Many women end up having diastasis recti, or abdominal separation, after giving birth. It's a condition in which the center connective tissue between the two sides of your abdominal muscles stretches and results in a gap between your abdominal muscles. If you've been working and working to get your flat stomach back, and haven't been seeing any results, you may have diastasis recti.
Diastasis recti is more common in women over 35, those who give birth to multiples, who have children with a higher birth weight, or have been pregnant multiple times. Technically, it is not detrimental to a woman's health however cosmetically speaking, it can be quite bothersome for women who have it.
To test yourself, lay on your back with you feet flat on the floor, knees up. Place your fingers just above your belly button and gently push into your stomach. Lift your head and shoulders off the floor and into a crunch, contracting your abdominal muscles. Feel how far apart the two sides of your abdominal muscles are, testing above, at, and below your belly button. If the gap is two fingers or wider (some people say three), your connective tissues could use some healing.
If you have determined you have abdominal separation, there are exercises you can do to help heal the separation. Take a look at this video from The Bump Room:
In addition to exercises to heal your abdominal separation, you can also use nutrition to help heal the separation. Since the separation is caused by stretching of the connective tissue between the two sets of muscles, you can use foods to boost connective tissue repair.
Foods that are high in vitamin C and A, zinc, and collagen will help keep your connective tissues healthy. Here are some easy ways to boost your nutrition:
Eat grass fed beef and pastured chickens
Consume bone broth made from the bones of these grass fed and pastured animals. See my recipe here. Use it to make soups and sauces.
Add fish to your diet, especially those high in healthy fats
Add a side of sweet potatoes to your lunch and dinner
Snack on oranges and kiwis
If you're planning to get pregnant, you can do these exercises and eat these foods ahead of time to prepare your body and help it heal quicker after giving birth.
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Medical information from:
MedlinePlus Medical Encyclopedia: Diastasis Recti
Harms, M.D., Roger W. "Why do abdominal muscles sometimes separate during pregnancy?"
Photo by: Liz Davenport