Diary of a Fit mommy

5 Exercises That Cause Diastasis Recti During Pregnancy

Ohhh… the dreaded tummy pooch. Sometimes, the underlying cause is much, much more than just a bunch of loose skin. It could be Diastasis Recti! 

Diastasis Recti, also known as abdominal separation, commonly occurs in women who are pregnant. It’s super common-so common that actually 2 out of 3 women will experience DA to some degree.  Yikes. 


During pregnancy, the pressure inside your abdominal cavity is greatly increased due to the size of your growing baby, the uterus growing, and all of your organs being squished together. That pressure can only build and build until, eventually, it cuts loose. Think of it as bending a pencil-you can bend the pencil so far until is snaps into two pieces. Your abdominal muscles are no different! Too much pressure in your abdomen can cause both halves of your tummy to split apart.


So, who’s mostly at risk during pregancy?

  • Those who gain more than the recommended amount during pregnancy.
  • Multiple pregnancies (twins, triplets, etc).
  • Back-to-back pregnancies.
  • Those who are older than 35 and pregnant.
  • Those who perform incorrect exercises during pregnancy.
  • Those who lift too heavy for their fitness level during pregnancy.

With some ladies, you cannot simply avoid DA as it happens on its own, but with other times, it CAN be prevented. Also, doing exercises incorrectly during pregnancy will also increase your chances of experiencing DA. To learn how to check yourself for DA, click here.


Personally, I don’t work my abs during pregnancy. Barely, anyways! I don’t see the point! However, if you choose to do any ab exercises during pregnancy, I would suggest stopping after the 12 week mark. At this point, your baby will start growing a significant and rapid pace which will lead to more pressure.

So, what are some exercises that can cause Diastasis Recti during pregnancy? Here are 5 moves to avoid in the 2nd and 3rd trimester:


  1. Planks: All kinds!There are countless plank variations and none of them are safe as long as they recommend holding an actual plank position. Planking works your abs by squeezing your core tighly which causes pressure.
  2. Crunches: Another biggie-crunches not only create DA, they can make your degree of DA larger!
  3. Push Ups: Same with planks, push-ups put a lot of pressure onto your abs which can cause further splitting. Notice how your abs get sore after doing about 10 push ups?
  4. Oblique Twists: Or any twisting movement that is! Twisting movements are forbidden after the first trimester of pregnancy and there’s a reason why: it puts a ton of pressure onto your midsection!
  5. Quadruped Positions: In a hands and knees position (such as donkey kicks or cat/cow pose) gravity put all the weight of the organs on the already weakened connective tissue. This will only make this worse.

Your trainer and friend,