How to Prevent or Recovery from Diastasis Recti During Pregnancy

“Hug The Baby – Free the Baby” = Proper, Supportive Posture During Pregnancy

Poor posture is simply an invitation for life-stopping back pain. No matter where you are, think about lifting your head up and back, as if a string were pulling the top of your head toward the ceiling. As you lift up, you relieve some of the tension in your spine.

(YOU Having a Baby, pg. 216)

What is Proper Posture?

Active and Dynamic rather than Static

Supportive and Stabilizing

Head to Toe awareness

Mind Body Awareness

Starts from the Deepest Core Muscles:

Diaphragm, Transverse, Multifidus, Pelvic Floor

Safe For All 3 Trimesters

How does Hug the Baby – Free the Baby prevent or restore a diastasis recti?

DR is a symptom of faulty movement patterns, usually set forth before pregnancy.

Click here to see our 3 part series on diastasis recti

When a woman becomes pregnant, connective tissue becomes lax, and the growing uterus pushes the abdominals outward.

If the connective tissue between the rectus abdominus is weak (the linea alba), and the muscles of the abs are not properly conditioned-weak or too tight, the linea alba will stretch beyond what is normal.

Hugging the baby offers women the opportunity to properly condition the abs, and work on their posture during pregnancy – safely and effectively.

DR can be restored through healthy movement patterns that are set forth with proper supportive posture. Hugging the Baby teaches the fundamentals of proper posture necessary in preventing or restoring a rectus abdominus split.

During pregnancy, instead of cuing belly to spine, use the phrase“Hug the Baby”

It’s nothing new;

Nothing you don’t already know.

Just a way to cue the Pilates concept of

‘belly to spine,’

‘scooping,’ or

‘engaging the core,’ with women during pregnancy.

Why use the term Hug the Baby?

-Recognizes and personalizes your client’s unborn child, incorporating him/her into the lesson

-Encourages a supportive engagement in the core, rather than a constrictive one.

The action of hugging the baby or bringing baby to the spine,

brings the fetus closer to the body

so the extra weight does not compromise posture or add weight onto the spine and surrounding joints.

What is Free the Baby?

Letting the abdominals relax, letting the weight of the   uterus fall without restriction.

Why Free the Baby?

A strong muscle is a flexible one, so we need to teach a release   technique to women who may be over-tightening their core.

Benefits of hug the baby free the baby:

  1. Strengthen the abs and pelvic floor
  2. Prevents and alleviates low back pain by supporting our surrounding joints.
  3. Feel stronger and more in-control over what is happening to our bodies.
  4. Decrease susceptibility to Diastasis Recti
  5. Overall we keep our posture in tip-top shape!
If you have ever been pregnant, you may know the pains associated with the amazing changes the body goes through to prepare for the growth of the fetus and ultimately the birth.
Hugging the baby helps to alleviate those pains!

How to Hug the Baby and Free the Baby

Although Hugging the Baby has been deemed safe by my general OBGYN and my high risk OBGYN, it is a good idea to always check with your doctor before trying hug the baby on a regular basis.

HUGGING THE BABY and Freeing the baby:

  1. Stand up tall, lengthening the spine to the ceiling, like you have a string on the top of your head.
  2. Inhale deeply, allowing the air to fill down the sides and back of the ribs, (Lateral Thoracic Breathing).
  3. Exhale, hugging the baby (pulling baby or belly to the spine), while lifting the pelvic floor. Keep the pelvis neutral (don’t tuck). This action contracts the transverse abdominals and pelvic floor creating a total support system for the fetus.
  4. Feel equal weight on your feet, pressing down into the floor. You should feel a vertical, oppositional pull through the spine, up through the top ofthe head, and down through your feet. Don’t let the ribs collapse.
  1. Continue with lateral thoracic breathing feeling the spine lengthen every time you exhale.
  2. Free the Baby – Relax the abdominals and pelvic floor, releasing the Hug the Baby posture. The ability to completely relax the abs and pelvic floor allows for flexible, strong muscles rather than tight, inflexible muscles, and is an equally important concept.


  • On all 4’s when gravity is pulling baby away from your center
  • When standing for long periods of time and your back begins to hurt – at the grocery store, in the kitchen, etc.
  • Any time you’re working out
  • Driving
  • Doing chores
  • Getting out of bed or into bed
  • Blow drying your hair
  • When your laying on the couch and your cat, dog, or kid is about to walk over your stomach

Can you think of any others?

Low-Back Pain is one of the most common complaints of pregnancy.

Throughout my pregnancy, I have had zero low-back pain!

I attribute my pain-free back to my practice of Pilates before becoming pregnant, and remembering to hug my baby throughout my pregnancy!

This ends our post on Hug the Baby Free the Baby



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Happy Hundreds!

Alison B. Marsh

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