What is Diastasis recti abdominis?
Women’s bodies go through a drastic change during and after giving birth, often making the body unrecognisable, some call it a “pooch” or a “Mummy tummy” technically it’s called diastasis recti abdominis. Diastasis recti abdominis is a highly common condition with women who are pregnant and those who are post partum. But can also occur from other factors that bulge the abdomen forward can over stretch the connective tissue causing the outer most abdominal muscles in your wall to separate. Diastasis recti is a split down the middle of the abdominal wall, the line of the center of your abs pulls apart. It often occurs from the pressure from the baby growing behind the abdominal wall and having a weak abdominal core. If your abs are not connected together by connective tissue you are not supported, leaving you looking like you have a mummy tummy.
Your abdominal muscles (abdominal wall or your ‘six pack’) are two vertical bands running down the center of your body with a line of connective tissue that goes straight from the rib cage down to the pubic bone. There is thin connective tissue known as the linea alba that attached to the abs together. The Linea alba holds all your ab muscles in place. Diastasis recti abdominis is the stretching of that linia alba separating the abs.
Naturally when you are pregnant hormones are released into your body to soften your ligaments, muscles and joints to accommodate for your growing baby and to prepare for labour. This includes the linea alba, therefore is often unpreventable. Typically your abs will lengthen vertically first and then the linea alba stretches to give as much room for the baby as possible to grow. It is pretty safe to say that every mum experiences some degree of Diastasis recti symptoms postpartum or during pregnancy. You can check by using a diastasis recti test after pregnancy to determine if you have this separation of your abs.
Diastasis recti test after pregnancy
This is a simple diastasis recti test after pregnancy you can do yourself at home to test if you have this separation of your abs postpartum. If you can It may be easier if you can ask get a friend or family member to help you with this.
- To test if you have Linea alba separation you will need to be lie on your back with your legs bend and both feet flat on the floor
- Raise your shoulder blades up off the floor, supporting your head with one hand. Look down to your belly
- Move one hand above and below your bellybutton all the way along the middle of your body. See if you can fit any fingers in the gap between your ab muscles
- If you have a gap or any separation of one to two fingers it is likely that you have a moderate case of diastasis recti. After a few weeks postpartum this gap should start to narrow naturally as your muscle to regain strength.
If you are having trouble completing this diastasis recti test after pregnancy your doctor or soft tissue occupational therapist can also assist in check for diastasis recti. There are more accurate measurements your doctor can use including a caliper or an ultrasound to determine the severity of your diastasis recti.
Diastasis recti abdominis rehabilitaiton
Diastasis recti abdominis can linger for years after birth however it’s never too late to resolve. Women are often told the only solution is surgery or they turn to traditional core workouts that can worsen the condition. At Infused Health our highly trained Exercise Physiologist that can provide you with a clinically proven therapeutic exercise program.
For most individuals, Diastasis recti abdominis rehabilitation and treatment post pregnancy begins with an Exercise Physiology appointment to strengthen the muscles around the abdomen in a safe way. Strengthening your core will create more stability and support for you internal organs. More support from your core can help reduce the separation between the abdominal wall and overall reduce symptoms.
At Infused Health our highly trained Exercise Physiologist and Soft Tissue Occupational Therapists will use their knowledge and skill to create a diastasis recti rehabilitation program specific to your symptoms postpartum. Please don’t hesitate to make an appointment today for a consultation about your lower back pain. Please call us on 0401 876 623