After my pregnancy, I lost all the baby weight I had gained plus a few extra pounds and I was ecstatic! The scale was showing me what I wanted to see but when I looked in the mirror something was off. Little did I know that this small imperfection would haunt me for years to come. Confession time - I had a pooch! Don’t get me wrong; in the right outfit and if I hold my stomach in you would think my stomach was back to pre-pregnancy status, but I knew better. I had a darn pooch!

 

For many years I dieted and exercised to get rid of the darn thing but it wouldn’t budge. So I gave up. That plus a high stress job and a hectic schedule, I gained some weight. A few years ago, I embarked on yet another diet and exercise regime and again, I lost weight. I was fit as a fiddle, well-toned and well-shaped, except for the darn pooch!

 

A year ago, I was reading and stumbled upon this thing called diastasis recti. The name alone had me intrigued so I went exploring. To my surprise I discovered that diastasis recti is another by-product of my pregnancy. Again I thought, “Wow, these boys are a joy to have but they really f*#ked me over!” So this post is for all the expectant mothers, the new mothers and the old mothers (like me) that may not have identified the reason for their pooch.

 

Simply put, diastasis recti is a separation of the abdominal muscles and it often occurs during pregnancy. I found these articles on the BeFit-Mom and Parents Magazine websites most helpful. Checking for diastasis recti is actually really easy; follow these simple steps from BeFit-Mom or watch this video.

  • Lie on your back with your knees bent, and the soles of your feet on the floor.
  • Place one hand behind your head, and the other hand on your abdomen, with your fingertips across your midline-parallel with your waistline- at the level of your belly button.
  • With your abdominal wall relaxed, gently press your fingertips into your abdomen.
  • Roll your upper body off the floor into a "crunch," making sure that your ribcage moves closer to your pelvis.
  • Move your fingertips back and forth across your midline, feeling for the right and left sides of your rectus abdominis muscle. Test for separation at, above, and below your belly button.

 

If you have diastasis recti, don’t think that any abdominal exercise will help to close the gap; some can actually make it worse. And it was just my luck that I was doing the wrong ones all these years! Some exercises to avoid are Russian twists and similar exercises, yoga poses that stretch the abs, crunches and its related exercises and Pilates exercises that utilize the “head float” position. Check out examples of these and other exercises to avoid in this video.

 

Okay, so we are getting to the encouraging part; these are the exercises I have been doing that you can also do to close the gap and repair your abs.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=myj3Vs8IrzY

 

Are you struggling with a pooch? Maybe this is your answer. Share your story and let’s fight the fight together.