So you’ve had your baby and you are now ready to return to exercise. You want to regain your body and pre-pregnancy fitness levels…but wait! You need to return slowly and gently, and ideally in a dedicated postnatal exercise class that takes into account all the changes your body has undergone over the past nine months.
Today’s guidelines for returning safely to exercise are currently:
- 6 weeks – normal delivery, no complications
- 12 weeks – caesarean section
Abdominal separation (DRA) – what is it?
One of the major issues you are likely to encounter after having your baby is that your tummy muscles have separated in the middle. This is known as abdominal separation or Diastasis Recti (DRA). Diastasis means separation. Recti refers to your abdominal muscles, called the rectus abdominis. 90% of women experience DRA and the ‘gap’ should naturally repair in the days or weeks following birth.
In some cases it may not and this can lead to a weakness in your core. Think of your abdominal muscles as being a bit like a corset that support and protect your back – if there is a gap the corset won’t offer you the right support. If not treated correctly it could lead to back pain, poor posture and doming or bulging of the abdominals – so no crunches, twisting, plank or lifting whilst they are apart!
How do you know if you have DRA?
You can check with a simple exercise.
- Lie on your back with your feet planted on the ground
- Place your fingers two inches above your belly button and gradually lift your head and shoulders off the ground.
- If you are suffering with DRA you will feel a gap about two inches wide between your abdominal walls.
What exercises can you do?
The best exercises you can complete are deep core and Pelvic Floor exercises. This really helps to centralise all of your muscles and will act as a natural girdle helping knit them back together more effectively.
Information provided by Fit2Drop.