How To Get Rid Of The Postpartum Belly Pooch?

When you’re pregnant, you are excited and happy about your growing bump and how your baby is protruding out of you. But after your delivery, when you still look pregnant is when women have a long face. Many women face a condition called as diastasis recti. Diastasis recti preserve the fat inside your body despite you following a healthy diet and exercise routine. Here is everything you need to know about diastasis recti.

What Is Diastasis Recti?

There is a vertical space between the left and right abdominal wall muscles which widens your waistline and your makes a belly pooch. When the muscles move sideways, the integrity of the core in the front is affected adversely. This condition is called as diastasis recti. The gap between the two abdominal walls is measured by spacing two or three fingers. Studies show that diastasis recti can occur either below or above the naval. According to the Brazilian Journal Of Physical Therapy, 68% women have diastasis recti above the naval while 32% have it below.


What Causes Diastasis Recti?

Once you deliver the baby, your uterus takes some time to shrink back to its size. When your uterus doesn’t shrink back and your hormones too are wild and raging, this state can cause diastasis recti. When you’re pregnant, your hormones cause the connective tissue linea alba to think out so as to make room for the growing baby. Once you give birth, your hormones need to come back to the pre-pregnancy levels. Once your hormone levels are back to normal, this helps thicken the linea alba to its former state. But in some cases, the elasticity is so high that the connective tissue fails to regain its pre-pregnancy state.

Side Effects Of Diastasis Recti

Diastasis recti affect the pelvis and lower back as the muscles are connected to these parts. If you’re suffering from diastasis recti, you will notice your pelvic floor weakening and you will also experience pain in the hips. Diastasis recti can also cause urinary continence. Further, the abdominal walls are weak due to which, they cannot hold organs in their place. This could lead to digestive problems sometimes. A few women might lean backward due to the weak abdominal muscles causing a fault in the posture.


When Does The Spacing In Diastasis Recti Begin?

Diastasis recti is not an instant condition that you develop. Th spacing between your abdominal walls may have started well before you were even pregnant. Once you are pregnant, the hormones progesterone and relaxin are on the peak in opening up the connective tissue, linea alba for birthing. But, the amount of relaxin in each woman is different and thus the effect too. This acts as a problem in figuring out the degree of relaxin activity. Most women develop diastasis recti by their third trimester. In order to curb or prevent it, you need to opt for the right exercises.

Can You Prevent Diastasis Recti?

The best time to start working is when you’re still pregnant. Start working towards preventing a gap from growing between your abdominal walls when you’re carrying. One way is to lie on one side with your head and torso in line. Use your arm to push yourself up to a sit up position when you get out of the couch, bed or floor.


Add exercises that strengthen abdominal muscles to your daily exercise routine. Practice core compression exercises which pull the belly to the spine. Resistance training and cardiovascular exercises are also a good way of preventing diastasis recti. However, before you perform any exercise, consult your doctor, discuss with your healthcare practitioner about it.

Apart from these exercises, staying active and performing your daily chores will correct any gap in the abdominal wall muscles.


What Should You Not Do?

Crunches are one exercise that can worsen your diastasis recti condition. so, avoid doing crunches. Crunches exert pressure on your midline and could increase your belly pooch. Similarly, pilates and planks too should be avoided. If you’ve already been doing any of these exercises, you may have already developed a gap. Unless you experience sharp unbearable pain or have a hernia, no plastic surgery is required to correct this condition.


How Can I Check for Diastasis Recti?

Lie on your back with your knees slightly bent. Keep your feet firmly on the floor and place one hand on your belly. Make sure your fingers are on your naval. Now, with your shoulders firm on the floor, raise your head like a mini crunch like posture. Press your finger gently on your naval. If there is a gap, you will feel it in terms of two, three, or more fingers’ spacing.


What Are The Chances Of Developing It?

Diastasis recti is more likely to occur in petite women. Women who have a history of a hernia are prone to this condition. Also, women who have poor muscle tone, multiple pregnancies, an unstable pelvis or a bad back posture have more chances of developing diastasis recti. Also, if you’ve suffered from this condition in any of your previous pregnancies, the chances of recurring in your following pregnancies are high.

A Corrective Surgery

A corrective surgery can be performed to get rid of this belly pooch. the corrective surgery involves tucking in your tummy to remove the excess fat and skin present. However, surgery must be your last resort. There are plenty of exercises and other remedies that will help you get over this condition.