Diastasis Recti Post Pregnancy
Diastasis Recti – What is it?
Diastasis Recti is the separation of your most external abdominal muscles. Their primary function is to support your back and your organs. In pregnant or postpartum women, this condition is due to over stretching the connective tissue (linea alba) in between your front abdominal muscles (rectus abdominis) due to your growing uterus.
What is the cause?
The main cause of a Diastasis is due to the continuous stretching of the connective tissue and the increase of the intra-abdominal force.
The belly button is located in the middle of the connective tissue which is the weakness spot. This explains why during pregnancy some women have their belly button poking out.
Everyone is born with their muscles separated. Normally, when the nervous system matures, the muscles go back together around the age of three. However, with the belly button being the weakest spot, even if the muscles do come together they might come apart again.
Will I develop Diastasis Recti during pregnancy?
Factors that increase the risk of developing this conditions are:
- Petite women
- Multiparous pregnancy or had more than one
- Carrying your babies later in life (>35 years old)
- Having poor muscle tone
- Having a sway back posture
- A history of Diastasis Recti in previous pregnancies
- History of umbilical and ventral hernia
- Pelvis instability
- Excessive abdominal exercises after the first trimester
How can Diastasis Recti be treated?
Normally, the separation will lessen within the first 8 weeks post-partum, but it is common for many women that it stays stretched beyond this. Often women will complain of increased lower back pain or pelvis pain due to the separation of the abdominal muscles, this is due to a decrease in the tone of the core and support of the internal organs.
The aim is to close and heal the connective tissue. It is important to keep in mind that everyone will heal at a different rate depending on the level of severity.
Exercise is often the first approach chosen to repair Diastasis Recti.
With the purpose to promote blood flow in the area and avoid intra-abdominal forces. However, exercises that are done without a professional supervising can worsen the condition. Often women will do the common core exercises such as crutches and abdominal twists, however, researchers have shown that they are the worst exercises to start with for a Diastasis Recti as they increase intra-abdominal pressure.
Postnatal Clinical Pilates at Wisdom Physiotherapy in Nedlands is a safe and specific way to help you get onto top of this condition. We have a whole team of experienced physiotherapists that can help you with your healing process and can tailor a specific program for you. The focus is to activate your deep stabilising muscles around your pelvis and core, with a gentle yet progressive approach.
Bring along your socks and gym gear, it’s time for you to take back your body!!!!
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