During pregnancy, your body needs to adapt to your growing baby so the abdominal muscles will begin to move away from the midline of your core. This is known as diastasis rectus abdominis (DRA). This is made possible thanks to the connective tissue called the Linea Alba. To learn more about DRA, click here
Your body is pretty incredible when you think about it. It makes all of these changes to support a pregnancy.
With that being said, your Linea Alba loses tension and post-pregnancy, leaves you with that “mom pooch” or “mummy tummy”
If you feel like you still look 6-months pregnant and you’re 6-months postpartum, it may be that your DRA hasn’t completely healed.
You may be feeling a little back or hip pain, or feeling a little unstable on your feet despite all of your core training efforts in the gym. This is typically because your core isn’t able to support your spine properly. This can leave you vulnerable to pelvic floor injuries like incontinence (unintentionally peeing your pants).
Now, you don’t need to stress because you can take steps to minimize and heal your DRA.
In Post-Baby Rehab, you will regain your core and pelvic floor function while building full-body strenght. This one of a kind program is recommended by pelvic floor physiotherapists in complementing treatment plans with their patients. You can do Post-Baby Rehab in the comforts of home in less than 30 minutes a few times a week. Post-Baby Rehab is a fitness program that truly helps in postpartum recovery.
Alignment is Gold
Standing (or sitting) in a neutral position is the most ideal. This allows the diaphragm to be seated directly above the pelvic floor which allows the deep core system to work together as one unit.
How to stand in neutral
Stand with your feet facing straight ahead and directly under your hip bones. Think perineum directly above your ankles. Noe behind and front forward.
Stack your ribs directly over your hips.
Allow a slight arch in your lower back so that your bum is untucked and not clinched
Focus on maintaining a tall spine.
When healing your DRA, it’s best to practice neutral posture whenever possible in exercise and in everyday life.
Consider Your Pelvic Floor
In addition to neutral alignment, your pelvic floor is just as important in supporting your tummy. Your pelvic floor is a dynamic muscle that needs to be able to move freely but just like every other muscle in your body, it needs to be trained. And like any other muscle, your pelvic floor can become tight as well as weak.
When it comes to improving the function of your pelvic floor, how you breathe is essential.
Core Breath Seated
How You Exercise
Exercise is excellent in healing your DRA. I love how Julie Wiebe PT says that you need to load a DRA to heal a DRA. This means, you need to exercise to build a strong, solid, and functional DRA.
With that being said, it’s not about closing the gap, so try to to focus too much on that. Remember the Linea Alba? That’s what we’re after!
You see, the gap may not close but you can have a fully functional core and still have a DRA. You can also have 6 pack abs and still have a DRA or a non-functional DRA.
So how do you exercise when trying to heal your DRA, you ask?
Here are a couple of examples.
Exhale, squeeze your bum, and lift the hips upwards until the body is in a straight line from shoulders to knees
Inhale to return back down to the floor
Side Lying Leg Lift
Lying on your side, making sure that your head, spine,and hips are aligned and not rotated
With your knees at 90 degrees and inhale
Exhale and raise the top leg then lower back down
If you need extra stability, place your hand on your hips.
As you can see, these exercises don’t include crunches and planks. If returning to crunches and planks is your goal, make sure your core and pelvic floor are both functioning well.
Other exercise that should be avoided when healing DRA
Front loaded planks or push-ups
Double leg lifts
When it comes to healing your DRA, be patient with yourself. This may take some time. But if you keep working during the healing process, you will have a tummy that’s stronger than ever!