What is Diastasis Recti? Learn what you should and shouldn't be doing when returning to exercise after having a baby.
Have you had a baby and do you feel like you look like you are still 20 weeks pregnant or more? It is possible that you have a gap between you abdominals muscles following pregnancy, which is know as Diastasis Recti and it is pretty common (I've had it with both my children).
What is Diastasis Recti?
During pregnancy, many women experience a separation of their stomach muscles known as Diastasis recti, this condition occurs when the main abdominal muscles (called the rectus abdominus) begin to pull apart. The left and right sides of this muscle separate, leaving a gap in between. During the postnatal period this gap begins to close. For some women this gap closes fully and causes them no problems. For others this gap can be slower to close and may need certain exercises to help facilitate the healing. This gap can get worse over time, if posture or nutrition is less than ideal and unsuitable exercises are done this may result in future health complications such as lower back pain, hernia's and pelvic floor issues.
Doing the correct exercises to aid recovery is important. While there is a gap there is a weakness and certain exercises, such as crunches or strong oblique work, can make this worse or cause the muscles to pull apart. Some exercises put too much pressure on the core and make the problem worse, press ups for example, or working on your hand and knees. If there is a gap then doing an exercise on all fours whilst working against gravity can be very challenging to keep the right muscles activated and literally to stop everything hanging out.
The aim with postnatal exercise is to bring the abdominals together and ensure that they are functioning correctly. Sometimes a gap remains but what is important is function that they are not doming when you are lying on your back or hanging out when on a fours.
Symptoms of Diastasis recti
Separation of the abdominal muscles is typically painless but there are a few symptoms that will help you to identify the condition. These include:
A gap or space just below your navel bump or ridge running from your breastbone down to your navel
Weakness with the pelvic floor
Pain in the lower back
Exercises to avoid if separation is greater than 2 fingers:
Press-ups, Exercises on all four's, Oblique work, crunches, planks and any exercise where doming occurs.
Soft Tissue takes a year to heal so it is important that you heal and restore your core correctly and continue to do suitable exercises during this period.
Holistic Core Restore® 'Everywoman' is a Pelvic Floor, Core and women's fitness/wellness programme comprising of Movement & Exercise, Nutritional guidance, Education & Support to help heal your diasis.
Booking is open for the first course of January 2019 Click here for more info or to book your place.