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Fitness Corner: The Low-Down on Diastasis Recti

With Parenting Now!’s Mother’s Day 5K coming up, we stopped to chat with Baby Boot Camp-Eugene’s Owner and Lead Instructor Annie Mills about a common health issue many new moms face—Diastasis Recti.

Q: What is Diastasis Recti?

A: Moms I talk with often complain about a belly “pooch” that seems to never go away after having one or more children. Diastasis Recti (DR) develops when the connective tissue between the right and left abdominal muscles separate during late pregnancy. It is not a life-threatening condition, but is one that should be assessed and addressed within three to four weeks after delivery. DR can lead to lifelong issues such as low back pain, inadequate support of your internal organs, tight hamstrings, and a weak pelvic floor resulting in incontinence (do you pee a little when you jump, laugh, or run?). Healing your DR can assist you in achieving optimal wellness beyond the childbearing years.

Side planks (on knees) are safe to do if you have Diastasis Recti.

Q: How do I know if I have Diastasis Recti?

A: Your healthcare provider can check to see if you have DR.  It involves you lying on your back while doing a head float, then checking for separation in your abdominal muscles.

Q: What movements are safe to do if you have DR?

A: Always check with your health care provider before starting an exercise regime during pregnancy or postpartum. In general, the following exercises are safe to do:

  • Side plank on knees (no twisting)
  • Heel slides

  • Seated hamstring stretch

  • Bird dog extensions
  • Reverse table top with toe taps and heel slides

  • “Pinhole” breathing to engage the muscle layers in your abdominal wall
Bird Dog extensions are another safe exercise to try if you have DR.

Q: Are there exercises you should avoid if you have DR?

A: Some exercises can worsen your DR. If possible, avoid:

  • Crunches

  • Sit-ups

  • Plank on toes

  • Push-ups on toes

  • Exercises involving torso twisting
  • Deep belly breathing
  • Pilates-style hundreds
  • Yoga boats
  • V-sits

Q: Is there anything you can do to prevent DR?

A: Stay active during your pregnancy and learn how to engage your transverse abdominus muscles. Roll to your left side every time you get out of bed or up from a mat-based exercises to avoid putting additional pressure on your abdominal muscles and connective tissue.

Parenting Now!’s Mother’s Day 5K is on Sunday, May 12, 2019. The run/walk starts at 10 am, with a FREE Marvelous Little Fun Run starting at 9:15 am and a Jazzercise warm up at 9:45 am. To register, visit: https://parentingnow.org/mothers-day-5k/

Annie Mills is the
owner and lead instructor of 
Baby Boot Camp Eugene, OR, and a Core9 Birth Recovery & Diastasis Repair Licensed Provider & Certified Instructor. For a list of upcoming dates, visit: https://babybootcamp-eugenecentralnorth.pike13.com/schedule

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