Before you even think about doing any exercises after pregnancy, firstly get an all clear from your doctor. (6-8 weeks after surgery). I waited till week 8 and gently started performing low impact exercises, concentrating on core repairing and healing of the diastasis recti. To check for this separation simply perform a self-test to determine whether you do have diastasis recti, a gap in between your right and left abdominal wall muscles that can result in a protruding pooch if overlooked. I recommend starting by repairing this abdominal separation that has occurred during pregnancy before starting anything too strenuous, as it is really important to work on building a strong core foundation to avoid any injury or doming (tummy becoming rounded in formation). You want this gap to be less than 2 finger gap at least before any hard core exercises, It is really important to be patient and work on building a strong core foundation to see better results.
Remember it doesn’t matter when you had a baby, repairing that core is still very important at any stage.
Here are my favourite 3 xercises to help you repair that core and pelvic alignments and heal the diastasis recti. These exercises listed below will also help with the lower back stress caused from listing your baby, or car seats by improving your posture. These exercises will help strengthen the core muscles, which can provide support for pelvic alignment. These gentle exercise should not only help strengthen your abdominal muscles affected by diastasis recti, but also work on strengthening your glutes, hamstrings at the same time.
1. Pelvic Tilt Exercise- through a gentle scooping motion
Lie on your back with your knees bent. Contract your stomach muscles and tighten them by pulling in and imagining your belly button moving toward your spine. You should feel like your back is pressing to the floor by gently tilting your pelvis in towards your chest. Repeat up to 12-15 times.
2. Core Contraction exercise -imagine you are zipping them in like you would with a corset
Standing or lying flat, focus your attention on the center of your abdomen, take a deep breath, and pull your stomach muscles into that central point. Hold for five breaths and release. Repeat up to 12-15 times, and then slowly work your way up to longer periods or if lying flat is still not easy especially after c-section then
Sit on a bench or chair and place both hands on your abdomen. Inhale and expand your belly, feeling your hands move out. Exhale and contract your abdominals—imagine pulling them in all the way to your spine. Maintain the contraction for 30 counts (to make sure you don’t hold your breath, count out loud).
3. Glute Bridge exercise (not only is it good for repairing that core but it also strengthens and tone your glutes “that toned bum” and hamstrings. Lying flat on your back, suck in your stomach and pull your legs up into a 45° angle. Place a folded towel or small pillow between your knees, and lift your butt into the air. Make sure to keep your stomach tucked in. Hold for a count of five and release. Repeat up to 12-15 times, working your way up with the repetitions and sets on all the exercises.
You tube has good demonstrations on all these exercises and instructors on performing diastasis recti tests….
Avoid all exercises that will stress your core such as frontal planks, all twisting movements such as oblique twists, all crunches, pushups etc