5 Nutrition Tips for Postpartum Fitness and Diastasis Recti Healing

Nutrition plays a crucial role in the postpartum period, particularly for women aiming to regain their strength, energy and stamina after childbirth. For postpartum moms dealing with diastasis recti, better known as an abdominal separation, as well as pelvic floor issues, focusing on nutrition is key for supporting their recovery journey. 

As a physical therapist and certified prenatal and postpartum corrective exercise specialist, I've seen firsthand the impact of proper nutrition on postpartum fitness and diastasis recti healing.  We must make sure mothers meet specific nutritional needs in order to thrive instead of surviving motherhood. 

 Let’s dive into valuable nutrition tips to support diastasis recti healing and boost postpartum fitness outcomes.

1. Nutritional Considerations for Postpartum Moms

After childbirth, a woman's body goes through significant changes, including the need for increased nourishment to support recovery and, in many cases, breastfeeding. Proper nutrition during the postpartum period is essential for providing the necessary energy, nutrients, and support for healing.

Postpartum moms should focus on a well-rounded diet that includes a balance of macronutrients, micronutrients, and hydration. Staying hydrated is essential for postpartum moms, especially those who breastfeed and need to sustain their milk supply.  

Adequate protein intake is crucial for tissue repair, while healthy fats and carbohydrates provide sustained energy for the demands of motherhood and any exercise regimen.

2.  Nutrition and Diastasis Recti Healing

Incorporating very specific nutrients into a postpartum diet can significantly help in diastasis recti and postpartum healing. For example, collagen, which is essential for tissue repair, can be sourced from bone broth, collagen peptides, or foods rich in vitamin C and amino acids. 

Foods high in Vitamin A, E and C are essential when it comes to healing a diastasis recti as well.  Vitamin C, in particular, plays a vital role in collagen production and promotes the healing of connective tissues. 

Another essential nutrient that is a must have in diastasis recti healing is Zinc.  This mineral is essential to connective tissue production and can be found in lentils, pumpkin, tofu,  nuts and seeds, red meat, poultry, and dark chocolate. 

Additionally, foods rich in antioxidants and anti-inflammatory properties can contribute to overall tissue recovery and support a healthy immune system.  Some examples of anti-inflammatory foods include blueberries, strawberries, tomatoes, green leafy vegetables, nuts and almonds, salmon and olive oil. For a full list, please click here. 


3.  Foods to Support Postpartum Fitness and Diastasis Recti Healing

A nutrient-dense diet is key for postpartum moms seeking to enhance their fitness and heal from diastasis recti.  Incorporating lean proteins such as poultry, fish, and plant-based sources can assist in muscle repair and maintenance. I would highly recommend including lean proteins in every meal and snack.  Proteins will also help keep you full and satisfied, preventing you from snacking on less than desirable choices. 

Healthy fats from sources like avocados, nuts, and olive oil are crucial for hormone production and overall well-being. Complex carbohydrates from whole grains, fruits, and vegetables provide sustained energy for daily activities and any fitness routines.


4.  Meal Planning for Postpartum Nutrition and Fitness

Let's be honest, making quick and healthy meals can feel like a daunting task, especially as a tired mama.  If you are in the newborn stage and obviously sleep deprived, I would highly recommend asking for help from family, friends and your spouse when it comes to preparing healthy meals and snacks.  Many mom groups also set up meal trains for new moms for the first few weeks, which is very beneficial and takes a lot of stress off the family. 

Setting yourself up by planning meals first is the KEY to success.  As a new mom, have your snack prepared so you can grab and go. As we stated earlier, make sure to prioritize lean proteins, good fats and carbohydrates. 

Ensuring moms have nutritious, well balanced meals to help support their body’s demands and healing process should be a top priority.  Healthy meals should not require spending hours and hours in the kitchen- here are 6 strategies for quick and healthy convenient dinners. 


5.  Common Nutritional Pitfalls and How to Avoid Them

Postpartum moms, myself included, often find themselves struggling with body issues and wanting to lose the baby weight as soon as possible. This may lead to restrictive diets and starting an exercise routine too soon, or one that is too early and intense post baby.  Doing the wrong exercises too soon postpartum could lead to doing more damage than good.  Here are some specific core exercises postpartum, specifically for diastasis recti.

Instead of focusing on losing the baby weight and eating less calories, the postpartum mom should be focused on nourishing her body (and baby), slowly recovering after giving birth and recognizing the major and amazing changes her body just went through in order to bring another human being into this world!

Navigating these new life changes is not easy. However, I believe that nourishing our body and making exercise a priority is a lifestyle habit we must adopt.   Here are some of my top tips on how to find time for exercise and making healthy meals for busy moms.

The Impact of Nutrition on Overall Well-being

In conclusion, the physical and mental well-being of a mother postpartum is incredibly important. It’s something that usually is overlooked, even by healthcare professionals.  Our nutrition and diet have a direct correlation to our energy, mood and mental wellbeing postpartum. 

Unfortunately, education on proper nutrition, specifically for the postpartum mom was not a common topic discussed (even while I was pregnant). I encourage moms to really prioritize their nutrition and postpartum health/fitness journey after birth.  It’s too easy to put our needs last and make sure we fill everyone else's cup first.  But when we make our health and nutrition a top priority, in other words how we feel about ourselves, our energy levels and stamina, it makes a difference in how we show up as a mother and wife. I hope this blog encourages you to better prioritize your nutrition to support your goals and recovery!