You knew that your body would go through some serious changes during pregnancy. Your breasts grew larger so you could nurse. Your hips became wider to get ready for delivery. Even your feet became larger. Your skin took on a new glow. Your joints became more flexible. You had some issues that weren't pleasant at all, like constipation and hemorrhoids. You have some brand new varicose veins on your legs that aren't that attractive either. You accepted the fact that your abdomen would be misshapen after a baby grew to full-term inside of you. However, there was one change that happened to your midsection that took you by surprise.

You're Struggling with a Separation of the Muscles in Your Abdomen

As your uterus expanded, it did more than make those annoying stretch marks as it stretched your skin like a balloon. Pregnancy also took a toll on the muscles that line your abdomen. These are the muscles that give you six-pack abs. While you were expecting, the pressure of your growing baby could have caused those muscles to separate. This condition is known as diastasis recti. Take a look at illustrations of the human body to get an idea of what this looks like. When your abdominal muscles are in proper alignment, it will look like a grid with a narrow line down the middle and other lines running in cross-sections. For men and women who work out to define their abs, it will look like a six-pack. If you suffer from a separation of these muscles, there will be a large gap running down the middle.

What are the Effects of Separated Abdominal Muscles?

If your abdominal muscles have separated after pregnancy, you might not notice a visible difference at first because you will have swelling and weight gain. However, you will notice physical symptoms. You may feel more bloated than you did in the past. Pain in your lower back is typical. This is a hard symptom to pin on your abdominal muscles because back pain is par for the course after carrying a baby inside of you for nine months. It may be more difficult for you to have good posture. Constipation may also be a problem. As time goes by, your weight will likely go down. You can help the process by staying hydrated, eating well, and getting physical activity in your daily routine. If you notice that pouch or pronounced belly isn't improving, it could be due to your separated muscles in your abdomen. If you aren't able to address the problem, you could find yourself faced with some serious issues, like incontinence and cramping in your pelvic floor. You may experience discomfort during intercourse. You could also experience problems with your hips and pelvic discomfort.

What Can You Do About a Separation of Your Abdominal Muscles?

Surgery may be the first solution that comes to mind if you are a victim of separated abdominal muscles. However, there are steps that you can take to resolve this problem. You may be tempted to plunge into an intense abdominal workout. Before you begin any type of exercise routine, avoid typical conditioning moves that are meant to improve your abs. That means you need to stay away from those sit-ups, variations of crunches, moves in Pilates that will only aggravate the problem, and Yoga poses that can strain your abdominal muscles. Do your research and talk to your physician. There are specific types of exercises that target the separation of the muscles in your abdomen. If you begin doing the right kind of exercises postpartum, you could see this problem go away within three months.

Be gentle with yourself after pregnancy. A separation of the muscles that line your abdomen can be upsetting and uncomfortable. However, there is a good chance it will heal on its own. Your body is amazing. It's capable of miraculous things. If you don't see an improvement naturally, look for exercises that will focus on helping you to close the gap between your abdominal muscles. If your efforts still don't work, don't give up on yourself. Consult with your physician. You may be given some other helpful resources that will promote healing in your abdominal muscles.


Author's Bio: 

Katie earned a BA in English from WWU and loves to write. She also adores hiking in redwood forests and photography. She feels happiest around a campfire surrounded by friends and family.