Recti Diastasis

What is it?

Any woman who has been pregnant will probably be able to tell you that the longer they are pregnant the harder it gets to tie their shoes, pick up their older children or exercise the way they had prior to falling pregnant and this might just be why. Recti diastasis is the widening of the gap between the two sections of the rectus abdominis muscle. This muscle runs parallel to each other and lengthwise along your abdomen. Widening and thinning of the linea alba occurs in response to the increase inner abdominal pressure, weight and pressure of the expanding uterus during pregnancy. Your muscles have not “torn”, simply separated. Women are not the only ones that fall victim to this. Newborn babies can also have a diastasis as well as men possibly from yo yo dieting, doing sit ups or incorrect technique when weightlifting. It is most commonly linked to poor internal abdominal pressure control and biomechanics. Which means, you can be fit and still have a diastasis.

 

 

Is it common?

Yes! 2 out of 3 women will experience some degree of diastasis in the first two trimesters of pregnancy and 100% of women have a diastasis during their 3rd trimester.  A staggering 66% of women with a diastasis will also have some level of pelvic floor dysfunction and 75% of women will suffer from a pelvic organ prolapse. Although common, this is not normal and can be improved with correct exercise.

 

Signs to look out for:

   Looking pregnant even though back to pre pregnancy weight

   Pooching or doming of your stomach

   Weak core and pelvic floor

   Lack of strength and stability in entire pelvic region and mid section

 

Why is this so important to fix? 

Healing the connective tissue and reducing your diastasis is important as these muscles are what protects our internal organs and back. Other areas where you can be at increase risk of if not fixed include:

   Lower back pain

   Constipation

   Incontinence

   Breathing difficulties

   Hernias

   Pelvic organ prolapse

 

What should I avoid and what should I do to heal or prevent a diastasis?

Exercises to avoid include those that place a huge load on your back and excessive forces through your pelvic floor like sit ups and some pilates movements. Holding your breath when lifting heavy objects (including your toddler!) should be avoided.

Majority of cases can be greatly improved as well as prevented through specific core and breathing exercises, correct lifting technique and posture as well as wearing a splint. To have a specific exercise program designed for your diastasis and for an assessment of your diastasis severity, click here to book online or call 4655 5588.