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What is Diastasis Recti

diastasis-image

Pronunciation:

dye-uh-STAY-siss REK-tye

Also Known As:

diastasis, abdominal separation

Definition:

Diastasis recti is a condition where the right and left sides of the rectus abdominus (the muscle that makes up the front wall of the abdominals, also known as the “six-pack” muscle) spread apart at your midline. Diastasis negatively affects the strength of the abdominal wall and can aggravate lower back pain.

What causes Diastasis?

Abdominal separation occurs most often in response to the uterus pushing against the abdominal wall during pregnancy. It can also happen when there is an extreme over-abundance of sub-muscular (visceral) abdominal fat. In pregnancy, hormones are also partially to blame, as they can soften connective tissue, allowing the separation to occur more easily.

How do I recognize Diastasis?

While some mothers discover they have it during pregnancy, others don’t find out until after birth. It happens to mothers whether they deliver their babies naturally or with a cesarean section. You will develop a gap or space below your navel and will notice a small mound protruding at your midline.

Risks of developing diastasis are greater in women who:

  • Have twins or more
  • complications of abdominal separation in a prior pregnancy
  • Have a smaller build
  • have an inclined back or weak abdomen

Genetics are also a factor in predisposing some women to this condition.

What are the complications?

Without treatment, muscular separation can cause some common health problems including: chronic pain in the waistline, back pain and an alteration of your posture due to a lack of abdominal strength and support.

Treatment:

There are simple ways to treat a muscular separation after giving birth to your baby. Basic abdominal exercises prove to be very helpful along with the use of a Post Partum Girdle or Corset which reduces recovery time diminishes complications caused by muscle separation and adds the esthetic benefit of helping you return to your pre-pregnancy figure. Even without diastasis, post natal women need adequate core strength and stability for proper lifting and carrying. Your BelleFit Girdle or Corset will give you the support you need.

Will I Recover from Diastasis Recti?:

There are many misconceptions regarding the issue of abdominal reconditioning. This is especially true when it comes to abdominal separation after pregnancy. You’re likely to encounter a broad range of contradictory opinions and advice about how to recondition your abdominal wall and how to restore the midline after childbirth. Some of these assertions can cause unnecessary alarm, while another common piece of advice-do a lot of “crunches”-can actually worsen abdominal separation/diastasis recti.

Diastasis Recti Test

This simple self-test will help you determine if you have abdominal separation/diastasis recti and help gage its severity.

1. Lie on your back with your knees bent with the soles of your feet directly on the floor.

2. Place one hand behind your head and the other hand on your abdomen. Your fingertips should be parallel with your waistline and at the level of your belly button.

3. Make sure your abdominal muscles are relaxed and then gently press your fingertips into your abdomen.

4. Roll up into a crunch position while making sure that your ribcage moves closer to your pelvis.

5. Move your fingertips back and forth across your midline, feeling for the right and left sides of your rectus abdominis muscle.

How many fingers can you place in the gap? Placing one to two fingers in the gap is normal however if you can place more than two fingers in the gap, you have diastasis recti.

Some Types of Movement to Avoid

  • Crunches
  • Sit-ups
  • Backbending
  • Oblique twists
  • Planks
  • Curl-ups
  • Lying backwards over an exercise ball
  • Exercising on your back and knees
  • Carrying or lifting heavy objects
  • Deep belly breathing
  • Any activity that stretches or overly expands the abdominal wall

In general it is best to avoid anything that “jack-knifes” the body, by pivoting at the hip and placing strain on the abdominals. Examples of these movements are straight leg lifts or holds while lying on your back and similar Pilates or Yoga.

 
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