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Diastasis Recti – Is it common and can it be fixed?

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Diastasis Recti is a condition where the abdominal separate at the linea alba (the white line which starts from the xiphoid process to the pubic symphysis).

Abdominal separation is a very common condition in postmenopausal women, in women during pregnancy as well as men that have prolonged transverse stresses due to wrong exercising or rapid increase of weight.

Diastasis Recti During Pregnancy:

During pregnancy that white line (linea alba) needs to soften so that there is more space for the fetus to grow. Usually the women that suffer with it feel that they are still pregnant.

You are considered to have diastasis recti if you can place more than 2 fingers in the sulcus between the medial borders of the rectus abdominus. A therapist can accurately diagnose if you do suffer from diastasis recti and an ultrasound scan can give you more precise measurements.

Management

There are reports of women with diastasis recti that will suffer from abdominal pain, bloating, and lower back pain. There is no scientific correlation of abdominal separation and pelvic floor weakness, or pelvic dysfunction but combination of all can create core stability insufficiency.

The exercises that are necessary for diastasis recti management are:

  1. Kegel exercises: these exercises can be performed throughout the pregnancy and postpartum
  2. Breathing exercises: during pregnancy the diaphragm is pushed upwards so it is essential to regain its ability to descend while breathing.
  3. Progressive core exercises: core stabilising exercises that help retrain your pelvic positioning and engage the deeper core stabiliser muscles are important.

Be CAUTIOUS and do not perform sit ups, crunches even front planks if you have abdominal separation, as these increase the intra-abdominal pressure and are delaying or worsening your abdominal healing process.

It is very important throughout pregnancy and the first weeks after to look after your body’s mechanics. For example do not sit up when getting out of bed but roll out. When lifting heavy objects or your child try to bring it as close to your body as possible, use your legs to help with the lifting motion and do not forget to breath in and out as you are lifting.

Follow the link for examples of exercises that you can start with when having abdominal separation: Click here. 

Book in with Maria Gkini if you have concerns or believe to have this issue.

Maria Gkini

Senior Chartered Physiotherapist

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