Learn how to flatten your mummy tummy
Diastasis recti, the medical term for separation of the abdominal muscles, is very common during and after pregnancy – and it’s the primary cause of that dreaded mummy tummy. Diastasis recti is not a tear, but a sideways stretch that separates the two halves of the rectus abdominis, the 6-pack muscles. In addition to pregnancy, there are other causes of diastasis recti. For example, deep visceral fat resulting in a classic ‘beer belly’ can force the abdominal muscles to separate. And surprisingly, many traditional abs exercises that bulge the abdominal muscles forward (including crunches, sit-ups and many Pilates-based exercises) can induce or worsen diastsis recti because they exert forward, forceful pressure on the abdominal wall.
Diastasis recti is undesirable for a few reasons. First of all, it weakens the support for your back, increasing the risk of back pain. Secondly, it weakens your push muscles -leading to a potentially longer, more difficult labor. And finally, diastasis recti results in a mummy tummy that will not go away, no matter how many crunches you perform or how skinny you get.
The good news is that this sideways stretch is both preventable and reversible without surgery! The key lies in therapeutic activation of the transverse abdominis, your deepest abdominal muscle. This muscle activation serves to protect the integrity of the abdominal wall during pregnancy. This exercise is very simple and in as little as 10 minutes a day you will see a visible change in less than 8 weeks. Check out The Dia Method website for more info. After delivery, this same muscle engagement works to restore pre-baby tone and function. If you want to speed up the healing process, you could also consider wearing a corset! See my post on corsets for more info.