Ciara, best known as a singer, songwriter, record producer, dancer, model and actress, suffered from a medical condition after giving birth that affects countless women. It’s known as “baby pooch,” “mummy tummy,” or by it’s scientific name Diastasis recti. Here’s how she beat it.
Ciara gave birth to her second child, Sienna, 11 months ago and was left with another case of “baby pooch,” just like her first pregnancy. The condition causes abdominal muscles to part down the middle and leave a slight bulge after birth.
“I have Diastastis Recti from both of my pregnancies, so I have to work extra hard to regain my core strength. Determined. Let’s Go Mammas!” she wrote on Instagram.
What Causes Diastasis Recti
Diastasis recti is a condition where the rectus abdominis muscles in your abdomen (the sixpack muscles) separate during pregnancy, leaving a gap that allows your belly to pooch out.
The long, flat muscles that run vertically down each side of your abdomen are affected by the condition. These muscles hold in your internal organs and stabilize your core.
As your belly expands during pregnancy, the connective tissue stretches, allowing the rectus abdominis to pull apart and separate vertically down the middle. (Pregnancy hormones also play a role by relaxing the connective tissue to accommodate your growing baby.)
Sometimes the tissue heals, and the muscles come back together after delivery when your hormone levels return to pre-pregnancy levels. But if this doesn’t happen in three to six months, you can end up with a gap that won’t close without treatment. Studies show that about 40 percent of women have a diastasis at six months postpartum.
After pregnancy, a diastasis recti looks like a ridge or even a loaf of bread protruding from your midline.
The process began after she gave birth last April. Ciara, real name Ciara Princess Harris, had gained 60 pounds during her pregnancy.
“I said I wasn’t going to gain 60 lbs Carrying Sienna, and… I did exactly that!! … 4 weeks after her birth I lost 20 lbs. This Weeks Goal is 10lbs. I was 183 yesterday. #BounceBack #LevelUp,” she wrote.
She faced the same problem when she was pregnant with her first child, Future, named after her then baby daddy, Nayvadius DeMun Wilburn, also known as rapper Future.
In a 2015 interview, she told Shape magazine:
“When I was pregnant with Future, one thing I learned quickly was, don’t ever let a pregnant lady be hungry, because when I was, I was like the Tasmanian Devil! I indulged in all the good food the world has to offer. After he was born—when I couldn’t exercise yet—I kept eating, and I gained 60 pounds. But as soon as the doctor said I could start training again, I was on the treadmill the very next day.
She did one-hour cadio workouts three times a day and added what she calls “a really clean eating plan.” It took her four months to lose all 60 pounds of pregnancy weight.
While she dieted, she also indulged from time-to-time.
“When I’m on a strict eating regimen, at some point I have to have French fries, a cheeseburger, and some pizza. And Oreos and vanilla ice cream! I also believe that drinking tons of water and flushing out your system is crucial for training. It really helped me drop the weight. I tell myself that water is my medicine and that to stay well, I have to drink a gallon of it every day.”
Self-control was obviously a big part of her effort; she explained how she did it:
“The food isn’t going anywhere. You know those days when you think you have to have a plate of pasta right now? When I’m trying to be good, I take a minute to ask myself, ‘Do you really need to eat all this crazy stuff? It will still be around if you want it later.'”