All About Diastasis Recti. The Low Down!
All About Diastasis Recti. The Low Down!
I have done videos on this subject, and have talked about it on occasion. I have praised the Squeem belly binder for helping correct it, but I would like to really TALK about the condition itself, of diastasis recti. What it is, and what it means for you.
By definition, diastasis recti, is a physical condition, that occurs, when the right and the left halves of the abdominals, split apart, for whatever reason.
Much like a zipper, opening up down the center, and is most commonly due to pregnancy, but not limited to it. A diastasis can even happen during labor, if there is a lot of forceful pushing involved, in the final stages of delivery.
Some women have a very mild separation of these muscles, of 2 finger widths or less, while others can suffer, 3, 4, or even as large as a 5-10 finger separation. 1 finger width is considered, average or ‘Normal’, if you will, and requires no real attention, however every woman should take care of her abdominals, to help keep them strong, and together, by avoiding traditional crunch type exercises, and taking care, when rising out of bed in the morning, and coughing forcefully, or lifting heavy objects.
Diastasis is not only seen in women, but also in newborn infants, and contrary to popular belief, even men can suffer from this ‘Not so talked about’, condition. In infants, it usually goes away without trouble, and they outgrow the condition. A few may need surgery, in the cases where a hernia has formed. Premature infants are most at risk.
For women, the rectus abdominis muscles, get stretched during pregnancy, especially, with multiple gestations, as you will likely grow larger then if you had a singleton pregnancy, though it’s no guarantee. Some twin moms, will get lucky. Women also who have had previous pregnancies, are also more at risk, as they have had their ab muscles previously stretched before.
Approximately 1 in 3 pregnant women, will develop, an abdominal separation, which comes to roughly 33%, that is including first time mothers, so it’s a much more common occurrence then most might think.
What you need to do if you notice you are a woman with a postpartum diastasis, or are pregnant, or planning to become pregnant now, is that you need to lay off, ANYTHING that will strain your abdominals, for the 1st 6 weeks of the postpartum period.
No heavy lifting, no attempts at abdominal exercise of any kind, and binding your tummy, will definitely help slim your bulge down, bring the muscles back together, and encourage them to stay that way. It’s never too soon, nor too late, might I add, to bind up that belly, especially where a diastasis recti is present.
Doing exercises where you are allowing the muscles to bulge out, will make the condition worse, so great care is needed to be taken, while you are closing up, your abdominal separation. Oh, and a quick note. After 12 weeks of pregnancy, women should avoid intense abdominal exercise. This is where I went wrong, thinking, I was helping myself, to get into better shape for the postpartum period (BIG regret).
I wish I avoided ALL ab exercises during pregnancy, and would even encourage a pregnant woman to do that, based on my own experience. It may have saved me so much worry, and anguish. Take my advice, you are less likely to develop a diastasis to begin with, if you forgo all crunches, and most ab workouts, during pregnancy!
The hormones in the body of a pregnant women, affect the muscles, and make them more lax, and prone to tearing apart, down the center, so after 12 weeks, take A LOT of caution. You can get yourself back to your former self, after pregnancy. Muscles have memory, no worries. Workout the rest of your body. Take long walks, do light aerobic exercise, even lift small weights, and do light strength training, but not too much. Just leave the abs alone.
A diastasis can be easily detected by the standard finger test.
Click here to see more, if you are unfamiliar with this test, and a diastasis is most commonly found, when a woman, man or baby, is attempting a crunch or sitting up, which strains the abs and makes the diastasis bulge most apparent.
The bulge will appear seemingly triangular, or football shaped, running down the Linea Alba, which is straight down the center of your abdominals, running over your belly button. If you see a bulge there, you can likely bet, you have a diastasis, and need to take care, and try and treat the condition.
It can be open only above the navel, below, or the whole way down the Linea Alba, so with your fingers be sure and test the entire length from top to bottom, down to your pubic region.
The overall prognosis for those with diastasis is usually quite good, especially in those who take caution, and don’t further exacerbate the condition. In severe cases, surgery for an umbilical hernia may be warranted, or in cases where the diastasis ‘Gap’ is extremely wide (10 fingers, as an example), however, it does not mean, any women should rush to surgery, without giving their bodies time to heal (If they are postpartum).
Also, without trying other less extreme methods first, like binding, exercises made especially for diastasis recti, and physical therapy if warranted. Surgery is a last resort option.
Have hope, take caution, be hopeful, and watch my videos 😆
A diastasis, doesn’t have to be forever!
The muscles that make up the core
Diastasis recti in a newborn baby
Finger test for diastasis
Mummy tummy, after baby. You CAN do something, to flatten it, back up, again!
Nobody wants to look pregnant forever.