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These are the diastasis recti exercises to help repair your stomach

If your stomach needs a little postpartum healing, start with these exercises

A mom working out while pushing her baby in a stroller.
Stefan Tomic / Getty Images

Some babies are just not nice to the mother during pregnancy. Not only do they make you go to the bathroom every five minutes, but sometimes they stretch your stomach out to the point of breaking. A lot of women experience diastasis recti at some point in their pregnancy, so if you’re one of them, you aren’t alone. Don’t stress too much about your body as it recovers from baby, but if it’s worrying you, we have diastasis recti exercises to help heal your stomach. But you should also try these exercises if you develop the condition due to age, injury, or other health reasons.

The diastasis recti exercises to try

A mother and child stretching together.
Kamaji Ogino / Pexels

You should do these exercises slowly, with purpose, and at least once a week. Building up to three times a week would be great, but go at your own pace and listen to your body.

Deep abdominal movements

  • Abdominal bracing
  • Transverse abdominal breathing

It’s all about proper breathing when it comes to diastasis recti exercises. Specific breathing techniques will help minor cases, but if yours is a bit more severe, start with these and add other exercises in when you’ve mastered breathing.

Single-leg stretches

  • Alternate leg extensions
  • Single-leg drop extensions

Single-leg raises engage your core in the right way. The key is total control of your core and taking your time when you move the single leg in motion. By focusing on one leg at a time and paying attention to your breathing, single-leg exercises can help heal your core.

Heel slides

  • Heel taps
  • Heel slides

Heel exercises are great because they work your entire core.

Dead bug

  • Regular dead bug
  • Bent leg dead bug

This one is always fun to do, and it helps with your diastasis recti. If you have other kids, get them in on this exercise.

Which exercises to stay away from

Post-partum woman stretching on a yoga ball.
weerasak saeku / Shutterstock

Yes, we are telling you to not exercise. At least, we are telling you there are exercises after pregnancy to stay away from for a bit. These will either not affect your diastasis recti at all or potentially make it worse. If your doctor has cleared you for a full range of exercises, slowly add them to your routine. But until you’ve been given the green light, don’t do these!

Skip these exercises

  • Regular situps
  • Crunches
  • Russian twists
  • Ab scissors
  • Heavy lifting that would cause the stomach to protrude
  • Planks

How long it takes to notice an improvement

Mom and son doing an online workout.
Sergil Gnatiuk / Shuttterstock

This is one of those answers that vary from person to person, but on average, diastasis recti should heal within 6 to 12 months. For some, the stomach heals faster, but for others, it takes a little longer, and all of those time frames are normal. How often you do the exercises will also affect how long recovery takes.

If you had your baby over 12 months ago and want to try to correct your diastasis recti but think it’s been too long — don’t give up hope. You can start to heal those abdominals whenever you are ready. It could be years later, and you would be able to do the exercises to start the healing process. 

How to lower your risk of diastasis recti

Mom working out with her toddlers joining in
Ulza / Shutterstock

Having and trying to heal diastasis recti is not the most fun thing to deal with. And doing it while having a newborn (and possibly other kids to take care of) could be a challenge. As best as you can, try to prevent the risk of diastasis recti during your pregnancy and postpartum.

Do these things as much as possible

  • Keep your posture straight
  • Focus on deep breaths that expand your ribs
  • Roll to the side and use your arms to get out of bed, not your abs
  • Skip ab workouts once you get to 12 weeks pregnant
  • Try not to lift anything heavier than a baby

So, get yourself a yoga mat that speaks to you, put on your favorite podcast, movie, show, or music playlist, and start healing your abdominals with these exercises for diastasis recti. Start small, once a week, and build your way up to how often your body can handle it. Be kind to yourself and your body. It took almost a year to make that little human, so you’ll need at least as long to heal.

Dannielle Beardsley
Dannielle has written for various websites, online magazines, and blogs. She loves everything celebrity and her favorite…
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