DIASTASIS RECTUS ABDOMINUS
You guys, there is so much talk about Diastasis Recti these days! You know, the separation of the abdominal muscles during pregnancy that is being linked to incontinence, back pain and the dreaded postpartum “mummy tummy” (I hate that term…but that’s for another post). But what if I told you…that it’s normal!? Let’s think through this:
Your “6 pack” abs run vertically down the front of your body. The right and left “packs” are separated by a ligament called the linea alba. During pregnancy (and especially during multiples pregnancies – shout out to my twin+ moms) your belly grows to accommodate for the baby inside so your midline ligament softens and widens. This has to happen. I repeat, this has to happen. So, abdominal separation during pregnancy and in the early postpartum period is normal and nothing to be scared about.
Now, what about what if you’re experiencing problems with your core and/or pelvic floor? These can look like incontinence, prolapse, hernia, pelvic/back pain or the look of a rounded tummy even years postpartum. Can your diastasis be the reason? Ready for everybody’s favorite answer? Sometimes!
Sometimes, absolutely, the diastasis is leading to your complaints and working on it up will resolve what you’re experiencing. However, more often than not, it’s one component to be addressed in a rehabilitation program for the whole body. Right? We can’t blame everything on a diastasis when so many other factors contribute to the full picture of a woman’s body postpartum.
So how do you rehab a separation?
1) Determine if you have a DRA and if you even need rehab for it (Pelvic Physio)
2) Address the things that are keeping it open (which is usually quite a long list). This is where almost everyone is getting it wrong! It’s like a tug of war, if you start doing strengthening exercises to close what’s being held open by something else…it’s not going to close in a permanent way. BUT, when you remove what’s keeping the gap open, it’s astonishing how the diastasis begins to close on its own (Pelvic Physio)
3) Actively close up what’s left after the body does its own magic (Pelvic Physio AND so many great fitness resources in person and online. I have some favorites if anybody wants a recommendation).
Oh, and it’s never too late to bounce back ;)