How to tell if you have abdominal separation - and what to do next

If you’re pregnant and freaking out about how big that tummy of yours is getting, or if you’ve just had a baby, relax – Becky Dyer from Body Beyond Birth has the perfect physio recipe for you to avoid getting an abdominal separation.

These are Becky’s tools to get your abs strengthened safely and help them spring back into shape after having a baby.

Do I have a separation?

First, let’s check to see if you’ve got an abdominal separation. Lie down on your back with knees bent. Find the spot midline on your tummy, approximately three fingers up from your navel.

Hold 2-3 fingers vertically pressing into that spot. Now curl your head and shoulders off the floor like doing a sit-up. Measure the width of the trough or furrow you feel with those fingers. It can be 0 cm, or it can be up to an 8cm/finger separation. This is your starting point and you will recheck this weekly.

To avoid worsening a separation, you should avoid the no-nos and try the core abdominal exercises below.

3 abdominal don'ts

1. No sit-ups (Eeek! Just think of your abs opening like elevator doors when you do this.)

2. No heaving yourself out of bed ala sit-up style.

3. No activities that make that doming pointy look with your abs. Yes, it’s a nifty trick - but not so good for your abs.

Avoiding the above activities is actually half the battle of preventing an abdominal separation during and after pregnancy. You also need to strengthen the deeper core abdominal muscles. The core actually works to close potential separations by drawing the more superficial muscles together, love that.

4 core abdominal exercises

These exercises will take less than 10 minutes to do, aim to do them 1 x daily.

Have you ever experienced abdominal separation?

Body Beyond Birth is an online postnatal exercise and nutrition program created by women’s health expert and physiotherapist Becky Dyer and supermum Jackie Steele. Their mum-friendly 20 minute a day online program helps women take care of themselves and nurtures them back into shape after having a baby.

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