After you’ve had your baby, you’ll want two things:
- Snugs with bub
- Your body to feel “normal” again
We’re pretty sure you’ve got the first one covered (preferably with a super soft fleecy blankie), but the second? Honey, that’s our territory.
And we know that abdominal separation is one situation that can keep you from feeling normal for a long, long time.
We don’t want that for you, babe.
Imagine your abs just simply disappearing. Poof!
Could you get up? Sit up from bed? Lunge forward to catch popcorn on movie night? Chances are, probably not.
And that’s what happens when you have an abdominal separation. Your right side separates from your left side, straight down the middle. It’s like a bad fight between besties, and with any separation like that, both sides are going to need some extra help to bridge that gap – which can sometimes be *eight plus centimeters* wide!
Abdominal separation can occur anytime during pregnancy or labor and delivery, so prevention is key. But if you’ve given birth and you’ve got a separation, don’t sweat it!
With the right care, abdominal separation is entirely fixable.
We’ve got the strategies you need to repair the breach and reunite your lovely abs (and get you back to dominating the popcorn catching game).
How to check for abdominal separation
First, you’ll want to search for any abdominal separation you’ve got already. Just like your OB might measure your dilation during labor, you can do an easy finger-check for abdominal separation.
Here’s a simple way to self-check:
- Lay flat on your back with your knees bent.
- Using two fingers, find the midline of your abdomen approximately 8cm north of your belly button and press straight down (no need to be aggressive, we’re just assessing here!).
- Gently lift your head and shoulders just off the floor to engage your abs.
- See how many fingers (each one is about a cm wide) you can fit into the gap. It might be none, it might be more.
How NOT to heal your abdominal separation
Whether you’re pregnant or postpartum, the moves to prevent or heal abdominal separation are the same.
Here are some moves to avoid like your mother-in-law:
- Do old school sit-ups (unless you want your abs to open up like the Grand Canyon!)
- Sit up straight out of bed.
- Do anything that “domes” your belly.
When lying down, instead of doing movements that cause your tummy to crunch like a sit-up, try rolling to the side first instead.
For example, when your sweet babe cries, don’t rush out of bed and hurt your separated abs. Just like when you were pregnant, try rolling to your side first then push yourself up with your arms.
With abdominal separation, preventing more harm is half the work of healing!
Four moves that heal abdominal separation
Think of your deep abs as a party planner, and let her plan an actually fun, definitely-not-lame family reunion for the ages between your left and right abdominals.
Engaging your core once daily with these simple exercises will help draw everything in safely.
Let’s get this party started!
CORE EXERCISE 1- Deep ab activation:
- In a hands and knees position, keep your spine straight and let your belly hang loose (and celebrate your amazing birth accomplishment, you sexy devil!)
- As you exhale, gently draw your pelvic floor inward and your hip bones in the front toward one another . This is NOT cats and cows in yoga—keep your spine straight!
- Keep your tummy and pelvic floor engaged, but breathe normally.
- Hold for 10 seconds x 10 reps
CORE EXERCISE 2 – Quadruped plank:
- In the same position, tuck your toes under and hover your knees just off the ground
- Keep that beautiful straight spine
- Don’t forget to breathe evenly.
- Hold for 30 seconds x 2 reps, working up to 60 seconds in one hit
CORE EXERCISE 3 – Around the world push-ups:
- On hands and knees, engage your pelvic floor and core. Keep your back long and your booty tucked.
- Bend your elbows and lower your chest/then travel forward/then up and back to the start.
- Exhale with the movement.
- Repeat for 10 reps x 2 sets
CORE EXERCISE 4 – Engaged squats:
- With feet shoulder-width apart, engage your pelvic floor and core and keep a long spine.
- Bend your knees and keep them behind your toes, with your weight in the heels.
- Try to get your thighs parallel to the floor as you exhale.
- Inhale and return to start.
- Repeat for 10 reps x 2 sets
Hey girl! We’ve got more quick moves where those came from.
Find us on Instagram for more safe exercises that will get you fit the smart way!