Sunday, March 11, 2012

How to Avoid Abdominal Separation During Pregnancy

Diastasis recti-Abdominal Separation
How can I reduce and minimize this pregnancy condition?
Diastasis recti-

Diastasis recti is a condition where the two right and left sides of the rectus abdominis (your "six-pack" muscle) spreads apart at the body's mid-line (the linea alba). Separation occurs in response to your uterus pushing against the abdominal wall and pregnancy hormones which soften connective tissue. Separation can occur at any time in the last half of pregnancy but is most problematic after pregnancy when the abdominal wall is weak, when there is no longer a baby inside to aid support. Premature separation can also be seen as early as 20 weeks.

There are varying degrees of this condition during pregnancy
Factors during pregnancy that can cause premature separation:
Poor Posture
Daily Activities
Incorrect Exercise
Multiple Pregnancies
Subsequent pregnancies
(pregnancies too close together-) when the muscles have not returned back to their pre pregnancy strength or closure

What to do
If you want to reduce your diastasis then you 1st need to address the things you do daily. Poor posture is held over numerous hours and days and daily activities can also be done for many hours. Anything you do over a long period of time will increase this condition very quickly.

Incorrect Exercise during Pregnancy
Exercise in the gym is completed in minutes and we can easily avoid exercises that increase separation if we know what they are. All frontal Planks on the swiss ball or on the floor, full or kneeling press ups should be avoided during second and third Tri-mesters and more suitable core strength exercises should be done.
This photo was taken for this article: FRONT PLANK: As you can see there is increased pressure downwards regardless of how strong the abdominal muscles were prior to pregnancy
More information on the correct exercise to do during your pregnancy check out my website:

Poor Pre & Post Pregnancy Posture
Poor Posture can be harder to correct. Some of us may have had poor posture for many years.
Sway back posture is the main culprit of premature separation. Prior to pregnancy in a sway back posture the core and gluteus muscles along with the mid trapezius in the middle back are long and weak. This incorrect posture pushes the hips and tummy forward, weakening the abdominal muscles further pre & post pregnancy.
Sway Back Posture: Post pregnancy-long and weak abdominal muscles, hips and tummy pushing forward

If poor posture is not addressed and continues during pregnancy lower back pain is inevitable and increased separation will be caused due to the abdominal weakness and continued pushing forward of the uterus. Specific pregnancy strength and postural correction exercise are what is needed.
You need to check your own posture, as you can make the changes you need to today. Link: Pregnancy Posture

Daily Activity:
Possibly one of the worse daily activities that will increase separation is pushing a buggy incorrectly. Many of us will push a buggy several hours during the week!
Decrease weight if possible especially if walking up hill, I would always ask the oldest child to get out and walk if and when possible.
In this photograph this position you are leaning too far forward and rely on the buggy for support not your own muscles-your core strength, there is also alot of upper body tension through the neck and shoulders. In this incorrect pushing position you are pushing down from your tummy increasing separation.
In the correct position your hips are tucked under and you are supporting yourself as opposed to the other way round. You can use your glutes and leg muscles instead of your lower back muscles.There is no upper body tension.

Multiple and Subsequent Pregnancies
Subsequent pregnancies that are close together should not mean that you cannot prevent premature or an increased diastasis recti and just because you are carrying a multiple pregnancy doesn’t mean you will have increased separation. It is paramount that you close the separation after each pregnancy.

By addressing the factors I have mentioned and following a pre or post pregnancy program before commencing a pregnancy diastasis recti is reduced to a minimum therefore increasing your recovery and helping you get rid of your baby tummy quickly post birth.

Choose an exercise program during your pregnancy that will prevent diastasis! : Join our Fit2BirthMum Program today! Many more posts on diastasis on our main website 


  1. Love it! Well written and concise! Thank you for being so clear about ALL the factors that can affect diastasis recti. I love being able to send my pregnant friends to you for more info. Thank you for all you do!

  2. Any hope for mum of 2 (with 3rd coming up) who has not "closed" the gap after each pregnancy?

  3. Hi Snahita, yes think about your posture and daily activity can help reduce your condition then following a re-hab program once baby arrives will be best for you.
    Have a look at my 12 week Post Natal Program under Programs this is a safe program to follow 7-14 days post birth. You could follow for longer to correct your diastasis. You may also need to wear a support for 1-2 weeks for a couple of hours a day- Lorraine

  4. Any suggestions for baby number 4 on the way - there was 8 months between baby and 3 and conception - I have managed to close the separation however my tummy seems to curve outwards from just under my ribs. I am very mindful of my posture when carrying baby and when possible i put her in the pushchair to reduce the weight.
    Thanks - love your posts and info

  5. Hi Nadine, congrats on #4!There are definately some exercises you can be doing. If you are in your first TM I would sugest you do hip bridges and lower abdominal leg slides you could request the free program trial from my website?

  6. Any hope for mum of 2 (with 3rd coming up) who has not "closed" the gap after each pregnancy?

  7. hello, thanks for your post. Yes there is, you can definately reduce how much your abdominals separate during your third pregnancy.
    Concentrate on your posture, if in your 1st Tri-mester do isolated transverse abdominal leg slides. If in 2nd or 3rd TM do standing core exercises.
    Grab my FREE trial if you are less than 14 weeks as full of info for you, if not the programs are on special in December and are just $40!
    Hope helps

  8. I do a well known prenatal video where dr is talkd about regularly and for certain exercises you are told to not do them if you have DR. Yet we do frontal planks and knee push ups in the 2nd trimester section. What would you recommend instead?

  9. Hello yes you must not do theses exercises they will increase a DR yet many specialists still advise them or have not up-dated videos etc.
    I would suggest you do lunges, squats, ballerina's wall sits, hip bridges and these side planks: all will help strengthen your core muscles and prepare you for birth. Join my FB site @Pregnancy Exercise and have a look at the Fit2BirthMum program on my website hope helps

  10. I understand that doing the correct exercises during pregnancy can prevent me from worsening my DR, but could the correct exercises in a new pregnancy also improve previous separation?

  11. Thanks so much for all the info. I just discovered your blog and I have been reading for hours!! I'm 18w now and have been doing front planks and push-ups...I will definitely stop doing them from now on but do you think the damage has already been made? I have tried self checking for separation but I believe only have 1, maybe 1.5 fingers...

    1. Hi, thats ok, great that you have stopped now. You can definitely prevent too much further separation now and do the right exercises. Follow us on Facebook or instagram just /pregnancyexercise for both media sites for much more information and safe exercise. You could also join our awesome Fit2BirthMum program it has just been completely upgraded for 2014 have a look at it on the website, hope helps Lorraine