Diastasis recti literally means separation of the rectus abdominus (six pack) muscles. This separation is a very common condition in pregnant women and moms, but is unfortunately not often diagnosed. During pregnancy, the pressure of the growing uterus separates these "six pack" muscles. Incorrect exercise, lifting and getting up and down incorrectly (jacknifing up or rolling back) can worsen the condition during pregnancy. The result? During pregnancy, the result could be back pain and ineffective pushing in labor. After birth? The result is that pesky post-baby pooch that does not seem to go away no matter what you do!
Do I Need to Treat this Condition?
Yes. After delivery, this separation does not close by itself in most women. With each pregnancy this separation can increase - which is why most women show earlier with each pregnancy. Rather than having a strong muscular wall and support around your core, women with a diastasis have just a thin piece of connective tissue holding the recti together at the belly button and above and below.
The weakness caused by diastasis can lead to continued back pain, weakness of the core and possibly herniation of the organs. For many women with this condition, it also gives a feeling of bloatedness - for the same reason women show faster in pregnancy, a big meal can increase your pants size too!
If left untreated, it is likely to get worse, not better, and the larger the separation the more difficult it is to treat.
And, of course, if we do not convince you to treat this for health reasons - let vanity be the catalyst! Treating diastasis is one of the key factors in restoring the core and helping you achieve a truly flat belly.
How to Check Yourself for Diastasis
Lie on back with knees bent as if you were going to do a crunch situp (which hopefully you will never do again!). Place one hand at your side, and the other hand on your belly. With this hand, place your fingers together pointing towards your feet and press on the belly button area. Next, lift your head and shoulders off the ground. You will start to feel those six-pack muscles protrude forward and your fingers will be in a dip between the muscles (if you have a diastasis). We measure the diastasis by how many fingers you can fit between each side of the recti muscles. Also check above and below your belly button, as the recti runs from the top of the pubic bone to the bottom of the ribs and the separation can vary along this mid-line.
How Do I Treat this Condition?
Diastasis can be treated by 1.) Strengthening the inner muscles of the core FIRST. The most important inner muscle to strengthen is the transverse abdominus. Strengthen this by pulling the belly button into the spine in a seated position. Incorporate other muscles of the core once the transverse is strengthened. 2.) Avoiding any exercise or activity which creates a forward forceful movement (always keep the belly button to the spine when doing exercises or "work" such as lifting your baby. if the abs come out as you do the "work" portion of any exercise, you should avoid this). 3.) Holding an external splint (towel or scarf) around your waist when you are doing exercise, especially if you have a separation of 3 finger widths or more.
Our Core Re-form program includes a specific "Diastasis Rx" segment to ensure diastasis is treated.
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