Diastasis Recti Abdominis is a physical condition in which the two parallel bands of muscles that meet in the middle of the abdomen are separated creating space in-between. “Diastasis” means separation and “Recti Abdominis” refers to the ab muscles in the abdomen called “rectus abdominis”.
This condition is very common among women after pregnancy especially those that have heavy babies or twins, triplets or are of small figure or are older. Having more than one child makes it more likely to have this disorder, particularly if they are closer in age. Men suffer from Diastasis Recti Abdominis possibly from yo-yo dieting, from doing extreme sit-ups and ab exercises or weight lifting the wrong way. Newborns also get Diastasis Recti Abdominis sometime and it usually goes away on its own.
This condition can cause lower back pain, constipation, and urine leaking. It makes hard to lift heavy objects even babies. Sometimes sitting or standing also becomes painful as they are lifting their own weight. In extreme cases, it causes breathing difficulties and movement problems. Rarely in some cases, it causes the tissue to tear which leads to organs poking out of the opening which is called a hernia.
The doctor measures the gap between the muscles and keeps track of the improvement using finger widths, a measuring tape or ultrasound. If the abdominal separation is not too big, a person can leave with it. But it is important to bring the muscles back together if planning to have another baby. In mild cases, Diastasis Recti Abdominis can be treated by certain exercises that help to gain some degree of abdominal strength and learning gentle movements to use while the abs are supported. Your health care provider may suggest you to a physical therapist.
If this condition is interfering with your daily activities excessively or the physical therapy is not working, surgery is the option to repair muscle separation. Also if you are bothered with the huge bulge on your belly, surgery can be considered for cosmetic reasons. An operation to correct diastasis is known as “abdominoplasty” or “a tummy tuck.” The surgeon folds and sews the vulnerable central ridge together. Laparoscopy, which is surgery performed with only minor cuts, may be obtained instead of one wide one. Some surgery can include scarring, infection, and other side effects.
Physical therapists have no specific instructions for what movements would put the abdominal muscles back into line with each other. Some studies found the Tupler technique to be effective. It involves certain exercises that are performed while wearing a splint on the abdomen which protects and keeps the ab muscles together.
Some Pilates or other exercises that help you strengthen and rely more on your transverse (deep core) abdominal muscles instead of the outer ones when the connective tissue has cured. Though, not all Pilates or relaxation exercises are safe during pregnancy, so make sure you work with a trainer who knows what “diastasis recti” requires.
It is important to take advice from a healthcare professional if you are suffering from Diastasis Recti Abdominis. Refraining from doing the heavy lifting, seeking advice from trainers during exercise and special care after the pregnancy is compulsory. The perfect time to start core strengthening is before you are pregnant if you don’t have an abdominal separation already. Before you start any workouts during or after pregnancy, be sure to ask your doctor what is safe for you to do and what is out – of-limit for now.