Abdominal Separation After The Birth Of Your Baby

Rectus diastasis physiotherapy

Ask any Mum and she’ll tell you that the bigger the baby grows the harder even the simplest tasks become (you try putting your socks on with a basketball strapped to the front of you sometime!). As the baby grows and ther uterus expands there is a widening and thinning of the gap between the two sections of the rectus abdominis muscle (AKA the 6-pack muscles) leading to abdominal separation. This gap is called rectus diastasis. The muscles have not “torn” rather they have simply separated. The split occurs in the mid-line collagen structures of connective tissue at the front of the abdomen.

An easy way to check if you have a rectus diastasis is if you have a ‘pooching’ or ‘doming’ of your stomach, especially when coming up from a lying position on your back. Women often describe looking several months pregnant, many months after the birth of their child.

Whilst rectus diastasis most commonly occurs during pregnancy, women are not the only ones to suffer it. Newborn babies can also have a diastasis. Men can also experience a diastasis as a result of yo-yo dieting, an incorrect technique of doing sit-ups or weightlifting. This is most commonly linked to poor internal abdominal pressure control and biomechanics. It means you can be fit, and still have a diastasis.

Is it common?

Yes! 2 out of 3 women will experience some degree of rectus 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 the entire pelvic region and midsection

Why is this so important to fix?

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

• Lower back pain

• Constipation


• Breathing difficulties

• Hernias

• Pelvic organ prolapse

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

Exercises to avoid include those that place a huge load on your back and excessive forces through your pelvic floor like:

  • running,
  • jumping,
  • sit-ups,
  • deep lunges and
  • some pilates movements.
  • Holding your breath when lifting heavy objects (including your toddler) should be avoided also.

The 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 or compression garments.

Walking, swimming and stationary cycling are all safe forms of cardiovascular exercise you can partake in with rectus diastasis.

For an assessment of your diastasis and a comprehensive exercise rehabilitation program call 02 4655 5588 or book an appointment now to see one of our Osteopaths.

abdominal separation

Stretching: the what, when, why and how

exercise stretching osteo

Most of us know that stretching is beneficial for flexibility. Did you know it also helps to improve blood flow and prevent injuries? So when is the best time to stretch, and what type of stretching should we do and when?

Before a work out = Dynamic stretching.

These types of stretches mimic the movements you will do in your workout but at a lower intensity. Dynamic stretching moves a muscle group fluidly through its entire range of motion. For example, walking lunges, butt kicks or arm circles. This type of stretching prepares your muscles for the stress they are about to be placed under by increasing the blood flow to the muscles. It can even lead to improved performance so add some of these into your workout routine today.

After a work out = Static stretching.

exercise stretch pain camden narellan mount annan

Each stretch should be held for a minimum of 20 – 30 seconds and held to the point of mild discomfort but not causing pain. A post-workout stretching routine will also slow down your breathing and heart rate, bringing the mind and body back to its resting state. For example, bending forward to touch your toes or grabbing your foot behind your back to stretch your quads. Static stretches are also great for people who spend lots of time in a stationary job to loosen up stiff joints and tight muscles. Remember not to hold your breath when holding a stretch. Instead, relax by inhaling, holding for 2 seconds and then exhaling for longer than the inhale.

When NOT to stretch:

It is important that you don’t do static holding stretches when your body is cold, such as when you first wake up. Your risk of injury increases if stretching under these conditions so make sure you wait at least one hour after awakening or even better, stretch after a hot shower.

Stretching exercise physio

It is ideal to stretch all muscle groups every day, however being realistic, stretching 3-4 times a week will still provide you with multiple benefits. It is best to concentrate on stretching the muscle groups most used in your workout on that given day to prevent delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS) for the following few days.

For more information or help to design the ideal pre and post-workout stretching routine for your sport or injury call 4655 5588 or book an appointment now and let our team assist you to get the most out of your workouts today.


Urinary incontinence – Do you feel like a leaky tap?

urinary incontinence physiotherapy camden

Have you ever laughed too hard, coughed too much, or simply tried to recapture your youth by jumping on the trampoline with the kids and started leaking like a broken tap. It’s called urinary incontinence and it’s common! Urinary incontinence is often associated with childbirth, pregnancy, and menopause and can range in severity from just a small leak to complete loss of bladder control. Some women also experience the need to urgently or frequently go to the toilet. Almost one-third of women who have had children experience some form of incontinence, and while this makes it common it is never normal. Bladder control problems can affect people of all ages, gender, cultures and backgrounds and should not be considered a normal part of the ageing process.

How do you know if your bladder or toilet habits are normal?

If you answer yes to any of the following questions there is a good chance that they are not and you should seek some advice on how to improve them.


  1. Do you leak urine when you cough, sneeze, lift or exercise?Bladder weakness camden
  2. Do you pass urine frequently?
  3. Do you have to run to the toilet or experience urgency?
  4. Do you feel that you cant completely empty your bladder?
  5. Do you have a poor or slow flow of urine?
  6. Do you have to strain to empty your bladder?

There are many things you can do to improve if not cure urinary incontinence, starting with understanding how to engage your pelvic floor, to performing correct pelvic floor exercises, and safe toileting posture.

If you would like any help in improving your urinary incontinence or would like to discuss this further please call 02 4655 5588 to find out how we can assist you further. Alternatively, you can book an appointment now with one of our Osteopaths.


For more information check out the Continence Foundation of Australia for some great information and resources.