Are you missing your pre-pregnancy flat belly? If you have tried multiple workout regimes and diets, and still not been able to get to the shape that you were before you got pregnant, it might be worthwhile to check if you have Diastasis Recti. In this condition, abdominal muscles separate and create a gap in the midline of the abdomen. This either occurs during pregnancy or as a result of excessive strain on the abdominal muscles. It usually leads to a protruding belly and weakened core muscles.
While strain on abdominal muscles is natural during pregnancy, there are various practical ways that you can adopt to ensure that your body is ready to come back into shape after the birth of your baby. Health Shots got in touch with fitness expert and Fit India ambassador Wanitha Ashok who tells us how to do this. “While gaining weight is required in pregnancy, this must be healthy weight. Watch out for unhealthy calories and exercise regularly,” she says.
Besides diet, posture is another very important factor during pregnancy that can impact the risk of diastasis recti. “Maintaining a proper posture, strengthening the core even during pregnancy and not lifting heavy weights without guidance are important factors. During pregnancy or postpartum, roll to one side and use your arms to push up out of bed,” advises Ashok.
You must know how to determine whether you have Diastasis Recti or not. It’s common for new mothers to not be able to concentrate on their health once their bundle of joy is born. However, it’s important to note certain symptoms that point to Diastasis Recti and go to a healthcare professional in case these occur persistently.
“Diastasis Recti is not a medical condition per se. However, if you are experiencing abdominal pain, bulging or protrusion in the abdomen, or difficulty with core strength and stability, it may be a sign of diastasis recti, which is a separation of the abdominal muscles. A healthcare professional can diagnose and suggest appropriate treatment,” says Wanitha Ashok.
Here are a few exercises for strengthening the muscles in the midsection and improve core stability, which can help alleviate symptoms of diastasis recti. However, there are a few points to remember,. “You need to start at your own pace, and then steadily increase this as you get stronger. It’s advisable to consult a doctor before starting a new exercise program,” says Ashok.
Lie down and bend your knees. Your feet should be on the floor. Tighten your abdominal muscles and tilt your pelvis towards your ribs, flattening your back against the floor. Hold for a few seconds, then release. Repeat 10-15 times.
Put your hands directly under your shoulders. Engage your core muscles and straighten your legs, so your body forms a straight line from head to heels. Hold for 10-20 seconds, then release. This time must gradually be increased.
Keep an idea of your risk of weight-related issues.
Check BMIPut your feet flat on the floor and place yourself on the edge of your chair. Place your hands on the sides of the chair for support. Lift one knee towards your chest, engaging your abdominal muscles as you do so. Get your foot back to the floor and repeat on the other side. Aim for 10-15 repetitions on each leg.
Put your feet hip-wide apart and stand up. Put your arms at your sides. Slowly slide one hand down the side of your leg towards your knee, while reaching the other arm overhead. Return to the starting position and repeat on the other side. Perform 10-15 repetitions on each side.
Put your back against a wall and feet shoulder-width apart. Slide down into a squat position, keeping your back against the wall and your knees aligned with your ankles. Hold for 10-20 seconds, then slowly stand back up. Repeat 10-15 times.
Start on your hands and knees, with your hands directly under your shoulders and knees under your hips. Extend one arm and the opposite leg straight out, keeping your back flat and core engaged. Hold for a few seconds, then return to the starting position and repeat on the other side. Aim for 10-15 repetitions on each side.