I had heard about diastasis recti before, but I was hoping to escape it during pregnancy. Well….I didn’t. Somewhere in my second trimester I discovered that when I sat up, my stomach formed a peak.
Diastasis recti is when the abdominal muscles separate. Between 35 and 62% of women have diastasis recti. It is very important to know if you have it and to take the steps to heal it, as this abdominal separation is closely linked with the pelvic floor muscles. If you get those muscles out of whack, you will potentially encounter other problems, such as incontinence or organ prolapse.
It is possible to close this gap, though, even if you have had it for years.
One might think that the best way to close this gap is to just work out your abdominal muscles. I thought sit-ups should be able to quickly close gap. It turns out, sit-ups can actually be detrimental. The key is to close the diastasis recti working the muscles from the inside out, not the outside in (which is what sit-ups do). If you focus on the outer abdominals, it is possible to actually make the diastasis separation worse.
Here is a great video that explains more about what diastasis recti is, how to see if you have it, and some great exercises for closing it. This is a great post with information and accompanying photos.
One of my favorite workouts has been Lindsay Brin’s postnatal boot camp. She also has a YouTube channel, Moms Into Fitness, with some great workout videos with some specifically tailored for those with diastasis.