It's a common problem many women who have babies experience – still looking pregnant well after you've given birth, but a new exercise program may be the answer.
The condition, known as diastasis recti, makes new mums look like they have a "mummy tummy" and in severe cases, like they're still six months pregnant long after birth.
For one in three women, they will still have a bulging belly 12 months after childbirth.
What is diastasis recti and how do you know you have it?
Diastasis recti or rectus abdominis diastasis (RAD) is when the rectus abdominis muscles are separated from the connective tissue linea alba during pregnancy. Diastasis recti occurs when that separation persists after childbirth.
Most often the condition is experienced by small, fit women who have large babies or twins. Other risk factors include age, multiple pregnancies, weak pelvic floor muscles and multiple c-sections, according to an article on Pop Sugar.
To work out if you have RAD, lie on your back with your knees bent and place a finger just above your belly button. As you are lifting your head off the floor, measure the distance between the two now-activated rectus abdominis muscles. If the gap is about two centimetres or more, you have the condition.
Many women unknowingly suffer from #diastasisrecti during and after #pregnancy. The good news is that it can be lessened and even fully resolved, but only with proper movement. There are many traditional fitness moves that actually make this condition worse! #thediamethod will teach you #safe and #effective workout moves to resolve your diastasis and achieve overall #fitness. Join our awesome and supportive #community of #moms! www.thediamethod.com
In good news, RAD doesn't cause any medical problems.
And in even better news for RAD sufferers – there's hope.
What can you do to get rid of it?
A new exercise technique may be the answer you've been searching for.
A recent study retrospectively analysed 63 women who completed a relatively new exercise program called the Dia Method and the results were really promising.
In fact, all 63 women got rid of RAD.
According to the Dia Method's website, the women "trained prenatally or postnatally, engaging in isometric contractions of the transverse abdominis, resistance training, and cardiovascular exercise, with the same certified prenatal trainer".
"Both prenantal and postnatal subjects experienced full resolution of diastasis recti by the end of the program," according to the website.
Unfortunately, women wishing to find out more are expected to sign on to join the program.
This all sounds promising, but might not be for all women.
If exercise doesn't work and you're still concerned about the look of your body living with RAD, then you can speak to your doctor about cosmetic surgery, but that should be regarded as a last resort and should only be considered if you're done having babies.