While I was relieved that I was able to repair my own case of diastasis recti, it would have been ideal if I could have taken the necessary steps to prevent diastasis recti during pregnancy.
The last trimester of my pregnancy I had a lot of lower back pain that likely would have been considerably less had I not been suffering from diastasis recti.
There are exercises and other things you can do while you’re pregnant to minimize your chances of diastasis recti and to strengthen both your pelvic muscles and the muscles holding your abs together.
There are also exercises you should avoid during your pregnancy that could cause unwanted pressure on your abdominal muscles. The exercises you should do to prevent diastasis recti are exercises that work your inner abdominals instead of your outer abdominals the way crunches, sit-ups, yoga stretches, and more do.
The inner abdominal muscles are the Transversus Abdominus and the Lumbar Multifidus. These muscles are responsible for back support and are actually the most important muscles to work when you’re trying to strengthen your core for any reason. Sadly they’re the most neglected because most people just don’t know they need to be worked or how they can be strengthened.
Exercises/Programs to Use in Order to Prevent Diastasis Recti During Pregnancy:
- Maintain good posture: Yes I know this isn’t exactly an exercise but it’s critical in
helping to prevent diastasis recti. As your baby grows throughout your pregnancy your center of gravity changes and many women tend to develop poor posture as a result. This in turn weakens their back and their core making the chances of diastasis recti higher.
- Squat Against the Wall: (A) Stand with a stability ball behind your lower back.Step forward with both feet, keeping them hip-distance apart. Inhale to expand your belly, then exhale and contract your abs toward your spine. (B) Bend your knees to lower into a squat. Straighten your legs to standing and contract your abs even more deeply toward your spine. Repeat 20 times.
- Walking 30-60 min a couple times a week. Running may be too strenuous on your body right now and is not something you should be doing while you’re pregnant if you weren’t running regularly before you became pregnant. However, you can power walk. It’s amazing how much it helps build up your entire body by just devoting half an hour to an hour a couple times a week to walking. Just make sure to be aware of your stomach as you walk and hold it in correctly.
- Upright Pushup: (A) Stand at arm’s length from a wall with palms flat against the
wall. Inhale to expand your belly, then exhale and draw it toward your spine. (B) Press against the wall in a push-up, keeping your elbows close to your sides. As you push back to the starting position, contract your abs even more deeply toward your spine. Repeat 20 times.
- MUTU System – 12 Week Program: Wendy Powell provides a great 12 week program for moms to help with fat loss, core strength, and overall fitness. It’s an excellent guide for any mom trying to repair diastasis recti or those who are trying to get back into shape after a baby. It can also be used by mothers who are pregnant if exercise has been approved by their doctor.Using this program during your pregnancy can decrease your chances of developing diastasis recti during your pregnancy. Wendy also provides nutritional guidance and lifetime access to a community of mothers like you who have rebuilt their body with her system or who are in the process of getting it back into shape.
- Kegels: These are exercises that should be performed during your pregnancy and afterwards to strengthen the muscles in your pelvic floor. These muscles support your bladder, small intestine, uterus, and rectum. Rebuilding your pelvic floor after you have a baby is crucial to prevent bladder leakage and other issues.
To perform kegels you need to first identify your pelvic floor muscles. These are the muscles you use to stop urination mid-stream. Once you’ve identified these muscles, kegels can be performed by tightening them for ten seconds then releasing them for ten seconds. Repeat this up to ten times. As you do these don’t hold your breath; you can breathe freely. They can be performed while you’re standing, sitting, or laying down. (Another great exercise to do while you’re waiting at a red light!)
Exercises to Avoid While Pregnant:
- Full body plank exercises: These should be avoided once you reach your second trimester. There is already additional pressure on your abdominal muscles and these exercises will only increase that pressure. During your pregnancy they won’t help to strengthen your core.
- Crunches and Sit Ups
- Upward dog: As well as any other yoga exercises that cause the stomach to protrude out more than normal.
- Any exercise that requires you to lie on your back for an extended period or requires you to put too much additional pressure on your abdominal muscles. You should also avoid running, swimming, and other high intensity workouts that could cause the uterus to tear.
Thank you for Reading! If you have any additional exercises you use yourself or any comments please let me know in the comment box below!
If you want to know more about the symptoms of diastasis recti, diagnosing it, or the best exercises to repair it with choose one of the following: