Abdominal Separation (Diastasis recti) is a condition that occurs when the muscles of the abdomen separate, often resulting in a bulge or protrusion in the abdominal area. This condition is most common during and after Pregnancy.
In this article we will discuss the causes of Abdominal Separation, safe exercises you can do, and what to avoid should you have it.
What Causes Abdominal Separation, Diastasis Recti?
During pregnancy, the growing uterus can put pressure on the abdominal muscles, causing them to stretch and separate. After childbirth, these muscles may not fully return to their pre-pregnancy position, resulting in a separation or gap. Diastasis recti are typically diagnosed by a physical examination, during which the healthcare provider will assess the width and depth of the separation.
It’s important to note that abdominal separation is a common and generally benign condition that can be managed with proper treatment. However, it’s always a good idea to discuss any concerns with a healthcare provider.
How Common is Abdominal Separation During Pregnancy?
It is a common condition that occurs during pregnancy in which the rectus abdominis muscles, which run vertically on either side of the midline of the abdomen, separate along the midline. This separation can cause a bulge or ridge to appear in the abdomen, and it can lead to lower back pain, poor posture, and difficulty with core stability. Abdominal separation can also occur in men and non-pregnant women.
Does Everyone Get Abdominal Separations in Pregnancy?
Pregnancy is a common cause of diastasis recti abdominis because the growing uterus stretches the abdominal muscles and connective tissue. The condition happens more in women who are pregnant with twins or who have large babies, and it is also more common in women who have had multiple pregnancies or who have weak abdominal muscles. About 2/3 of women suffer from abdominal separation while pregnant
What Should You Not Do with Abdominal Separation?
If you have diastasis recti abdominis, it is important to avoid exercises that put a strain on the abdominal muscles, such as sit-ups, crunches, and oblique curls. Instead, focus on exercises that strengthen the muscles of the pelvic floor and lower back, such as pelvic tilts and hip bridges. It is also important to practice good posture and to avoid lifting heavy objects or engaging in activities that strain the abdominal muscles.
What Happens if Diastasis Recti Goes Untreated?
Diastasis recti is generally not a serious condition and can often be treated with exercises to strengthen the abdominal muscles. However, if left untreated, it can lead to complications such as lower back pain, poor posture, and difficulty with certain physical activities. In rare cases, abdominal separation may be severe enough to require surgical intervention.
Postpartum Diastasis Recti Test Instructions
Check the elasticity of your linea alba following the at-home test below if you’re worried you’ve developed diastasis recti after pregnancy. When you see a bulge or gap in your abdominal wall in the early postpartum days, don’t be alarmed. Postpartum, your linea alba may take some time to heal. Furthermore, nursing may prolong the healing process.
Here are two ways you can test for Abdominal Separation at home;
- You should place two fingertips down the center of your belly, starting at the bottom of the rib cage and ending at the pubic bone. Lie on your back and press your fingertips down gently. Is there any difference in tension between your ab muscles when you push down while your core is at rest? You may be experiencing diastasis if you feel your finger drop down into a hole or lose tension in a spot.
- Place one hand behind your head. Lift your head, neck, and shoulders an inch off the ground. It is common to notice a bulge along the abdominal wall after separation. However, a bulge is not the only indication of diastasis recti.
Check the tension in the middle of your belly with your fingertips, even if there is no bulge visible. Now you’re focused on feeling any easing of tension. The width of your separation can be determined by your fingers feeling a dip, indicating diastasis. By dropping your fingers between your abs, you can determine how many fingers you can squeeze in.
How do You Fix Diastasis Recti Abdominal Separation?
The best time to start strengthening your core is before you get pregnant, but if you already have Diastasis Recti, then you want to make sure that you are conditioning this in a proper way
It can be treated with a variety of approaches, including:
Exercise is often the first line of treatment for abdominal separation. Specifically, exercises that target the transverse abdominal muscles, which run horizontally across the abdomen, can help to strengthen and tighten the muscles, reducing the separation. You can also do exercises that strengthen the pelvic floor muscles.
Safe Exercises include:
The hip flexors and lower back are often used along with pulling out the abdominal wall in order to lift the legs. Your core will be strengthened by this diastasis recti exercise. By doing this, your body can begin to learn how it feels when you use correct core mechanics while increasing the load.
For regaining your neutral alignment, diastasis recti exercise that release tension in your back and hip flexors and activate your pelvic floor and core are excellent. The inner core muscles also coordinate with them. During this exercise, ensure that your core is moving rather than your spine, pelvis, or hips.
Once your core is stronger, you should begin increasing the load. As you continue to do this, you will become stronger. It is challenging for the core to remain engaged when raising the leg up to a 90-degree position. It is very difficult to hold your leg in that raised position if you have diastasis recti. As you become stronger, you can gradually increase the load of these toe taps even further.
Is among the safest exercises for diastasis recti, and it can help strengthen your core. By lying down on your side or facing upwards, fill your belly with air and exhale slowly. Performing this exercise engages your core muscles. To get the full benefit, it is important to make diaphragmatic breathing a routine in order to strengthen your core muscles.
2. Physical Therapy
Physical therapy can also be helpful in treating abdominal separation. A physical therapist can teach you specific exercises and techniques to help improve the strength and function of your abdominal muscles and reduce separation.
In some cases, surgery may be recommended to repair abdominal separation. This typically involves bringing the separated muscles back together and strengthening them with sutures or mesh. Surgery is usually only recommended for severe cases of abdominal separation that have not responded to other forms of treatment.
It’s important to consult with a healthcare provider for an accurate diagnosis and personalized treatment plan for abdominal separation.
What to Avoid if you Have Abdominal Separation
Here are some things to avoid if you have abdominal separation:
• Heavy lifting or strenuous exercise: Avoid lifting heavy objects or doing exercises that put a lot of strain on your abdominal muscles, such as sit-ups or crunches.
• Twisting or bending movements: Activities that involve twisting or bending at the waist, such as gardening or golfing should be avoided.
• High-impact activities: Refrain from doing high-impact activities like running or jumping, which can put extra pressure on your abdominal muscles.
• Straining to have a bowel movement: Avoid straining to have a bowel movement, as this can put extra pressure on your abdominal muscles.
• Wearing tight clothing: Do not wear tight clothing or clothing that puts pressure on your abdominal muscles, such as tight belts or waistbands.
Talking to your healthcare provider before starting any exercise program is important, especially if you have abdominal separation. They can recommend safe exercises and guide you on how to manage and improve your condition. Please note that You should always consult with a qualified physician or health professional about your specific circumstances. Please be informed that the information provided here is not intended to constitute medical or health advice.