At almost 11 weeks postpartum my body is still healing. Two pregnancies in two years was a lot for my body. Yes, I have Diastasis Recti. I did after my first pregnancy too. For some women, their Diastasis Recti heals quickly. For others, like me, it takes more time.
Diastasis Recti healing must be a whole body approach. Nothing works in isolation and there could be a number of things to consider. Although the separation often gets the most attention, I encourage you to look beyond “the gap.” By tapping into the entire body, we will get better results and function long term.
3 Tips for Healing Diastasis Recti
1. Focus on breathing: breathing dictates how our core responds. Breathing seems simple, right? But, during pregnancy the baby pushes up on the diaphragm, and pushes out our ribs. That makes it hard to breathe! A great breathing pattern involves expansion of the front, sides, and back. Belly breathing, for example, places a lot of stress on the midline fascia, making it harder to heal.
2. Release your back: This is a big problem area for me. I could lay on a foam roller all day! In pregnancy this is a normal pattern that develops as gravity shifts and the uterus grows. Postpartum, the tightness tends to stick around with altered posture and glute clenching.
Some of my favorite exercises for thoracic rotation / back release include:
- Diaphragmatic Breathing
- Open Book
- Deep Squat with Rotation : option to sit on a yoga block for support.
- Runner’s Lunge with Rotation
- Thoracic Mobility on Foam Roller
In addition to releasing your back, add some rotation and movement through the midline. Back tightness may be a sign you’re not utilizing your abdominals. Your QL muscle may tighten due to lack of lateral abdominal use (I strained my QL while pregnant). Consider adding rotation exercises like side plank, lunges, or pallof press variations. I love this staggered stance pallof rotation from MamasteFit.
Reference: Here are some my favorite QL stretches.
3. Postural Awareness: There is no perfect posture, but being aware of our tendencies and where our body likes to live is great feedback. I took a photo of myself pregnant and postpartum just so I could see where I like to hang out. This photo gives me clues on what muscles may need some release, and what muscles may use some strength work. Generally speaking, the mid/low traps, abdominals, and glutes are great areas to focus on. We bend over to pick up things all the time. We need mid-back strength. Otherwise other muscles jump in, like the QL muscle.
The body is all connected. Honestly, I think it’s SO cool. There are so many things to consider when it comes to Diastasis Recti, even digestion and gut health (MamasteFit had a post on this recently). But, becoming more aware of of how our body moves through space, how we breathe, and adding some movement and rotation are a few things to consider.
Feel good mama.