Ab separation or diastasis recti is quite common during the third trimester of pregnancy but it usually disappears in about 6 weeks after pregnancy. So if you still feel that your stomach feels like jelly and is not holding you up with movements , then you certainly need to test yourself for ab separation after pregnancy. There is a specific test that you can do yourself  where you can see how much your fingers sink into the separation. Most commonly it happens a few inches up and down the naval. In fact some women also end up with associated pelvic floor weakness that can further add to the feeling of instability in the pelvic area. Because these muscles also help to support the lower back, you can also end up with lower back pain because of ab separation. This is where reformer pilates comes in. Here’s why it works so well in the treatment of ab separation after pregnancy.

ab separation

Tummy muscle strengthening is very important after ab separation

But please be aware that there are certain exercises that you MUST avoid if you have ab separation. Your physio will be able to guide you about this. Unfortunately the cross fit gyms and bootcamp style workouts don’t cater to this and can end up making you worse. There’s so much emphasis on losing weight quickly that they often forget to correct the form. Or the trainer is not aware of what specific exercises to give for ab separation and what to avoid. So it’s absolutely important to see a Physiotherapist who are university trained professionals to modify your program. Reformer pilates is very low impact(if at all) on the joints. It focuses directly on your core muscles namely the tummy and even the pelvic floor! So it’s perfect way to strengthen up post pregnancy.

Reformer pilates is slow and controlled with deep breathing

Don’t confuse it with yoga though. Reformers are big machines with springs and cables that provide the right resistance. And the movements are slow and controlled so you don’t have to do 20 repetitions to “feel” it. Just 6 or 7 reps are enough to make you feel your core working. This is exactly what we need in the recovery phase after ab separation.  The springs provide the right resistance on both phases of the movement which works the muscles very effectively. But for some reason if you feel that you’re not working your muscles then you’re either going too fast or are not holding your belly button in through the range of the movement. It’s difficult to go slow! I know! All of us are rushing these days from one place to another so we’re always in a hurry. Reformer Pilates will definitley help you slow down. And it’s actually pretty relaxing! It helps you focus on the movement with light music playing in the background.

Low intensity exercises are best for treatment of ab separation

Reformer Pilates exercises are low intensity. None of that jumping on boxes or sprinting involved. But don’t for a second think, it’s not effective. You can work up quite a sweat on the machines. But the HUGE thing is, you can achieve a great workout WITHOUT hurting your joints. This is specifically important to recover from ab separation post pregnancy when your body needs time to heal. The hormones can take a little while to come back to normal. In fact it can take about 2 years for your hormones to normalise if you’re breasfeeding after pregnancy! So give yourself some compassion and take it slow yet effective.

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