ABDOMINAL SEPARATION
or diastasis recti

VARIOUS KINDS OF ABDOMINAL SEPARATION

Abdominal separation or diastasis recti is very common among pregnant and postnatal women.  It is due to the growth of your baby causing the space between your left and right abdominal muscles to widen. 

Who gets abdominal separation?

About two-thirds of pregnant women will develop this condition.

Having more than one child makes this more likely, especially if they’re close in age. You’re also more likely to get it if you’re over 35 when pregnant, or if you’re having a heavy baby or twins, triplets, or more.

Pregnancy puts so much pressure on the belly that sometimes the muscles in front can’t keep their shape. "Diastasis" means separation. "Recti" refers to your ab muscles called the "rectus abdominis."

When the abdominal muscles move aside like this, the uterus, bowels, and other organs have only a thin band of connective tissue in front to hold them in place.  The condition also can cause lower back pain, constipation, and urine leaking. It can even make it harder to breathe and to move normally.  It is really important to address this for your long term health and comfort.

The separation often shrinks after giving birth, but in some studies of women with diastasis recti who followed no rehabilitation program, the separation wasn't back to normal even a year later.

FitMama offers a variety of rehabilitation options to help repair the damage done and get your body functioning properly again.  You can join our postnatal Post Birth Rehabilitation course, or opt for 1:1 personal training instead.

In the mean time, here are some useful tips to cope:

Don't strain. It can make matters worse. Constipation and lifting heavy things, including your child, strain that connective tissue.

 

Standing up and sitting down also count as heavy lifting in this case, because you’re lifting your body weight so make sure you support yourself.

You push down when giving birth, but if done incorrectly, this action puts too much pressure on the weak abdominal tissue.  Learn how to safely deliver in Fitmama Pregnancy Classes.

Things to avoid:

Do be careful with exercise. Some routine fitness moves, including crunches, sit-ups, pushups, press-ups, and front planks, make abdominal separation worse. So can swimming breaststroke, some yoga poses like downward dog into plank, and doing anything on your hands and like press ups. Some trainers may suggest those exercises for women with abdominal separation, not knowing what could happen, this means they have not specialised in post birth health.