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7 HOLISTIC WAYS TO PREVENT DIASTASIS RECTI
This one is for the mamas-to-be! Are you at risk for diastasis recti? If your abdominal muscles are something you’re worried about during pregnancy, then hear me out.
Studies show that diastasis recti affects almost half of all pregnant women. So, if you find yourself concerned about this condition, you are definitely not alone. Simply put, diastasis recti is the separation of abdominal muscles during and after pregnancy. Though it isn’t always avoidable, I’ve put together a list of tips to help you prevent diastasis recti. And even better, these are all things that you can easily incorporate into your busy schedule.
We know that diastasis recti can lead to self-confidence issues, lower back pain, pelvic floor pain, and even incontinence. I work with so many women who just want to start their journey as a new mom feeling as good as possible, and if you’re looking for ways to holistically prevent abdominal separation, this is the blog for you.
Here are seven of my favorite, simple ways to prevent diastasis recti:
1. Wear a Supportive Belly Band
Your body is carrying a whole new load, going through massive changes, and experiencing new pressures, especially in your abdomen! Using a pregnancy support band can help to take some of the strain off your abdomen and may help to prevent or reduce diastasis recti. Belly bands like this one will help support your muscles and are an easy way to prevent diastasis recti throughout your pregnancy.
2. Lift Heavy Objects Slowly
I know you’re strong mama, but even so, proper lifting techniques are really important, especially during pregnancy. Your body is changing rapidly and it's important to give your abdominals the consideration they deserve. Lift heavy objects (including children) slowly and smoothly to avoid sudden strains on your muscles.
In your day-to-day life, when lifting anything heavier than 10 pounds, focus on engaging your leg muscles rather than your abs. Lift slowly and smoothly to avoid sudden strains on your abdominal muscles as these can lead to increased risk for diastasis recti.
3. Stay Active and Add Strength Training
There are so many benefits to exercising regularly during pregnancy, and the prevention of diastasis recti is just another one of the reasons to keep up with your routine.
It’s important that when you exercise, you pay attention to your abdomen. Make sure to engage your core in all of your workouts. Regular walks, prenatal yoga, swimming, and weight lifting are all excellent ways to keep moving and protect your abdomen.
Avoid crunches or deep twist exercises and instead focus on moves that work your whole core, like Pilates or yoga. As always during pregnancy, if something feels too uncomfortable or painful, stop the movement.
When I’m working with clients, I let them in on a little secret: weight lifting is an excellent way to stay fit during pregnancy. Strength training regularly with weights can help you balance out the hormonal and ligament changes affecting your body during pregnancy. Recent studies show that women who remained active throughout their pregnancies had shorter labors, fewer complications, and healthier babies. I can help you with pregnancy-safe workouts to keep you fit and healthy while protecting your most precious cargo.
Try the BodyByBree Pregnancy Program to learn how to engage your muscles and do pregnancy safe workouts that won’t put an extra strain on your abdomen. It progresses with you through your pregnancy so the exercises you are doing are safe for your stage of pregnancy and help prepare your body for birth the closer you get to your delivery date.
4. Focus on Your Breath
When you hold your breath during exercise, unnecessary pressure is put on the abdominal muscles which may lead to an increased risk of muscle separation. Breathe deeply and evenly, especially when working out. Remember to exhale as you lift weights or move through each yoga pose. Focusing on your breath and breathing deeply throughout your pregnancy has massive benefits for both your labor and your postpartum recovery.
To learn how to do roper 360 or TVA breathing, watch my YouTube tutorial here:
5. Sleep on Your Side During Pregnancy
This one is my favorite tip because it’s just so easy! The hours you spend sleeping are a great opportunity to take the pressure off your abdomen and heal those muscles. Side sleeping is recommended during pregnancy for a variety of reasons, but it also helps to prevent diastasis recti.
Try sleeping on your side with a pillow behind your back for support. Sleeping on your side can also help to improve circulation and reduce the risk of swelling. You’ll feel more comfortable and be on your way to preventing diastasis recti.
6. Avoid Constipation
Healthy food options keep your system regular and your tummy happy! Eating well throughout pregnancy is not only important for both you and baby, but it also helps to prevent long-term discomfort or conditions like diastasis recti. I can help you meet your nutritional goals and develop intuitive eating habits.
Constipation happens to many pregnant people, but it doesn't have to be a part of your pregnancy journey. Stay hydrated and eat a high-fiber diet to keep constipation at bay. Preventing constipation is super important as it can cause bulging and pressure on the abdominal wall during pregnancy. If necessary, consult your doctor about stool softener options.
7. Practice Good Posture
In this prenatal world of new aches and pains, good posture will make your pregnancy journey more comfortable, but it can also help prevent diastasis recti. Standing and sitting up straight helps to prevent back pain and also takes the pressure off your abdominal muscles. Stretch breaks throughout the day can be helpful if you find yourself slouching.
Listen to your body! During pregnancy, this becomes even more important. Caring for your changing body is the best way to ensure you will be ready to care for your new baby.
I’m here to help with holistic lifestyle changes that can help prevent diastasis recti and prepare for motherhood with nutritional plans, fitness regimens, and more. If you have any concerns about preventing diastasis recti or other pregnancy-related issues, be sure to consult your doctor or midwife. Download our FREE Postpartum Core Repair Guide for more information about healing after pregnancy.
If you are interested in safe, specialized training for women, visit our programs page. Bree is a certified personal trainer and pre- and postnatal specialist as well as certified in nutrition, mindfulness and meditation, and behavioral change coaching. The BodyByBree Pregnancy Training Programs are designed to support holistic health for women by teaching safe and sustainable habits in movement, nutrition, and mindset that give you the tools to enjoy a lifetime of health.
I'm a mom of 3 (+ 1 on the way) and have been a certified personal trainer with specialties in pre- and postnatal fitness for 13 years. I'm also a certified nutrition specialist and certified meditation and mindfulness coach.
I am passionate about helping women change their lifestyles to be the healthiest, happiest versions of themselves and I've seen it happen for thousands of women.
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