Abdominal Separation After Pregnancy

Updated on October 12, 2009
M.P. asks from Tampa, FL
15 answers

Does anyone have any experience with Abdominal Separation after pregnancy? I've got it and I'm tired of being asked when my next kid is due. I've started exercising with the traditional crunches and such but I've read in a few places that you're not supposed to do that but it never says why or what else to do.

What can I do next?

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answers from Orlando on

I am the owner of Stroller Strides Central FL and pre and post natal exercise certified.
If you are AT LEAST 6 weeks postpardum then crunches and a variety of abdominal exercises are the way to go. As someone else mentioned buying one of those "belly band" type things to wear while working out will help but wrapping a towel from the back around the front and held on both sides will do the same thing.
You can email me if you have specific questions that I can answer about what is the safest or anything else. :)

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answers from Sarasota on

Try one of the pregnancy support belts( the ones you were under our big bellies!). You can get them at any matunity store. I hade the same problem you did and what I did was use that belt around my stomach for a week or two and my stomach went back to normal. You should wear it as tight as you can.

Good Luck!



answers from Miami on

I tried exercise and diet, and nothing. People still think I am pregnant and it's hurtful to hear. I have avoided the beach and pool all summer even though my little one begged to go because I feel so horribly disfigured. Seems tummy tuck is the only way to go, but they're not cheap. I'm trying to save up for one but it's not easy, I do hope to have it done before the year's over, though, if I don't get laid off by then...



answers from Orlando on

I've heard great things about this...maybe you could check it out.




answers from Sarasota on

Well, I guess that answers my question! I have it too. My son was born two years ago. I've gotten back in shape and lost the weight, but I can still put all my fingertips between my muscles, which is really creepy! Otherwise it doesn't bother me.

The teacher of my exercise class has been really great about gradually building up my abs--doing exercises that build my whole core and gently strengthen the muscles. I don't know where you are, but if you want to try it, check out www.redtigerma.com --the Moms Get Fit class.

Maybe I'll see you there!



answers from Tallahassee on

First, talk to your doctor. Exercising too soon may permanently damage your muscles and you'll never get it back. Now is not the time to guess, you know? Meanwhile, there are A LOT of stores that offer undergarments to hide and disguise tummy's and most are even comfortable now. I know Victoria's Secret has some items, but I'm not sure you'd want them for daily wear. I know Ann Taylor LOFT has a really great line in store, usually found by or in the dressing rooms. The sales people are always willing to help and are very nice. Also, there was a line featured on the Tyra (Banks) show recently made just for this purpose. Maybe you could check out their site and see get the name of that line.


answers from Orlando on

Hi M.,
I'm L., a personal trainer. Sadly, no amount of crunches or ab work will help. Your muscles have separated and they need surgery to be put back. I've trained several women who have had this and unfortunately, it's the only way.

Let me know if you have any questions.




answers from Daytona Beach on

you can check your insurance or get a referral from your dr to a physical therapist for exercises. mini-crunches, any kind of sitting motion that targets the abdominals. couldn't really find out why either. i read on one site that one PT recommended reverse crunches. where you lie down and bring your knees into your chest while raising your behind off the floor slightly. also pelvic lifts. just lifting your behind off of the floor. there's also a dvd at www.befitmom.com/abdominal. also sometimes, if it's severe enough, your insurance will actually pay for a tummy tuck bc it is a medical condition.

good luck



answers from Miami on

oh how I wish 'they' told me about this before having kids!

I have this too.
three yrs later and still have people wondering when I'm due!


one day I'll go for surgery...
but I've heard it's 'major'

good luck!



answers from San Juan on

Hi! What you have is a diastasis. Im sure if you google that word, you will get some sites that can tell you how to repair it. Basically, the muscles separate during pregnancy b/c of poor mechanics (sitting straight up from a lying flat on back position, like on the OB's exam table) in combination with the relaxin hormone. Once they separate, you need to bring them back together so they can act like a girdle & unless you fix it, the crunches won't do much.....& may make the separation worse. It can also lead to problems down the road...lower back pain, hernia etc
What you can do.......lie on the floor on your back with a towel or long blanket around your waist. When you lift your head, like you do in crunching, bring the 2 ends of the towel over each other, so that you are pulling it snugly around your torso. This will help bring the separated muscles back together. You can also do the same thing but using your hands to bring them together. Also, try to be mindful of pulling your belly in during the course of the day, maybe at stop lights when you are driving.
I think a good post partum dvd would help too...to you make sure you are doing core exercises that take the diastasis into consideration.
You have taken the first step, which is figuring out that you have one (most women don't even know about it) & now you can fix it...& you can fix it!! Do you know how large your diastasis is? If it is very wide, you may need extra help, but don't run straight away to surgery. Some can be fixed with exercise ! Don't be discouraged!!!! All the best!!!!



answers from Tampa on

I also have diastasis, if yours is severe you need to see a DR, not only for the cosmetic side of it, but bc it can be dangerous in severe cases because nothing is there to keep things like your intestines to fall forward.
My diastasis is not severe, but it does bother me quite a bit. You do not want to do crunches because it can make it worse; I have found that Pilateshas helped to strengthen my core and made the diastasis less noticable.
There is a great pilates place in New Tampa/Wesley Chapel area that is very one on one with a personal trainer and more affordable than your local gym - if you would like to try it message me and I will give you the info :)



answers from Sarasota on

The book "Lose Your Mummy Tummy" by Julie Tupler and Jodie Gould talks about this and provides appropriate exercises. The authors go through the anatomy of the condition and talk about when surgery is needed and when it is not. I would get this book, read through it, talk to your doctor about it and go from there.

Hope this helps.




answers from Sarasota on

A friend of mine suggested holding a towel around my waist and pulling it tight at my abs when I did crunches. It took me a good 6 months of regular exercise (I did a variety of abdominal exercises) before people stopped asking me when I was due and a 1 1/2 years before I felt relatively comfortable with the way my abs looked.

The best abdominal workout I found is called Core Rhythms Secret to Sexy Abs.

Good luck! (Our kids are worth it ;)



answers from Jacksonville on

Hi M.!

I have the same problem you do. I have two children and was told that I had Diastasis Recti (abdominal separation) with my first. My second pregnancy made it worse - it was really painful after about 7 months since I basically had nothing to hold up my tummy. I wore an abdominal binder for several weeks after giving birth; it didn't help much except to act like my abdominal muscles are supposed to and hold all my insides in place. Like the previous poster wrote, there really isn't anything you can do except surgery to correct this. I'm having abdominoplasty in 10 days to finally fix my middle, and I can't wait! If you want to email me personally to find out more, please don't hesitate.




answers from Miami on

I also had abdominal separation or diastasis recti. There is a potential to correct through specific exercises (see Julie Tupler's book or info on website) NOT regular crunches. If the diastasis recti is very wide like mine was, (5 fingers across) it may also be referred to as a abdominal hernia or ventral hernia and may need to be repaired through surgery. (Probably not what you want to hear....) Depending on your insurance, it may be covered. You should go see a general surgeon to have it evaluated. In the mean time, stay away from traditional crunches and learn other "core" exercises.

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