Important Message from Park Slope Parents (PSP):
Before starting any new diet and exercise program please check with your doctor and clear any exercise and/or diet changes with them. Just a reminder, PSP member posts are not checked for accuracy. The content is for general informational purposes only and is not a substitute for medical advice. www.parkslopeparents.com is not intended to, and does not, provide medical advice diagnosis or treatment. Never disregard professional medical advice, or delay in seeking it, because of something you have read on the PSP groups or on the www.parkslopeparents.com website.
Per our disclaimer above, do check with a pro. From WebMD's article on diastasis treatment:
"Do be careful with exercise. Some routine fitness moves, including crunches, sit-ups, pushups, press-ups, and front planks, make abdominal separation worse." Read more >
As one member writes:
"I had diastasis recti postpartum and the midwife said not to do any abdominal workout because that would build the muscle in separation, so just to wait. That was frustrating but I followed instructions. And I don't have it now. So don't strain yourself and naturally time is supposed to heal it. It takes time may be a year. Hope that helps a little."
Want to talk to someone about your diastasis? Here are PSP member recommendations for post natal physical therapists and diastasis help.
After you've consulted with a pro, here are things PSP members did:
"I didn't get rid of my diasatis until I did workouts at Pure Barre starting last year. If you don't want to go to a class (they are a little pricey) there are plank challenges that could work if you are dedicated. They typically start with a 20 second plank, working up your plank time every day and then adding arm and leg movements to get even stronger. Just as a warning I tried Barre a year before i started going regularly and didn't go back after the first time for almost a year because it was just too hard. it's a really tough workout but the worst of it is over in the first 10 minutes of class and then it moves on to arms legs and then more traditional abs."
The Mutu System:
"I also did Mutu System online which I highly recommend. hope this helps!...it was about $100 and includes PT exercises and workouts along with a Facebook group. I did the whole program - when I showed her the 'core' exercises she said they were similar to what she would prescribe. You can do it all at home with fairly basic equipment too. I am not affiliated, just found it a good resource."
"There is also Katy Bowman's stuff which is more involved, somewhat unnecessarily so IMO, but i did some of the things she recommends (only wearing zero drop shoes etc.) Her posts on rib thrusting were really helpful for me and I still have to work on keeping my ribs down when I walk..."
"I found this video online -- annoyingly pricey, but I do like her workouts (starts slow, pretty short sessions which makes it more likely I can get it done during baby nap!)"
Do check your insurance:
"Not a lot of people and medical practitioners know it, but you can get insurance to cover PT for diastasis post birth (depends on insurance I assume). After I had my #2 and was OK-ed for exercises, I got a referral from my midwife and went to the medical PT. I essentially went to her while I was on maternity leave as one would go to private training sessions, which was both motivating and actual time to do the exercises (I brought my son with me). I tried doing them at home too, but it didn't last long. It helps a bit, but you really have to stick to it. I heard that Pilates helps too, but you have to do it privately (I did a group lesson for a while between #1 and #2, and it was mostly just fun). I can't remember which belt I used, but I remember going through a few until i found one that was pretty sturdy. i also used size M at first and then "graduated' to size S."
Do be gentle on yourself, and do take time to heal:
"When the diastasis recti stuff is healed and you can do exercises again, I downloaded a free 7minute workout app - NYT has an article that the 7min workout is designed to be the most efficient / give you the same benefits as a real one. So I challenged myself to do it 2-3 times a week, again, made it a "treat" to do after baby went to sleep, while I watched a show. weekend afternoons, my daughter saw me doing them, and she'd imitate my wall sit, or lunges ("dinosaur steps"), or she'd lay on teh floor facing up and I'd kiss her forehead while I did pushups. it helped make me feel strong again and I liked doing it w/ my child, in a way.
Do wear a compression belt:
"Right after baby I wore one of these compression belts for as long and as often as I could. It helped hold things together and heal back (belly bandit, link above, there are numerous kinds)."
Do make time to do videos:
"And then I youtubed diastasis recti and there are enough free videos to get you started, so I did those as often as I could... i.e. I treated myself after my babe fell asleep by catching up on a show on dvr, laying on my back doing the diastasis recti exercises I learned from a few youtube videos."
"I like to work out in the morning with a DVD. First thing in the morning though, even if you wake up earlier than the kids. I find that if it doesn't get done in the morning, it doesn't get done at all.
Alternatively, you could hire a sitter for two hours in the morning to entertain kiddos while you workout and shower etc."
PSP recommendations for local services:
Post Natal Physical Therapists and Diastasis Help