Woman showing cat stretch

Separation of the Abs After Pregnancy

I recently received a query from one of our patients.

After pregnancy, what exercises can I do when experiencing separation of the abs!

This has led me to search the available material on the internet. Let me state at this point that this is purely my opinion on the material I examined.  

To start off with, you need to establish that you have separation of your abdominal muscles. You do this by measuring the width of the gap in “fingers”

Once you have done this you have something to work towards improving.

Some patterns emerge through reading these articles.

Start by doing these exercises with a small range of movement, gradually increasing.

Try more general abdominal exercises once the gap in your muscles has decreased, and of course once you are feeling stronger.

To begin you can pull /suck your belly-button back towards your spine. This engages the deeper abdominal muscles.

For the best approach try coordinating your breathing.

Woman exercising

Then you can start with both knees bent and slide one heel forward, whilst keeping the bent one still.

Do this 3x on one side before alternating to the other one, do 3 heel slides there also.

When you have mastered this, you can begin with knees bent, one at a time drop a knee sideways whilst keeping the other one still,  don’t allow the pelvis to lift or rotate. Do these 3x each also.

Once you are comfortable with these 3 exercises try a sideways plank. Try doing it “supported” with the lower leg bent under first.

As a general comment, you should avoid any hyperextension.

Woman showing cat stretch

For example: cat stretches are good but only take them back to neutral after arching up.

If you already own a pair of pregnancy support shorts, you can wear them whilst you do the exercises, at first they will aid in extra support.

Please contact me, or leave a comment below, if you would like more specific exercise guidance, or you would like to know which on-line postings are worth watching.

About the Author Dr Marita Smith

Dr Smith brings a wealth and knowledge of twenty three years experience to Sustain health.... ​ During her Chiropractic career, Dr Smith brought to light her unique skill set to develop a warm and personal approach... ​ As a registered nurse and midwife, Dr Smith brings a new level of understanding to Chiropractic care....... ​ Her patients travel from far and wide to reap the benefits from her vast knowledge within the areas of fertility and pregnancy... ​ Dr Smith loves working with pregnant and post-natal women and their families....nothing can be more rewarding