After nine (or more!) months.) of being pregnant with your child Your body needs time to heal after that, as is only natural. While our bodies go through considerable changes during pregnancy and after delivery, one aspect of pregnancy that you may not have thought about is the toll that pregnancy and delivery can take on your abs.
For some postpartum women, these muscles return to their original position, but for some women with diastasis recti, you may be left with annoying dogs and weak core muscles.
How can one tell if they have diastasis recti? How do you deal with it? Discover the solution by continuing to read.
What is Diastasis Recti?
The term “diastasis recti” refers to the abdominal separation that happens when the rectus abdominis, which consists of two sizable vertical banks of muscles that meet in the middle of your abdomen and conceal your six-pack, pulls apart from its attachment point. There’s a good chance that you’ve gone through some separation in this area if you’ve carried a baby to term.
To move and transfer weight through the pelvic region, the rectus abdominis, the largest of the abdominal muscles, collaborates with the pelvis and lower back. If you exercise without being careful when this separation, known as diastasis recti, occurs, the risk of injury is high, especially when exercising your back.
How to tell if you have diastasis recti:
- Bent knees while lying flat on your back.
- Set three fingers at your belly button and extend them toward your toes along your midline.
- Lift head one inch to engage abs, so they “grab” your fingers. Add or subtract fingers as you feel for the width and depth of the gully at the midline.
- 2.5 inches below and above the belly button, repeat. Diastasis recti can be diagnosed by any gap larger than an inch.
What Causes Diastasis Recti?
Your abdominal area (abs) experiences a lot of pressure during pregnancy. The linea alba, a slender band of connective tissue, sits between the left and right abdominal muscles to form the abdomen. They are stretched and pushed apart to make room for the developing infant. When the linea alba is stretched too far and doesn’t reconnect, it develops a diastasis recti. The left and right sides of the abdominals stay separated. It’s also referred to as an “ab gap” or abdominal separation.
Women who are pregnant or recently gave birth are more likely to experience diastasis recti, though it can also affect men and newborns. The third trimester is when diastasis recti typically manifests. Due to the baby’s rapid growth at this time, the abdominal wall is under more pressure. Most people don’t become aware of diastasis recti until after giving birth.
In women who are pregnant and after giving birth, diastasis recti is extremely common. 60% of people are affected by it. Eight weeks after delivery, it typically resolves itself. By six months after delivery, approximately 40% of people with diastasis recti still have it.
How to Treat Diastasis Recti?
Even though diastasis recti doesn’t always hurt, it can still be a painful blow to your self-esteem. There are many ways to self-treat diastasis recti, but don’t do it. Crunches, for example, can occasionally make things worse.
“Sometimes the diastasis recti goes away on its own and sometimes it improves with exercises and physical therapy,” Dr. Mahnert said. “However, after delivery, every woman should consult with a pelvic floor physical therapist or specialist to assess the abdominal wall and pelvic floor muscles and begin a strengthening and alignment program. While less frequent, some women need surgical intervention.”
Perform Gentle Movements
You must carry out gentle abdominal muscle-engaging movements to treat diastasis recti. Check that an exercise program is safe for diastasis recti before beginning. Engage the assistance of a physical therapist or fitness expert with knowledge of diastasis recti. They can design a treatment strategy to make sure you are performing the movements correctly and advancing to more difficult movements at the appropriate times.
The abdominal separation will worsen with specific movements. During the postpartum period, there are some modifications you should make:
- Lift nothing heavier than your infant.
- When standing up from your bed or lying down, roll onto your side. For help getting up, use your arms.
- Avoid crunches and sit-ups as well as other exercises that force your abdominals outward.
Some Particular Exercises
After four to six weeks, begin the dead bug exercise, which involves lying on your back with your knees bent in a tabletop position, slowly lowering one heel to the ground, then slowly raising it back up. To engage and strengthen the deep core, alternate sides as you exhale. Remember to pull back if you don’t feel your abs engaged throughout the entire range of motion or notice your belly puffing out when you feel ready to introduce moves that put more of a demand on the abdomen, such as full planks, to avoid undoing the rehabilitation work you’re doing. For example:
- Pelvic tilts
- Heel slides
- Leg folds
- Toe taps
- Basic wall dead bug
- Side-lying clamshells
Things You Might Want to Avoid
- Planks, sit-ups, and traditional crunches until your abdomen is healed. By starting these workouts too soon, the condition might worsen and last longer.!
- Lifting or carrying heavy loads
- Coughing without supporting your ab muscles
- Sitting straight up from bed or lying down position (you should aim to roll to your side before sitting up)
Although diastasis recti are unavoidable as your child grows, you can and ought to maintain a strong core. Engage in breathing and pelvic floor exercises throughout the day, and modify your workouts to lessen stress on your middle muscles. Breathing exercises and pelvic floor exercises are two of the most crucial things to do for your middle muscles.