Diastasis Recti: Drew Barrymore shares the secret to fixing her 'mommy-pooch'

“Women are having children all the time, and no one’s talking about how their body is forever changed,” —Drew Barrymore (Getty Images)
“Women are having children all the time, and no one’s talking about how their body is forever changed,” —Drew Barrymore (Getty Images)

A few month after I gave birth to my son, a Youtube vlogger introduced me to the term 'Diastasis Recti'.

As she was explaining the post-partum condition she was going through, I recognised it instantly as to why my stomach still looked too big months after delivery.

I've found it hard to uncover straight talk about the issue. Other new moms either do not know about it, because all I ever see is about it is mostly online conversations. But no more!

Actress and mother of two, Drew Barrymore has been vocal about her challenge with Diastasis Recti. Speaking in an interview with People Magazine, Drew says she kept "getting sidelined" due to postpartum core issues.

Also see: Going on a diet is the worst thing you could do to get your pre-pregnancy body back

"I love exercising, but after two kids I kept getting injured because I just did not have a core," she says. 

She joked "My midsection was like a fish tank and I just kept getting sidelined."

The actress is hoping that more people will talk about postpartum issues like abdominal separation.

“Women are having children all the time, and no one’s talking about how their body is forever changed,” she says.

What is Diastasis Recti?

Diastasis recti is a common post-baby condition that loosely means your stomach muscles have separated. 

Also see: This is how Lesley-Ann Brandt got in shape so soon after having a baby

Dr Josia Lebethe, an obstetrician/gynaecologist at Mediclinic Medforum says, "During pregnancy, the linea alba (a fibrous structure that runs down the middle of your abdomen) thins out in order to accommodate your unborn baby."

"Once you’ve given birth, that elastic tissue settles back into shape," he adds. "But in many cases, this connective tissue loses the ability to retract into position. This is when you’ll notice a gap between your right and left abdominal walls."

"If you’re petite, fall pregnant late in life, or have poor muscle tone, you may be more likely to develop diastasis recti,’ says Dr Lebethe.

If you think you might have the condition, you can confirm your suspicions by lying on your back with your knees bent and your feet on the floor.

Press the fingertips of one hand lightly on the middle of your belly and perform a little crunch, keeping your shoulders on the floor.

You will be able to feel with your fingers whether your abdominal muscles have separated.

How can it be treated?

Also see:  This full-body pregnancy workout will keep you strong for the birth

Shirley Boerssen, a qualified Personal Trainer and Pilates Instructor, brought Low-Pressure Fitness to South Africa after receiving training in Barcelona, Spain.

She teaches Low-Pressure Fitness "a system of exercise that conditions your body while also helping to align your body, breath and core function," in Cape Town.

It’s said that LPF is great for everyone from athletes looking to improve their core strength and performance to new-moms, gym bunnies, and even men.

She is passionate about "women’s health and I approach the core-pelvic floor, breath and alignment from a fitness, health and wellness perspective."

Dr Josia advises that, "if you are starting an exercise regime, ensure your coach is aware that you have diastasis recti as certain exercises – such as crunches, sit-ups, planking and the yoga pose downward dog can exacerbate the condition as they put too much stress on your abdominal muscles."

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