Previously unheard of, this is a common problem in many women. Don't worry, the experts at Fakih IVF tell us all about it...
2 July 2017| Last updated on 26 February 2018
Pregnancy puts so much pressure on the belly that sometimes the muscles in front can’t keep their shape. 'Diastasis' means separation. 'Recti' refers to your ab muscles called the 'rectus abdominis'. Sometimes the tissue heals, and the muscles come back together after delivery when your hormone levels return to pre-pregnancy levels. But if this doesn't happen in three to six months, you can end up with a gap that won't close without treatment.
Studies show that about 40 percent of women have a diastasis at six months postpartum. A diastasis can lead to other problems including chronic low back pain, urinary incontinence, constipation, pain during sex, and pelvic or hip pain.
- Lie on your back, with your knees bent and your feet on the floor
- Place your hand palm down over your belly, with your fingers pointing toward your toes
- Press your fingers gently into your navel area then slowly lift your head, drawing your chin to your chest. This causes your rectus abdominis to contract
Who is prone to Diastasis Recti?
- Overweight individuals carrying most of their weight in their abdomen
- Those who perform exercises incorrectly or with bad posture
- Women who are pregnant
- Women who gain more than the recommended amount of weight during pregnancy
- Women with multiple pregnancies or whose pregnancies are spaced closer together
- Women who are pregnant with more than one fetus at once (twins, triplets, etc.)
- Women over the age of 35
How can I avoid diastasis?
Special precautions for women with Diastasis Recti/Abdominal Separation
Some types of movement to avoid:
- Movements where the upper body twists and the arm on that side extends away from the body, such as "triangle pose."
- Exercises that require lying backward over a large exercise ball.
- Yoga postures that stretch the abs, such as "cow pose," "up-dog," all backbends, and "belly breathing."
- Abdominal exercises that flex the upper spine off the floor or against the force of gravity such as: as crunches, oblique curls, "bicycles," roll ups/roll downs, etc.
- Pilates mat and reformer exercises that utilize the "head float" position, upper body flexion, or double leg extension.
- Any exercise that causes your abdominal wall to bulge out upon exertion.
- Lifting and carrying very heavy objects.
- Quadrupeds exercises without adequate abdominal support.
- Intense coughing without abdominal support.