Published: Mon, January 30, 2017
World | By Lorena Waters

Helping Heal Your Abdominal Diastasis

Helping Heal Your Abdominal Diastasis

By Dr. Sarah Visconti BSN, DC

A growing belly is one of the most apparent - and adorable - signs of pregnancy. Less obvious, though, is the potential damage of the expanding abdomen.

What is diastasis recti? To accommodate for a developing baby, pregnancy hormones soften the muscles and connective tissue of the abdominal wall to make them more pliable. Stretching causes these structures to widen and thin, weakening them. The pressure from the uterus increases, the vulnerable structures can separate and create diastasis.

The linea alba is a fibrous band of connective tissue that holds the two halves of the rectus abdominis (or the six-pack muscle ) Together. Since it is the central connection, it is the primary structure involved in diastasis recti. When suffering from diastasis, the linea alba fails to become tense with contraction and becomes wider than what is anatomically appropriate.

While it can occur in premature babies and those with excess abdominal fat, pregnancy is the most common cause Of diastasis recti. Some degree of abdominal separation occurs in every pregnancy. However, women over age 35, women carrying a high birth weight or multiple babies, and women having multiple pregnancies are more susceptible to problemtic separation.

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What are the symptoms of diastasis recti? Symptom cause by diastasis recti is a bulge in the middle of the abdomen where the muscles are separated. Even with weight loss, a bulge caused by diastasis will persist. This bulge may be noticeable only when the rectus muscles are tightened and contracted. Other symptoms include low back pain, difficulty lifting, and incontinence.

How do I know if I have diastasis recti? Degree.

What can I do if I have diastasis recti?

The separation caused by diastasis recti usually lessens within a few months after childbirth. However, this may not be the case for excessively wide gaps and / or chronically weak core muscles.

The best way to reverse diastasis is to strengthen the entire core. There are two key exercises for abdominal separation: 1) Transversus Abdominis Tightening : While this is a simple exercise, it can be tricky to do properly. The most common mistake is to suck in the abdomen without ever engaging the core. To properly tighten, pretend that the bellybutton is being vacuumed towards the spine. Or, think of how the core would tighten if it was about to be punched. The shoulders, chest, and pelvis should be stationary and breathing, talking, and smiling should all be easy to do during this exercise. Think of it as the core muscles giving the abdominal cavity a warm hug. Side Bridge : this exercise will help to strengthen the core (and the shoulders, arms, and Gluteals!) Without increasing midline abdominal pressure. It is important to avoid exercises that increase pressure on the linea alba and rectus abdominis , as they can worsen the separation. Abdominal banding can add some external support and create awareness of the lower abdomen, but it should be not > Be a substitute to core exercises.

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