What exercises help eliminate diastasis recti?

Dr. Michael Roizen, MD
Internal Medicine
These are some exercises that will help tighten your core and eliminate the separation in your abdominal muscles some women have after giving birth (called a diastasis recti). And ultimately, this can be your lifelong program for strengthening and maintaining your entire core area. (Note: Don't do crunches, sit-ups, and heavy lifting if you have diastasis recti; they can aggravate a separation.)
  1. Pull-Ins: Keep the natural arch of your lower back and draw your navel in toward your spine. You can do this standing, sitting, or lying down. Start by doing 20 or so a couple of times a day, beginning the day after you have the baby, and work up to doing 50 to 100 of them twice a day.
  2. Leg Slides Against the Floor: Lie on your back with your knees bent and feet flat on the floor. Find your neutral spine position, with your lower back just slightly off the floor. While keeping your back completely still, slowly slide one foot out along the floor until the leg is straight and pull it back in again. The arch in your spine should remain constant. Once you can do 20 repetitions with each leg while maintaining a stable spine and without detecting any ridge or bulge in your abdomen, you can move on to our next exercise. You may liberally use pillows to support the area under the knees to help keep the lower back as close to the floor as possible (not arching the spine beyond its natural arch).
  3. Leg Slides with One Leg Lifted: Assume the same position as above. Lift one foot off the floor with the knee still bent. Extend the leg out as you did before, but this time keeping your toes a few inches above the floor. Do 20 repetitions on each side while keeping a neutral spine. Once you can do the 20 repetitions while maintaining a neutral spine and flat abdomen, you can move on to the next exercise.
  4. Single Leg Floor Touch: From the same starting position, lift one leg off the floor keeping the knee bent. Now lift the other leg up to meet that leg. Keeping one leg still and keeping both knees bent, slowly lower one leg toward the floor until your foot touches the floor, and bring it back up. Once you can do 20 repetitions on each side, move to the next exercise.
YOU: Having a Baby: The Owner's Manual to a Happy and Healthy Pregnancy

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.