How to Heal Diastasis Recti

Before I was pregnant, I had no idea how my body was going to change to bring in this little person into the world. Once she was here, I felt like I had to learn how to be me again. I found out that during pregnancy my body had developed Diastasis Recti.

Diastasis Recti is the separation of the abdominal muscles. Most commonly occurs as a result of pregnancy.

 

Some women are just prone to this abdominal separation, but there are some factors that increase the likelihood of it occurring:

Carrying multiples or having a larger singleton pregnancy (baby over 9 pounds) can cause diastasis recti to form.

My daughter was 9 pounds at birth, so that was probably the cause of mine.

 

Sometimes this separation will heal on its own, but there are exercises to increase the healing process.

 

Immediately following childbirth, wearing an abdominal binder will encourage the abdominal muscles to return to mid-line and prevent any more damage to occur. I personally have used the Squeem and the Cinch abdominal binders. Neither of these roll down, but I do find that they ride up when I’m wearing them while sitting down. I like both of these products though and I think they really did help support my abs. They also just help me remember to pull in my abs and keep them tight.

 

If you have been losing weight, but that belly bulge just won’t go away… you may have diastasis recti.

 

Check too see if you have Diastasis Recti:

 

  1. Lay down on the floor with your knees bent.
  2. Place your fingers at your belly button pointing down.
  3. Slowly raise your head off the floor and feel for a separation of a finger-width or more.

When I did this test, I could feel my abs coming together when I raised my head off the floor. My separation was 2 finger-widths.

If you also feel a gap when you check, it will need to heal before you begin any traditional abdominal exercises or you will do more harm than good. (Limit crunches, planks, sit-ups)

 

After my first baby, I wore an abdominal binder for 8 weeks. I was able to move to more traditional ab exercises by 3 months.

During my second pregnancy, I could feel that my abs were stretching even more than with my first. She was a smaller baby, but my abs were just already weaker. My abs had a harder time coming back together the second post partum period too

 

 

Exercises to Avoid:

  1. Sit-ups
  2. Crunches
  3. Planks

These traditional abdominal exercises put way too much pressure on your abdominals and further complicate the separation.

Before starting these exercises, you need to strengthen your inner core to be able to hold your belly in and work like a natural girdle.

 

 

Exercises for Diastasis Recti:

Instead of traditional abdominal exercises that pull the muscles apart, we want to focus on pulling the muscles closer together.

The best thing is that you can do these anywhere!! I even did them on and off for several hours straight on a long car ride over the holidays.

One exercise that engages your core the best is to pull in your belly button like you are trying to zip up some tight jeans.

To do this, focus on pulling your belly button in as far as you can when sitting or going about your day. This simple technique will engage the transverse abdominal muscles and strengthen your natural girdle. Wearing an abdominal splint will also encourage your muscles to stay together.

As a bonus, this helps me with my posture and helps strengthen my back at the same time.

 

  1. You can pull your belly in slowly and hold it or pulse and then let go.
  2. Take a deep breath in, pull in your belly button, then slowly let the air go and control how your belly releases.
  3. Focus on posture and keeping your belly tight

 

For more exercises check out these links below:

Free Exercises From Real Simple.com

You can join Fit2Be.com (not an affiliate link, I just think it is a great plan) for a small monthly membership for at home exercises and support for healing Diastasis Recti. These will focus on strengthening your inner core and bring your abs back together.

 

 Hope these tips help you reach your goals!

 
P.S. Hey Healthy Mama! After my baby was born, I was really struggling. Not only could I not workout because of Diastais Recti, but I was really having trouble losing weight too. Here are 5 Reasons you may be struggling to lose and one tip to help! Click for More Info

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Angela Parker

Writer at Grassfed Mama
My name is Angela. I have been married for almost 10 years and have two little girls. I’m a speech therapist by trade. I am passionate about healing through nutrition, natural medicines, cooking with whole foods, and natural parenting. I strive to honor God with everything I do.
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Comments

    • I am wearing mine now!!! We are in the car headed to see family. I’m constantly pulling my abs in to engage my transverse muscle. I think just wearing the splint is a reminder to suck in and hold those muscles tight. Great job!!

  1. I healed my diastasis (only found out about it after my 6th child) using a splint and doing exercises from Fit2B.com. It’s a whole site dedicated to “Tummy Safe” exercises for women. It’s based on Tupler, but goes beyond. There is a membership fee ($9/month), but you can try it for free, and there are always coupons floating around on the internet for discounts.
    There is even a free video to show how to check for diastasis for those ladies who prefer a more visual explanation.
    So glad to see this topic discussed (I found you through Gwen’s Linkup)..as I said, I never even heard of it until this year when my 6th child was already 2!

  2. Are these exercises still useful long after birth? Babies five and six were only thirteen months apart and I spent the first year of six’s life in survival mode. A few months ago I started to get back into an exercise routine (when I began my THM journey) and noticed a gap in the vicinity of my navel. Am I too late to fix this? I hope I haven’t caused more damage by doing traditional exercises.

    • I have read about women healing their abs many years after they have kids, so you can start now! I loved the information on fit2b,us about how traditional ab exercises really don’t trim us anyways, these transverse exercises are the key to a smaller waistline. I don’t think it is ever to late to start. Hope this helps! – Angela

    • Hi from another THM-er! It’s not too late…check out the info on Fit2B. I healed mine after baby #6 was 2 1/2 and I have heard that even many years later it’s healable.

    • I replied from my phone, but apparently it didn’t show up! Yes, you can still heal your abs many years after pregnancy. Just like you can tone the rest of your body at any age. The exercises are easy and I second looking into Fit2B.us. I was very impressed with the information there and also the free videos that you can try out. Hope this helps! Angela

  3. I’ve been looking for some reliable information about this problem so thank you!

    Also, I started my blog Peace in the Pod a couple of months ago and am paying attention to how other bloggers do things. I love your transparency with your affiliate links.

    • Thanks for reading! I’m still trying to heal my diastasis . It is getting better, but I’m still having to splint. I really want it to heal before I try to get pregnant again. I’ll probably bind my belly during pregnancy though (with a maternity belt) just to help. It really is an effort to remember to keep proper posture and hold my belly in. I’m horrible at slouching. With the affiliate links, I’m trying to find a balance between not interfering with the flow of the message and being upfront (and legal). I went ahead and added a permanent message and the very top of all my post… and try to mention when I am using affiliate links. Good luck on your blog! I’m really enjoying blogging.

  4. Hi Eva! I know of women healing their separation years after childbirth, so you are not too late. For me, I needed to wear my binder about about 8 solid weeks. I wore the binder while doing the exercises and retraining my abs to hold in. Now, I’m weaning off wearing my binder and I’ll only wear if at night if I feel my abs are sore and having trouble holding my stomach in. With c-sections, I think the only time to not wear a binder is right after the surgery, so I think you would be fine now. You can learn more at Fit2B.us I love this sight for information about healing diastatis recti. Thank you so much for reading!

  5. Hi, just to make sure it gets said, please please make sure you can contract your pelvic floor while doing any of those transverse abdominis pulses. “Nature’s corset” actually pushes the viscera down. This is its job, so if the viscera is being pushed down and your pelvic floor isn’t absorbing the pressure appropriately, all those thousands of tva pulses might be doing harm. I have my own thoughts on that particular program (not all good), but the most important point is engaging the transverse abdominis needs to start from the pelvic floor and move up.

  6. I am 8 weeks postpartum, the more weight I lose the poochier my belly is. I have diastasis recti, with my first child! I just discovered Fit2Be, but am wondering if I can wear a splint now or if it’s too late??

    • I did use a waste trainer to help me for the first 8 weeks of postpartum. I wouldn’t rely too much on them or make them too tight. They can support you though while you are healing.

  7. Hello,
    I just found your site and I was wondering if this would help me or if it is too late. I had three c sections in 4 years and gained about 80 lbs because I couldn’t heal fast enough. I had my last one at 40 years old and now he is 11 years old and my oldest is 14 years old. I was getting ready to start an exercise routine and new eating style to lose weight and get in shape when I came across this site. I have a 2 inch gap below my navel and always thought the doctor cut me up my stomach because of it, I had no idea a about diastasis. recti. Is it too late 11 years late to heal or is it still possible? I would also like to find out more about the stomach binder thing

    Thank You.

    • Hey Christina! I would say it’s never too late! Whatever you work on can only improve things, so commit to it and see where you land! I wish you the very best of luck!!