Aussie athlete Jana Pittman shares VIDEO of muscle separation after birthing twins

Two weeks after giving birth to twins, former athlete Jana Pittman has shared a video showing off her ‘diastasis recti’ or muscle separation.

In the clip, the mum-of-six can be seen tensing her abs, revealing a hernia in the middle of her stomach.

“I wanted to show the realness of what it was like to carry twins,” the Australian runner said in the clip on her Instagram page.

 

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A post shared by Jana Pittman (@janapittmanofficial)

Jana Pittman shows off her muscle separation in a video

Aussie athlete Jana Pittman shares VIDEO of muscle separation after birthing twins

Jana, who starred on SAS Australia last year, gave birth to twins last month but the video Jana posted was filmed two weeks after giving birth.

“Pretty happy that my stomach is slowly going back to normal.. I think it’s fascinating what happens to the body after you have a baby,” she says.

“My ‘diastasis recti’ a.k.a post baby abdominal wall separation! An issue that happens to many of us especially those with big babies or multiple pregnancies but often is a bit of a shock,” she added as a caption on the clip.

“Physio and core work can make a huge difference to ‘recti-fying’ this issue. Find yourself a good physio and give yourself time to rebuild that beautiful postpartum body of yours… The human body will never cease to amaze me!!” 

 

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A post shared by Jana Pittman (@janapittmanofficial)

Muscle separation during and after pregnancy

muscle-separation-check

Muscle separation usual occurs after pregnancy. This occurs because as your baby grows, so does the chance of you developing separated abs.

Generally, this is no problem, as the female body is designed to foster and birth babies. But on an aesthetic level, a lot of women are taken aback by the unseemly bulging ridge that can form and grow along the midline of your belly.

In understanding muscle separation or ‘diastasis recti’, it is important to discuss the muscles and tissues that come into play when muscle separation takes place.

Did you know we have a FIT POSTNATAL workout programme in the Healthy Mummy App as part of the 28 Day Weight Loss Challenge with exercises supporting muscle separation!

What happens

Most women have some separation occur during pregnancy which is normal, however there it is a significant gap, it is important to take the right steps to rectify it before starting back your workout regime.

Muscle Separation Post Pregnancy

Your Rectus Abdominis are your most surface level abdominals, also known as the famous “six-pack”. Beneath these, are your deeper abdominals, called the Transversus Abdominis or “T.A” and on the sides are your Oblique muscles.

Holding these muscles together in the middle is tissue called the Linea alba, which stretches during pregnancy to assist with all the muscular and ligament changes that take place.

Some separation between your Rectus Abdominus abdominal muscles (your “six-pack”) is normal in all women, even those who have not been pregnant or given birth.

A one centimetre (or one finger) separation at the level of the belly button and under 1 cm above and below this point, is considered normal. However if the Linea alba tissue stretches too much during pregnancy, it can result in Diastasis Recti.

What are the 3 different levels of separation?

  1. Normal – 1cm gap
  2. Diastasis Recti – 2cm gap
  3. Severe Diastasis Recti – 4cm gap

Does it go back to normal?

Although new studies show that even severe Diastasis Recti can recover naturally postpartum (usually somewhere within 8 weeks following birth), it is important to know whether you have Diastasis Recti.

If healing does not take place, it is possible that the separation can worsen, and a decrease in abdominal strength along with other issues may occur.

How to test for muscle separation

Follow the instructions and visual aids in the Muscle Separation section of the App, to help you test for Muscle Separation. It is important you seek the advice of a medical practitioner, before you commence any exercise post-birth.

Starting Position: Lie down on your side and then roll onto your back, supporting yourself with your hands and then elbows to lie flat on your mat on the floor. Bend your knees and place your feet flat on the floor, hip width apart.

Execution:Place one hand behind your head and the other on your belly. Next, exhale, draw up through the pelvic floor and simultaneously lift your head and shoulders very slightly off the floor. Breathe deeply as you place one or two fingers inside your belly button next to each other and see how many fingers fit.

Next, repeat the exercise and this time drop your fingers 2 ½ inches lower than your navel and perform the test, placing 1-2 fingers on the centreline and see if there is a gap there.

Then, repeat the test moving your fingers 2 ½ inches above your belly button to find the natural gap between your abdominals underneath your sternum. If you have more than a 2 finger gap in any of these areas, you may have Diastasis Recti.

If you do find you have Diastasis Recti, it is very important that from 0-4 months post birth, you refrain from doing any exercises that fully engage the Rectus Abdominus muscles. These include any intense core exercises such as crunches or planks of any kind.

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Is there a cure for muscle separation?

There is no one cure for Diastasis Recti and everybody heals differently at different times. However, with supportive exercises and rest, healing can begin in just a few weeks post birth and separation may be rectified enough within 3 or 4 months to increase exercise. Depending on the level of separation that has occurred, some separation can take longer than a few months to heal.

The good news is, many exercises are supportive for Diastasis Recti healing and although there is no one exercise regime that can technically push the abdominal muscles back together, there are a range of supportive exercise that can help to avoid further separation and balance and strengthen the deep core and surrounding muscles.

What exercises can help to strengthen and and support abdominal healing?
muscle-separation-1

Deep core strengthening exercises such as those in the Healthy Mummy Postnatal beginner workouts can help to strengthen and tone the core area while allowing the abdominals to heal.

Retraining the pelvic floor muscles is another important factor in Diastasis Recti that is often overlooked. Other factors such as nutrition and reducing stress also play a crucial role in accelerating healing and reducing belly fat.

However, a lot of women think strengthening their abs/ core is just strengthening the most superficial layer of abs! The result: more separation as the two sides pull apart more and create a bigger gap and bulge along the midline of your body.

This is why doing sit-ups until the cows come home would be a terrible idea. It could make your rectus abdominus bulge or separate even more – which is why you should avoid crunches.

Before commencing any exercises or workout regime, you may like to reach out to a physical therapist or pelvic floor specialist and seek personal guidance for your individual needs.

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Our exercises supporting muscle separation are just ONE of the many exciting PARTS of our 28 Day Weight Loss Challenge.

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Our Challenge entails:

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  • Challenge combines Pilates exercises with interval and circuit training (HIIT)
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To find out more on the 28 Day Weight Loss Challenge click here.

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