natal women. She has specialized in Pregnancy and Post Natal Exercise for more than 15 Years. Her websites are Pregnancy Exercise and Turning Baby, and you can read her blog here. She is also on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube. You can contact her at lorraine@pregnancyexercise.co.nz. To see all of Lorraine’s articles, click here.


Disclaimer: This information is general advice only, and you are advised to discuss any concerns you may have with your GP or midwife, or before starting a new exercise regime. Lorraine is not able to provide you with medical advice. You cannot hold Lorraine liable in any way for injuries that may occur whilst training.

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