Ab exercises with diastasis recti?

Hello! I am a 32 year old mom of 4. Gave birth to 4 large babies and now I have a muscle separation. Trying to lose the remaining 12 lbs to get to my goal weight and then I'm rewarding myself with a mommy makeover! My question is should I be doing ab exercises when I work out or is this going to make it worse? Or does it help to exercise them before a repair? Thank you!

Doctor Answers 8

Exercise and Diastasis

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This is fairly common question.  The spread of your rectus muscles(diastasis) is the result of your pregnancies.  The good and the bad news is that exercise will not worsen it, but exercise will not fix it either.  I generally recommend that most moms wait until 1) you are finished having children before doing a tummy tuck and 2) wait until your youngest is about 2 1/2 so that you don't need to lift a baby.  Some moms have enough help at home that they can move ahead with surgery when the children are younger.

New York Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 8 reviews

Ab Exercises

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Thank you for your question.
While it will not tighten any muscle laxity you have, it is still a good idea to #exercise your abdomen.  It cannot do any harm.  However, only an #abdominoplasty as part of your #mommymakeover will help you regain your muscle tension that you had before.
Book an in-person consultation with a #boardcertified plastic surgeon for more details.

Jed H. Horowitz, MD, FACS
Orange County Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 116 reviews

Diastasis Recti Repair

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Excellent question. One there is laxity in the fascia of the abdominal wall there is no exercise that will return its strength. This is often corrected at the time of an abdominoplasty with rectus plication. Exercises prior to surgery will not cause issues with its repair down the road.

Ryan Mitchell, MD, FRCSC
Grand Rapids Plastic Surgeon

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Mommy makover

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  • Hello, and thank you for your questions. Yes I think it is a good idea to try to strengthen the muscles in the areas are considering having surgery for. I believe as long as you do not have a definitive hernia these exercises should not be harmful and may helpful to improve your overall results. Seek out a qualified board certified plastic surgeon for an in person consultation. Best of luck.

John J. O`Brien, Jr., MD
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Diastasis recti - will exercises help before my mommy make-over

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Thank you for asking about your mommy make-over.
  • Great question -
  • As long as the exercises don't hurt, you can do them.
  • They will strengthen the muscles and help your healing - 
  • They will not reduce the diastasis as you probably already know.
  • Always see a Board Certified Plastic Surgeon.
Best wishes - Elizabeth Morgan MD PHD FAC

AB exercises with a diastasis recti

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It is a good idea to make your muscles as strong as you can without overdoing it before surgery. The surgery will return your muscles and fascia to the proper position as they have been stretched out by the pregnancies. After surgery you are not able to work out for a while as things heal, so in as good a shape as you can be will be helpful.

Rick Rosen, MD
Norwalk Plastic Surgeon
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Mommy Makeover - Diastasis Help?

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Thank you for excellent question. Abdominal exercises will not close the muscle diastasis. Surgery is required for this. Ab exercises at this time will not have any adverse impact on your final surgical outcome. Hope this helps and be sure to consult with a board certified plastic surgeon. 

Mommy makeover

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Hello and thank you for your question. A mommy makeover can have a dramatic improvement in appearance in the appropriate patient.  A tummy tuck can be done through a low and short incision, all completely below the bikini line.  Your muscles can also be plicated resulting in a flat abdomen.  Exercising can help you now in having a nice postoperative result.  A breast lift with or without implants can also be performed at the same time.  The most important aspect is to find a surgeon you are comfortable with. I recommend that you seek consultation with a qualified board-certified plastic surgeon who can evaluate you in person.

Best wishes and good luck.

Richard G. Reish, M.D.
Harvard-trained plastic surgeon

Richard G. Reish, MD
New York Plastic Surgeon
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These answers are for educational purposes and should not be relied upon as a substitute for medical advice you may receive from your physician. If you have a medical emergency, please call 911. These answers do not constitute or initiate a patient/doctor relationship.