Diastasis Recti

Updated: Mar 14

Diastasis recti (a.k.a abdominal muscle separation) is a condition in which certain abdominal muscles (Rectus Abdominis) separate and create a gap. It usually occurs in women in pregnancy, but generally isn’t diagnosed till after child birth. Women who have bigger babies at birth or who have multiple births have a higher chance of developing Diastasis Recti.

It is estimated that approximately 30-68% of women will experience Diastasis Recti after giving birth.

This condition is not only limited to pregnancy or the postnatal period though. Diastasis recti may also affect men. In some cases it may result from improper use of abdominal muscles or improper heavy lifting.

What are the signs & symptoms?

The most common signs you may notice are a bulge in your stomach, especially when trying to sit up (straining the abdominal muscles).

Diastasis Recti usually leads to

  • Poor core stabilization,

  • Pelvic floor dysfunction,

  • Pelvic floor weakness,

  • Bloating

  • Low back pain and/or

  • Pelvic pain

I’m pregnant, what can I do to avoid Diastasis Recti?

pregnancy core strength abdominal wall

After 16 weeks gestation the abdominal muscles (Rectus Abdominis) begin to stretch more and more in pregnancy, as the baby grows.

Pregnant women should avoid using these abdominal muscles to sit up in bed, and instead roll to their side and push up from the bed with their elbows and hands.

Other movements or exercises to avoid also include:

  • Crunches

  • Planks

  • Russian twists

  • Pull ups/chin ups

If you have previously exercised (prior to pregnancy), this does not mean that you may not use your abdominal muscles at all. You can continue using the abdominal wall in a different way, activating the Transverse Abdominis muscle. This muscle is important as it acts like a ‘corset’ to hold in all the abdominal contents and supports the spine. In fact, research shows by activating this particular muscle you can significantly reduce the risk of developing Diastasis Recti after child birth.

diastasis recti abdominal muscles

Seeing a qualified chiropractor in women’s health and getting adjusted may also help your body’s biomechanics function optimally while pregnant. As well as aligning the spine and pelvis, at The Myeline Clinic we can help you learn how to activate you Transverse Abdominis muscle and tailor exercises and movements for you so that you may continue exercising while pregnant.

"It is estimated that approximately 30-68% of women will experience Diastasis Recti after giving birth."

How do I treat it?

The abdominal muscles don’t always come back to their optimal position just because time has passed. Diastasis recti is not something that can be treated by doing sit-ups at home or just wearing a compression band 24/7. In fact, these things should be avoided until you have seen a qualified health practitioner that can assess and treat you.

The things avoided to prevent Diastasis Recti are the same things that should also be avoided when diagnosed with Diastasis Recti.

These things include:

  • Sitting straight up from a lying down position

  • Crunches

  • Planks

  • Russian twists

  • Pull ups/chin ups

Where can I get assessment and treatment?

At The Myeline Clinic, Dr. Melissa can assess and treat Diastasis Recti by aligning the spine, treating surrounding muscles and ligaments, and give you rehabilitative exercises to re-train the abdominal muscles. At your appointment the treatment will be tailored to you and your physical presentation.

To find out more information or to make an appointment you can call our clinic on 1300 038 863 or click here to make an appointment online.

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