Kelly Rowland, one-third of super group Destiny’s Child, has opened up about a painful abdominal condition that she experienced after pregnancy.
The singer gave birth to her first child two years ago and talks about the changes to her body and abs in a new interview with Self.
She says, ‘I was wondering why my abs looked so different, and I couldn’t figure out the reason why. I am slightly disappointed that no one told me about diastasis recti.’
It is true that while diastasis recti is a common side effect of pregnancy, it isn’t that widely known or talked about.
It occurs when the left and right abdominal wall muscles overstretch during pregnancy and then struggle to retract back into position once baby has been born. This creates a gap in between the muscles which can sometimes result in a soft stomach pouch. The condition, which is cosmetic rather than painful, usually repairs itself in time.
Kelly says that she only learnt about the condition a year and a half after giving birth. Her diagnosis came after she experienced excruciating back pain while getting ready for an awards ceremony.
She says, ‘I was completely immobilised for more than a day; I just absolutely could not move.’
In Kelly’s case, the diastasis recti had weakened her abs which meant her back muscles were working extra hard to support her core.
Kelly says she didn’t make it to the awards show and got an appointment with her personal trainer.
‘She stuck three fingers in between my abs and said, ‘This has been your problem all along!’
‘My trainer now helps me with my abs, and it’s such a relief because I can feel them, slowly but steadily, coming back together.
‘But it’s still coming back together even after two years.’
While diastasis recti is common in pregnancy, there are steps you can take to protect the muscles from overstretching. Continue to exercise while you’re pregnant to strengthen your body for your growing bump. Make sure to sit up using your arms to push you up rather than straining your stomach muscles. After the birth, exercise can be used to repair the muscles and strengthen the core, however crunches are best avoided.