Post Pregnancy Abdominal Separation ( Diastasis Recti ): What we can do for you !

Although most new moms would love to get their pre -baby tummies back,some have been told, or may have noticed,that they have a split or separation in their abdominal muscles. So what does this mean ? how does it affect you and your exercise regime ? who do you go to for help?

Diastasis Recti is a term used to describe a separation of the rectus abdominis ( large very front of abdominal wall muscle ) into two halves. Normally there is a line of tensio known as the linea alba,that joins the two sides of the abdominal wall. Often in pregnancy , and especially with subsequent pregnancies, as the baby grows the lines alba gets stretched to accommodate the growth.

If you notice you have a bulge runnng down the centre of your tummy when you lie on your back with head up, you may have a diastasis.

A certain amount of separation is considered norma but if the speaeation is too large then the concern is that the core muscles cannot function properly and therefore lead to poor stabilzation of the pelvis ,hips,lowe back ,ribs and neck as well as pelvic floor and risk of hernia or tearing.

If you are concerned as to whether or not you have some diastasis, check in with your GP ,OB/GYN or a physiotherapist specifically trained in womens health. Trimetrics physiotherapists trained in womens health routinely see post partum mums,usually around 6- 8 weeks after delivery. We assess not only the integrity of the abdominal muscular wall but also the alignment of the bones of the pelvis,spine and hips as malalignments are common and can lead to a host of issues later in life, if left untreated. We also assess the pelvic floor muscles so that incontinence and painful intercourse problems ( very common especially after a traumatic delivery ) can be avoided.

Trimetrics is one of a few clinics which offers Real Time Ultrasound assessment as a routine check on the abdominal wall and pelvic floor. This is similar to the ultrasound you would have had in pregnancy. Its a fantastic tool which allows you and us to see the muscles in real time, check for separation as well as see what is working ,over or under working and make the corrections on the spot as you watch.Rehab on the spot ! From there we can customize your exercise rehab program. In the presence of any diastasis it is especially important to activate the core system correctly and avoid sit ups and crunches which can increase the separation of the abdominal muscles. We have much safer ways to challenege the core system with a Clinical Pilates approach. We offer pre and post natal classes weekly for those needing this excellent work.

Current research suggests that proper assessment and specific abdominal rehabilitation helps women to rgain strength and postural alignment for life as well as sports. If the split is too large,surgery to repair may be indicated.

If you have conerns about pelvic alignment, pelvic floor damage  ( may be weak and loose or too tight ) or diastasis, feel free to book a 60 minute appointment with me and I will be happy to do all I can to get you on your way to the fitness you need to meet the challenges as well as the joy, of life  a mum !

Kirsten Stalberg

Registered Physiotherapist