Day 139: Mummy’s non-existant stomach muscles

Whilst I was pregnant I heard that as your tummy stretches and grows, your muscles stretch and effectively give way for the bambino. In some cases your stomach muscles split, this is called Diastasis recti. Yup. Like the left panel and the right panel say good bye for a few months. Yum yum, sounds great.

I’m doing exercise now because I feel ready, but those tummy muscles are no where to be seen. I lie a little bit, I have some power (more than I had straight after I gave birth) and was able to do some exercises that made my muscles ache just under my boobs (hello old friend, I’ve missed getting that ache). But I was wondering what the deal was with them. Apparently your stomach muscles only take 4 to 8 weeks to close that gap! Is that all? I’m 4 and a half months post birth and it’s still all quite weak still. But then I guess that feeling is generally from the muscles been stretched and not really in use for many months not necessarily because they had split.

It would seem that the general concensous is if you feel ready you probably are and that you might want to wait til your 6 week check up with the Dr. 6 week?! Guess I’m over that. But the reason you should wait is because you could cause injury to those muscles. To check those muscles Babycentre advises:

  • Lie flat on your back with your knees bent.
  • Place the fingers of your left hand, palm facing you, just above your belly button. Place your right hand on your upper thigh.
  • Inhale, then exhale. As you exhale, lift your head and shoulders off the floor and slide your right hand up your thigh toward your knee. This will make your abdominal muscles tighten, and you should be able to feel the gap where the muscles have separated.

If you feel a gap, ask your doctor to do a physical exam. If your doctor says it’s safe, you can gently begin to strengthen your abdominal muscles with pelvic tiltsleg slides, and crunches, or sit-ups. Once the gap narrows to only one or two finger widths, you can start doing crunches or sit-ups.

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