What are the best Exercises to Heal Stomach Separation After Birth?

 

Are you worried that despite your best efforts, your tummy still looks six months pregnant? Have you been experiencing lower back pain, or feel like you are stuck in the early postnatal stages of recovery?

All of these things may be the result of your stomach separation.

There is a lot of misleading information out there surrounding stomach separation. During pregnancy, the linea alba (a band of connective tissue which runs from breastbone to pubic bone thins and stretches to allow for the growth of your baby). This stretching and thinning is what gives the appearance that the abdominal muscles have separated. It is a natural part of pregnancy and is not something to be afraid of. Abdominal separation can usually be healed with the right exercises and movement patterns. It

In the Empowered Motherhood Program, we support our Mums to safely heal and strengthen their core so that they can feel confident in their bodies and return to the type of exercise that they love.

We would love to help you to do the same.

In this video, Titled Women’s Health Physiotherapist and Founder of the Empowered Motherhood Program Lyz Evans shows you three exercises you can do daily to connect to your transversus abdominis, improve your posture and breathing and help heal stomach separation.

And no, it's never too late to start.

Watch the video above for 3 exercises to help strengthen your core or read on to learn more about stomach separation.

What is Stomach Separation?

Stomach separation or rectus diastasis is the thinning and weakening of the linea alba. The linea alba is a band of connective tissue which stretches from your breastbone to your pubic bone. All of the muscles of your abdomen, the transversus abdominis (the deepest layer of abdominal muscle), the internal and external obliques and the rectus abdominis all connect to the linea alba.

The linea alba works like an anchor point for the abdominal muscles to connect to and generate tension from.

The linea alba stretches and thins during pregnancy to allow for the growth of your baby. This stretching and thinning is what gives the appearance that the abdominal muscles have separated.

It is a natural part of pregnancy, and it can usually be healed with the right exercises and movement patterns.

How do you heal stomach separation?

This is a complex question which involves a multi-faceted approach. In the Empowered Motherhood Program, we work with you to:

#1 Improve your breathing mechanics. The diaphragm is directly connected to the core through a complex system of fascia and connective tissue. The way that you breathe affects how your core functions. So Step #1 is learning to breathe well.

#2 Improve your Posture. Your core works optimally when your spine is in neutral. As mums, we have the tendency to slump all day long which only promotes a poochy tummy. Exercises to support a strong and healthy posture are a big part of our early postnatal recovery program.

# 3 Connect to your Transversus Abdominis

The transversus abdominis (TA) is the deepest layer of abdominal muscle and wraps like a corset from the spine all the way to the front of the belly. When transversus abdominis contracts the waist narrows slightly and the lower abdomen flattens. We all know that feeling of having a mummy tummy or still looking pregnant after birth. So learning to contract your TA is important to how confident you feel in your body. But more importantly, the role of the TA is to stabilize the low back and pelvis BEFORE you move. Because this muscle is stretched and weakened during pregnancy, we often lose this anticipatory function. This means that every time we place a load on our body, more pressure can be translated through the pelvis and lower back.

#4 Keep Progressing and Growing Stronger

We want to help you to return to the type of exercise you love. Which means progressing beyond early postnatal exercises to strong and dynamic fitness. Your core needs to support you through your daily #mumlife - not just when you are lying on your back doing toe taps! In the Empowered Motherhood Program our Core Connect Program is designed to support you as you progress from toe taps and early postnatal exercises all the way to strong, functional and dynamic core exercises. This is the missing step in most core programs and is vital if you want to return to running or any other high-intensity exercise.


 

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