What exercises can I do to help with my Diastasis Recti?
The dos and don't when it comes to core muscles after having a baby.
Up to 60% of women after having a baby will suffer with a medical condition called Diastasis Recti. When you are pregnant and carrying your baby, your body will adapt to allow room for the baby to grow and
your organs to move to allow the baby to grow safely. Your abdominal muscles separate to allow the expansion of your stomach as you progress in your pregnancy. After you give birth over time your abdominal muscles should naturally come back together, however sometimes this doesn't happen. Roughly you have a year to a year and a half to bring those core muscles back together or unfortunately it will become difficult as time goes on to bring them back together naturally. Some cases women can end up with a hernia or prolapse and have to go down the surgical route.
Now this is where I come in as a Pre and Post Natal Specialist Coach. Most of my post natal women who come to me have either Diastasis Recti or Pelvic Floor issues. In less than 60 seconds I can tell my client not only that she has Diastasis Recti but also how much of a separation she may have. In most cases it is only 1-2 fingers however in worst case scenarios the mother could have a separation of 5 fingers. If you would like to know if you have this condition then please contact me via the chat and we can book in a free consultation.
The biggest failing is there isn't enough support after giving birth for these conditions even though like I said above 60% of women can suffer with this. So today I am going to give you 5 exercises you can do at home to start your journey on stregthening and pulling in those core muscles. I can hear you saying " is it just lots of sit ups?" No it is not, when starting out this is one of the worst exercise you can do, to start you need to start back at basics. Through all these exercises I am going to show you I never want you to hold your breath, I want you to exhale on the 'doing part' of the exercise and inhale on returning to your 'start position.'' I would complete the reps I have stated do the exercises one after the other like a circuit, then have 90 seconds rest before completely it a further 2 more times. 3 rounds in total.
Pelvic tilts- lay your back against the floor, feet in towards your bottom, lay head flat on floor, on the exhale pull your belly button in and up, tilt your pelvis to the ceiling whilst keeping shoulders and upper back flat on the ground and produce a slight arch in the lower back, on the inhale lower your pelvis back down to Strat position. repeat 8-10 reps
Knee raises- laying flat on your back. head backwards, feet towards your bottom. on the exhale lift one leg up towards your chest and push with 2 of your hands on the knee. On the inhale lower leg back down then repeat with other leg. 8-10 reps.
Heel slides- Laying on your back, head on floor, arms out to side, feet towards bottom. On the exhale slide your foot and heel towards the ground so leg flat on floor then on inhale bring back to start position then swap legs. You don't need your leg to go completely flat on floor just go to a position that you feel it but doesn't cause too much strain on the core muscles. 8-10 reps
Glute bridges-Lay on your back, head on floor, feet towards bottom at a right angle. On the exhale push your feet into the ground, pull belly button in and up and push pelvis up to the ceiling lifting bottom off the floor, squeeze those booty muscles. On the inhale slowly bring your pelvis back to the start position. 8-10 reps.
Arm pass overs- laying on your back have your feet towards your bottom at a right angle. have hands on your thighs. On the exhale swoop your arm up and above your head, on inhale return to start position then swap arms. To make this exercise more challenging on the exhale and when you swoop your arm above your head tuck your chin in and lift your head. Then on inhale and swooping arm back to start position lay your head back down. 8-10 reps.
This Circuit can be completed in 15 minutes and I would recommend doing it every other day. Having a rest day in-between. Please note only start doing these exercises once you get the all clear from your midwife.
Women's bodies are amazing, we grow a little human inside us and our bodies just adapt to what is needed of it. Our core muscles automatically will separate to make room for our little bundle of joy, Our babies come into the world and our maternal instinct kicks in and all we want to do is making sure our baby thrives however we do need to take time out of our day to care for our bodies too. Think your body has just grown a little human for 9 months, gave birth to this little human and we are now responsible in keeping it alive. Do we have time to give our body some tlc. Most of the time is no as there isn't enough hours in the day let alone have time to exercise! This is why women are having irreversible damage when it comes to our core and pelvic floor muscles.
If you're reading this when your baby is napping, don't worry about the house and the cleaning take 15 minutes to do the exercises above. Your body deserves some TLC and you deserve some 'you time." I am going to leave you with some questions like I do with all my blogs, please feel free to leave a comment and pass on to someone you know who might find this blog helpful. Have you suffered with Diastasis Recti? What worked and what didn't work for you? Is there enough help out there for these conditions? But remember guys "let's keep it real."