This 10-minute routine is a better cure for diastasis recti than crunches, study finds

“Please don’t ever again in your life do crossover crunches or bicycle crunches. They splay your abs apart in so many ways.”

This 10-minute routine is a better cure for diastasis recti than crunches, study finds

Part of postpartum healing is being patient with our midsections. After all, they’ve stretched out to accommodate a growing human, so our abs deserve to be babied a bit. That’s just easier said than done, right? But now the experts say that—while it’s tempting do crunches ASAP—the wrong postpartum ab exercises could do more harm than good.

For many moms, the postpartum tummy isn’t just a little fluffier than the pre-baby version: A third of us have diastasis recti, a separation of the abdominal muscles.

During pregnancy, the muscles move and a gap forms along the center of the abdomen. When the baby comes, the gap doesn’t close instantly. This commonly causes a bit of a tummy pooch as well as lower back pain.


Crunching your core may seem like the solution. But despite what online workout guides suggest, some common exercises will actually make diastasis recti worse.

“You have to be very careful,” personal trainer Leah Keller told NPR this week about her concerns with popular postpartum ab routines floating around the internet. “For example, please don't ever again in your life do crossover crunches or bicycle crunches. They splay your abs apart in so many ways.”

Although the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists recommends abdominal exercises for the perinatal period, it doesn’t give moms any direction on which routines we should be doing after giving birth.

For now, what not to do it a bit clearer—although a small study suggested the Dia Method used by Keller did successfully help 63 mothers heal from diastasis recti in three months by adhering to the daily 10-minute exercise program.

That sounds like a promising option (for a small price), but there are alternatives: For one, talk to your healthcare provider after your baby comes and let her know if you plan to exercise with a focus on your abs. She may be able to recommend a physical therapist, personal trainer or simply a few exercise moves she feels are safe for you. There are also workout classes specializing in diastasis recti recovery popping up around the country, which a lot of moms have anecdotally found to be helpful.

Whatever you do, be kind to your body. Pregnancy changes a body in a lot of ways, and it’s unrealistic to expect that “mommy tummy” to be flat before your baby is even sleeping through the night.

In This Article


    New mama life is often fraught with decision fatigue. From choosing a pediatrician to choosing a baby monitor, it can be difficult to know which solutions are made to last. Fortunately, Nuna just made one very important decision a lot easier. That's because their new MIXX Next Stroller has everything a new parent needs to get out, get around and get everything done.

    An upgraded version of their popular MIXX stroller, the MIXX Next features a more compact fold (shaving 6.5 inches off the folded size, down to 27.5 inches long and 23.6 inches wide) thanks to a compact fold-away axle where the rear wheels tuck under the frame when it folds. Plus, the new model also stays standing when folded—meaning no more back-straining as you bend to pick up your folded stroller and heave it into the trunk. Instead, the MIXX Next can be tucked more easily into storage whenever your ride comes to an end.

    Nuna Mixx Next Stroller

    Speaking of the ride, your little one will love the new rear-wheel Free Flex suspension™ and front-wheel progression suspension technology that absorbs more shock as you roll over uneven terrain. The wheels have also been updated to tough, rubber foam-filled tires for a smoother, more durable ride and the no re-thread harness makes it easy to clip your baby in securely and quickly. And when all those gentle bumps lull your baby to sleep? The seat features a five-position recline that adjusts quickly with one-hand—all the way down to a true-flat sleeper recline—just don't forget to move them to their crib when you arrive home. (Don't forget to extend the water repellent, UPF 50+ canopy to keep those sleepy eyes shaded.) Even better, the all-season seat keeps baby cozy in winter and unsnaps to mesh for a cooler ride in the summer.

    Perhaps most importantly, though, this stroller is made to last. (After all, what's the point of solving a mama dilemma if it creates another one a few months down the road?) The MIXX Next pairs perfectly with all Nuna PIPA™ series infant car seats using the included car seat ring adapter, and then adapts to a child seat that can face toward you (for a little face time) or forward for when your little one is ready to take on the world. All in all, this stroller gets you where you need to go with a child up to 50 pounds, meaning it's the only one you'll ever need.

    The MIXX Next is available in three colors and retails for $749.95.

    This article was sponsored by Nuna. Thank you for supporting the brands that support Motherly and mamas.

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