Have I got Diastasis Recti: Abdominal Separation
Diastasis Recti or abdominal separation is perfectly natural, very common, painless parting of the outermost abdominal muscle during late pregnancy. Quite simply, the rectus abdominals, or 6-pack muscle, separates to make room for your growing baby. With the widening and thinning of the mid line tissue occurs in response the force of the uterus pushing against the abdominal wall, in conjunction with pregnancy hormones that soften connective tissue. A mid line of more than 2 to 2.5 finger-widths, or 2 centimeters, is considered problematic. Diastasis recti can occur anytime in the last half of pregnancy but is most commonly seen after pregnancy when the abdominal wall is lax and the thinner mid line tissue no longer provides adequate support for the torso and internal organs.
Especially with the ‘wrong’ type of abdominal exercises, you have the risk of it not always returning to its natural position after childbirth. This can cause your stomach to pooch and sometimes make you appear to still be a few months pregnant. This also can be associated with a weak core which can lead to a lack of strength & stability in the entire pelvic region & midsection.
You can test by lying down on your back with your knees bent & your feet flat on the floor. Relax your head & shoulders & place your fingers (palm facing you) just above your belly button. Lift your head, neck & shoulders slightly off the floor & press down with your fingertips. If you feel a gap, that’s the diastasis. You will feel the muscles close in around your fingers as you lift your head & neck. Don’t lift your shoulders up too high. Repeat the test in two other place: directly over the belly button, & a couple of inches below. A diastasis recti gap is measured in finger widths. Remember this separation and then you can gage and see results with your exercise as within 3 weeks of specific exercise and good post natal posture you should have reduced the separation.
Please Note: Crunches, plank, sit-ups will make a diastasis worse! Exercise and good posture can help close up this separation.
When you perform these ‘not to do exercises’ with abdominal separation you blow out your tummy muscles putting more pressure on the weakened abdominal wall, causing an increase in separation.