If you are pregnant or postpartum and your stomach seems to protrude more than normal, you may have a stable diastasis. Diastasis Recti is a common condition during pregnancy, affecting about 30 percent of women, in which the abdominal muscles expand, causing stomach development or bulging. Although in many cases, abdominal separation will resolve itself, it is important to identify the condition so you do not engage in activities or exercises that could aggravate the separation. Here is everything you need to know about Diastasis Recti and pregnancy and what you can do to cure it.

What are the causes of Diastasis Recti?

Diastasis Recti is the result of a combination of uterine growth and pressure on the abdominal wall and pregnancy hormones that cause connective tissue softening. When the abdominal muscles are stretched, the uterus, intestines and other organs are left with only a thin layer of tissue to hold them in place. This results in swelling of the stomach. You are more likely to suffer from Diastasis Recti if you have had multiple children, have big babies, or have multiple babies. It is also more common at the age of 35 years.

How does Diastasis Recti affect pregnancy?

While you cannot be bothered by a protruding stomach during pregnancy, the symptoms of Diastasis Recti can be uncomfortable. Common symptoms include back pain, difficulty breathing, pelvic floor problems, leakage of urine and constipation. Diastasis Recti can also make a vaginal delivery more difficult because you will not have the same muscle support. In rare cases, Diastasis Recti can cause a hernia.

What should I do if I have Diastasis Recti?

You may not recognize the presence of Diastasis Recti until you have given birth when your stomach still seems to last several months after giving birth. At this point, what you do not do is as important as what you do in healing your abdominal separation.

  • Do NOT tire the muscles in your stomach by lifting heavy objects or constipation.
  • Do NOT use exercises that use your abdominal muscles such as crunches, crunches, pumps, or boards.
  • Do NOT do exercises on your hands and knees.

While this may seem like a good way to restore the strength of your stomach after pregnancy, all of the above exercises and movements can actually worsen the degree of separation between the abdominal muscles.

Although Diastasis Recti minor will probably resolve itself over time if you are concerned or planning to get pregnant again, seek the help of a physiotherapist. A physiotherapist can guide you through exercises that are safe for the condition and will aim to strengthen your stomach muscles without further separating the outer abdominal wall. Exercises can involve a belly splint or Pilates and can be effective in reducing separation. If the separation is too big and the rehabilitation is ineffective, you can have an abdominoplasty surgery to correct the problem.

Though Diastasis Recti may be unavoidable for many women, the best way to reduce your risk of developing is to strengthen your abdominal muscles before becoming pregnant. Strong trunk muscles going into pregnancy will be less likely to separate due to pressure from the growing uterus. It should be noted, however, that all women will experience some degree of diastasis in their third trimester as the baby grows older.


Author: Angelina




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