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After birth- your stomach muscles

During pregnancy your abdominal muscles are under immense pressure. The uterus stretches the muscles in the abdomen to accommodate your growing baby.

The separation of the abdominal muscles is called "diastasis recti" and this is likely to continue post birth.

It sounds really scary but is nothing to worry about.


The most common symptoms is a bulge in the stomach or a "pooch". You may also suffer with lower back pain, constipation, bloating, and poor posture.

If you experience any extreme abdominal, back, or pelvic pain, see your doctor right away.

Self check

  1. Lie on your back, legs bent, feet flat on the floor.

  2. Raise your shoulders up off the floor slightly, supporting your head with one hand, and look down at your tummy

  3. Move your other hand above and below your bellybutton, and all along your midline ab muscles. See if you can fit any fingers in the gaps between your muscles.

  4. If you feel a gap, or separation of one to two finger lengths, you likely have a moderate case of diastasis recti. After a few weeks postpartum, the gap will start to narrow as your muscles regain strength

What can I do

  • Avoid any heavy lifting

  • Practice good posture.

  • Support your lower back when sitting with a pillow or pregnancy cushion behind you.

  • Complete some gentle exercises to strengthen the gap safely

What to avoid

  • any strenuous exercises where your ab muscles are bulging out such as planks or crunches

  • High impact exercises such as HIIT / running / contact sports

  • holding your baby on one hip

  • lifting or carrying anything heavy

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