Diastasis Recti: How to Get Rid of the Mommy Tummy


Have you ever seen pictures of celebrity who sports a super flat tummy right after giving birth? What you probably saw is a good amount of photoshop in these pictures and not reality. I had the unrealistic expectation that I would bounce right back after giving birth and was quite surprised that I almost looked as pregnant as before for the first couple of days after giving birth. As a matter of fact, it will actually take a while for the uterus and hence the belly to shrink back. A lot of moms will actually see some lower belly pouch, often called the mommy tummy, even a long time after baby’s birth.

Diastasis Recti

The reason your belly still sticks out months or years after childbirth might be due to a condition called diastasis recti which is an abdominal separation. It’s relatively common: up to an estimated 1 in 2 women experience diastasis recti postpartum. It usually starts during pregnancy. Around two-thirds of all pregnant women have that abdominal separation. As your belly expands, your abdominal muscles open up. The left and right sides of the abdominal muscles separate to make space for the baby. 

Diastasis Recti: How to Get Rid of the Mommy Tummy Bella Behar Contributor Miami Moms Blog
Photo credit: @kardioyoga

How to check if you have diastasis recti:

After 12 weeks of giving birth, the gap should have closed by itself but sometimes it does not. You can do a simple self-test to check if it is still there:

Step 1: Lie flat on your back with your knees bent and your feet flat on the floor as if you were about to perform a crunch

Step 2: Place your three middle fingers of one hand above your belly button

Step 3: Tuck your chin in and lift up your head

Step 4: If you feel a gap that is wider than two fingers, you might have diastasis recti

How can you get rid of the abdominal gap:

There are some Yoga and Pilates poses that are great for closing the gap such as bird dogs (see photos), cat-cow pose, etc. There are a lot of videos on YouTube that provide you with workouts that heal your diastasis recti. One of my favorite fit mom bloggers is @diaryofafitmommyofficial who made a whole guide including helpful workouts. Fun fact: adding Kegels to these workouts can make them extra effective. And we all know they have other benefits, too.

Diastasis Recti: How to Get Rid of the Mommy Tummy Bella Behar Contributor Miami Moms Blog
Photo credit: @isabelita305

What exercises to avoid:

Any exercises where you bulge your belly can increase the gap and should be avoided. Some of these exercises are crunches, twisting and rotating moves, any type of plank, and sit-ups.

Clearly, you need to consult with your doctor before performing any exercises after pregnancy. Also, it is important to emphasize that women’s bodies come in different forms and shapes and that is not necessary to stress yourself out about bouncing back right after giving birth. Your body just created a human being and did amazing things!