A lot of women struggle to lose weight after giving birth, but if you’ve dropped pounds and still have a post-baby tummy, you may have diastasis recti. This common condition can cause back pain, postural issues, and sabotage your efforts to get a flat stomach. Many exercises can help you to get rid of postpartum belly, but there are some that may make it worse.

We at Bright Side have done the research to find out which popular exercises can do more harm than good if you’ve just had a baby.

1. Planks

Plank is a strength exercise that involves maintaining a position similar to a push-up for the maximum possible time. Even though it has many benefits, like boosting your metabolism and improving your posture, it will cause more harm than good if you have a diastasis recti. Planks will worsen the separation of the muscles, making the condition more visible.

2. Crunches

One of the most popular abdominal exercises can create a diastasis or make it worse. When you’re doing crunches, you are working the muscles in the wrong direction, while putting force on the connective tissue that joins the abdominal muscles. Crunches will make these muscles longer.

3. Lifting weights

This popular strength training targets specific muscle groups and types of movement. It can have a pushing out effect on the stomach and worsen the diastasis. The best way to check how weightlifting affects your belly is to watch your core area and see what it’s doing. If it’s coning (looks like a cone), consider picking a different exercise.

4. Sit-ups

Doing sit-ups has many benefits, like improving your posture and increasing your flexibility. But if you have a postpartum belly, they can make the bulge in your stomach worse. Doing sit-ups puts a strain on the middle of the abdominals where the muscles have separated, making the condition worse. If you’re doing this exercise incorrectly, it may even cause diastasis recti.

5. Push-ups

Push-ups may cause further injury to diastasis for the same reason as plank exercises. Push-ups focus on working your upper body and core, and your core isn’t strong enough if your abdominal muscles are separated.

6. Bicycle twists

Bicycle twists involve a crunching movement and a twist when you bring your elbow to your knee. Both of these movements can make the separation of the muscles worse when your core isn’t stabilized.

7. Crossover sports

Some crossover sports activities, like tennis or golf, can lead to the worsening of this condition. This may happen because a forward crossover movement with your upper body may stretch your connective tissue sideways.

8. Some yoga poses

People with diastasis recti should avoid any exercises that put extra stress on the midline because these can stretch or expand the abdominal wall. Some yoga poses like cobra, for example, involve back arching and may stretch your connective tissue.

9. Leg extensions

This popular Pilates movement puts pressure on the abdominal walls and the tissue that connects the abdominal muscles. It pulls the muscles in the wrong direction, making the separation worse.

Are you doing any of these exercises? Have you noticed how they affect your belly?