Pregnant woman sittign on couch holding back in pain

Diastasis Recti: Split Abs After Pregnancy

Kerrie-Ann Bernard Back pain, Pregnancy

 

You may be among the many new Moms that experience back pain (low back pain, mid back pain, and upper back pain), incontinence (leaking urine unintentionally when sneezing, running, or jumping), bulging stomach (sometimes called a “pooch”), as well as pelvic instability which can lead to pelvic girdle pain. If you’re experiencing back pain after giving birth, or you pee a little bit when you sneeze, or you have a change in your body shape post baby you might have diastasis recti.

What is diastasis recti?

Diastasis recti is a separation of the abdominal muscles. While the condition is common for pregnancy and postpartum, it is considered problematic when there’s a gap down the linea alba, the body’s midline fascia, of 2 to 3 finger-widths (about 2 centimetres).

How does it happen?

Pregnancy hormones soften your connective tissues, and a growing uterus puts pressure on the abdominal muscles, forcing the parallel bands that normally meet in the middle to separate. As these muscles move farther apart, you might find that you have a “hole” or gap in your abs. This gap in your abs appears after pregnancy and can be located anywhere from your rib cage to below your belly button. It can also leave you with a bulge in the front, where the muscles have separated.

How do I know if I have it?

Following pregnancy, you can do a self-check for diastasis recti at home. Lying on your back with your knees bent and feet flat, tilt your head up slightly to activate your abdominal muscles. Start at your belly button, pressing your fingers in along the line where the muscles should join. If at any point along that line you feel a gap or hole where there is no muscle; that is diastasis recti.

What can I do to “close the gap”?

You’ve done the test and suspect you have diastasis recti, what next?

Don’t do exercises like crunches, sit-ups, or planks until you make an appointment with a qualified physiotherapist to confirm that you have the condition. Isolating the wrong muscles or straining too hard can actually worsen the condition. This is also why you need to resist the urge to “fix it” yourself at home with online tutorials. Diastasis recti is easily treatable by a physiotherapist who can ensure you get better sooner and do not further strain your muscles.

 

We’re here to help! If you think you have diastasis recti give us a call or book online, we can help diagnose and treat the underlying cause of your pain.

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