Read Vicki Cumberworth’s latest article about exercising after giving birth. Sit-ups are not the answer if you want to avoid later problems with backache.

The fitness industry is a mine field! One professional can give one piece of advice, another can give the opposite and then Google… well Google tells you just about ANYTHING!!

One piece of very valuable advice that I give is listen to just one fitness professional. Use their knowledge and stick to their principles only. This will help you to achieve optimal results, especially after having a baby.

Once women have a baby – as I have learnt recently – they are desperate to feel ‘normal’ again and get back to their pre-baby body as quickly as possible. They are often told to do sit-ups, but I advise against this.

Sit ups are commonly seen as the number one exercise to change the appearance of the abdominals. This couldn’t be further from the truth!

Especially In the early stages after birth, the abdominal muscles are connecting back together again, the muscles are very lax because of the hormone relaxin and in general we are very unstable! So wait for your six week sign off before you exercise (except walking of course!) and then seek a good post-natal class to help you strengthen the muscles again.

Exercising too early and using sit-ups in the weeks after birth can cause Diastasis Recti. This is a fairly common condition of pregnancy and postpartum in which the right and left halves of the Rectus Abdominis muscle spread apart at the body’s mid-line fascia, the Linea Alba. This condition can cause many back problems later on in life and it’s also visually not too pleasing.

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To avoid Diastasis Recti, steer clear of sit-ups and learn to train your deep abdominal wall properly (take a look at my Yummy Mummy Natural Tummy Tuck class). Also, take your time, progress slowly through your post natal exercise programme and seek some sound educated advice.