Diastasis recti is when your abdominal muscles or “6 pack muscles” separate. Your abdominal muscles attach from the front of your ribs down to your pubic bone. During pregnancy, the extra pressure that is placed on your abdominals can cause these muscles to separate to create room for your baby to grow. This might sound painful, but, most pregnant women don’t even realize they have abdominal separation until they are most post-partum or in their 2nd or 3rd trimester of the pregnancy. Although commonly related to pregnancy, abdominal separation can also occur in babies and men too.
An easy way to assess if you have diastasis recti is:
- Lie on your back with your knees up.
- Bring your chin to your chest, like you’re doing a crutch. If you have a separation, you might be able to see a bulge above or below your belly button.
- If you are unsure, you can place one or two fingers in your belly button and move it in a straight line above your belly button to where your ribs attach. Or below your belly button to your pubic bone. If you have a separation of your abdominal muscles, you will be able to fit 1,2 or 3 fingers in between your abdominal muscles.
It is recommended that you seek treatment under an experienced health professional to correctly diagnose you and provide a treatment plan for your recovery. Although some separations might start to narrow post-partum as you regain strength. There are some things you should avoid to help your abdominals come back together. This includes any crutches and abdominal exercises that can exaggerate your separation. Any heavy lifting, coughing, sneezing and straining without bracing your pelvic floor and holding your new bub on one hip.
At Whole Body Health and Wellness, we have post-partum specific assessments to treat conditions such as diastasis recti. Your osteopath can show you what exercises you can do at home to encourage the narrowing of your abdominals and address any other concerns you might have.
If you suspect that you may have a diastasis recti it is, please feel free to come in and talk to one of our health professionals or give us a call on 52001044 as we are passionate about supporting you!