Diastasis recti, (Abdominal Muscle Separation)

MUSCLE IN ON DIASTASI RECTI

Abdominal muscle separation (diastasi recti)

One of the most common conditions that can happen when you’re growing a baby is diastasis recti, more commonly referred to as abdominal muscle separation. A condition where the right and left sides of the rectus abdominis (your "six-pack" muscle) spreads apart at the body's mid-line (the linea alba).

This happens because your uterus is pushing against your abdominal wall and pregnancy hormones are softening the connective tissue in preparation for childbirth.

Separation can occur at any time in the last half of the pregnancy, and premature separation can also be seen as early as 20 weeks.

However, it’s most problematic after pregnancy when the abdominal wall is weak, when there’s no longer a baby inside to aid support. 

Below you will find some helpful tips on what to do and what not to do to help prevent pregnancy muscle separation.

Mum's-to-be choose to wear Belly Bands, 3-in-1 Pregnancy support band during pregnancy and postpartum as a tool for abdominal muscles separation.

3-in-1 Pregnancy & C-Section Belly Band - Buy Now

Wear the Belly Band after C-Section delivery

 

 

A number of factors can cause premature separation:

  • Poor posture
  • Certain daily activities
  • Incorrect exercise
  • Multiple pregnancies or subsequent pregnancies where the pregnancies have occurred too close together and the muscles have not returned to pre-pregnancy strength or closure

Reduce the risk

If you want to reduce the risk of diastasis then you first need to address the things you do daily. Any poorly executed moves taking place over a long period of time such as poor posture or exercising inappropriately with poor form, will increase this condition, and fast.

Avoid exercises that increase separation. 

 

This front plank is increasing pressure downwards regardless of how strong the abdominal muscles were prior to pregnancy.

All frontal planks on the swiss ball or on the floor, full or kneeling press ups should be avoided during second and third trimesters and more suitable core strength exercises should be done instead.

Poor pre and post pregnancy posture

This picture shows, "Sway Back Posture" post pregnancy. Long and weak abdominal muscles, hips and tummy pushing forward

Poor posture can be harder to correct especially as it’s usually a long term way of being. Sway back is the main culprit in regard to premature separation. In a sway back posture the core and gluteus muscles along with the mid trapezius in the middle back are long and weak. This pushes the hips and tummy forward and the abdominal muscles are weakened further during and after pregnancy.

If poor posture is not addressed and continues during pregnancy, lower back pain is inevitable and increased separation will happen due to the abdominal weakness and forward pushing of the uterus. 

Check your posture and if there are concerns, speak to your local physiotherapist, chiropractor or osteopath to assist you make the changes you need and show you the best strengthening and postural correction exercises. Pregnancy Posture

Daily activity

Possibly one of the worse daily activities that will increase separation is pushing a buggy incorrectly and of course pushing a pram is something we generally do for several hours each week.

As you can see in this photograph, this woman is leaning too far forward and relying on the buggy for support not her own muscles, her core strength, thus there’s also a lot of upper body tension through the neck and shoulders. In this incorrect pushing position she’s pushing down from her tummy and increasing separation.

In the correct position her hips are tucked under and she is supporting herself. Using glutes and leg muscles instead of the lower back muscles means there is no upper body tension. 

Another helpful thing is to decrease the pushing weight if possible, especially when walking up hill. Perhaps ask the oldest child to get out and walk if and when possible.

Multiple and subsequent pregnancies 

Subsequent pregnancies that are close together should not mean you can’t prevent premature or an increased diastasis recti, but it is paramount that you close the separation after each pregnancy. In the case of carrying a multiple pregnancy, you may not have increased separation. Attending to these issues as part of being well prepared before pregnancy will mitigate a lot of problems.

WE SUGGEST THE BIRTH 2 FIT MUM PROGRAM TO OUR CUSTOMERS WHO NEED SPECIALISED HELP IN REPAIRING YOUR DIASTASIS RECTI

The Pregnancy Exercise Program has taken years to develop and is available globally at http://pregnancyexercise.co.nz

Wear the  3-in-1 Belly band to keep diastasis as small as possible during pregnancy, and continue to use postpartum to treat the diastasis recti, after birth.