New mothers may notice that they still look pregnant after weeks or even months of having their baby. If you find yourself in a similar situation, you may be wondering that extra bulge may be due to the weight you gained while pregnant. Although it is possible, it may also be because of how your abdominal muscles and tissue separated during pregnancy. Health professionals call this condition diastasis recti, and although about 60% of mothers can have it, men and even babies may experience diastasis recti. Although this belly bulge is mostly an eyesore, it can bring some pain and mobility problems. If you are looking at how to fix diastasis recti, your options range from natural to surgery.

The Causes of Diastasis Recti

Most mothers are familiar with diastasis recti. They even call it the post-baby belly or pooch. It happens because the rectus abdominis, AKA, your abs, move aside to make room for your growing belly during pregnancy. Connective tissues, particularly the linea alba, also thin out and stretch. After giving birth, these muscles and tissues can take time before they return to normal. For some mothers, this return to normal may never even happen. The muscles and connective tissues become so stretched that they lose their elasticity, like an overstretched rubber band.

Men can also have diastasis recti. In their case, the belly bulge may be due to overdeveloped rectus abdominis and obliques with an underdeveloped transverse abdominis. It is easy to overdevelop the rectus abdominis and obliques because these are the muscles you see in the mirror. In contrast, developing and transverse abdominis is more challenging because it resides in the deepest part of your abdominal area. Men’s bodies will try to compensate for this imbalance by holding their breath and tensing the upper body’s muscles, such as lifting heavy weights. These actions further push the abdominal wall outside, stretching and separating the muscles and connective tissues like the linea alba. The consequence is diastasis recti.

Other causes of diastasis recti include obesity and excess weight. Babies with premature births can also have diastasis recti because their abdominal muscles and tissues are not yet done developing. Fortunately, this issue will resolve on its own.

Why You May Not Want Surgery

Adults looking into how to fix diastasis recti have a few options. Surgery is one of them, but this is, of course, the last resort. Surgery will be expensive. It is mostly cosmetic, so insurances are unlikely to cover it. Recovery from the surgery can also take months. During that time, you will have drains and take some medications for up to two weeks. You may even have to wear an abdominal binder. Such conditions will also force you off work and even your family.

Read More: Best Exercises for Pregnant Women

The Natural Alternative

The natural way on how to fix diastasis recti involves special exercises. Most exercises can aggravate diastasis recti. However, health professionals like physicians and physical therapists that specialize in postpartum care design these therapeutic exercises to promote repair and strengthen your abdominal area. These exercises help fix your diastasis recti, but they can also keep you healthy and moving, unlike surgery. Men can also benefit from such exercises for their diastasis recti.

Whatever the cause of that belly bulge or pooch is, there is a natural way to address it. Several mothers can swear on these therapeutic exercises for diastasis recti for helping them reclaim their postpartum lives. By choosing this natural method, not only will you look better, you will feel better too.

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