Diastasis Recti basically means a separation of the Rectus Abdominis muscles on the front wall of your abdomen. The two rectus muscles (or 6 pack muscles) run from the pubic bone right up the front of the abdomen to the xiphoid process. They are connected in the middle by a sheath of connective tissue called the linea alba. The main function of these muscles is forward flexion of the trunk. (ie. bringing sternum to pubic bone). These muscles usually lay very close to each other however during #pregnancy all women will experience a degree of separation (stretching) of this linea alba, although some greater than others. This degree of separation and healing from this separation depends greatly on several factors (posture, pressures, exercise, genetics). There are many facts about #DiastasisRecti on the internet these days. It seems like everyone has a workout, a treatment plan, or an opinion on the matter. So, what better time than now to chime in with my 3 cents.
Truth #1 – Do not fear exercise!
Yes, Abdominal crunches, curl-ups, sit-ups, prone leg raises, leg lifts, bicycle crunches and planks can all cause extra strain on the stretched connective tissue at the front of your abdomen. Yes, this can prevent your connective tissues from strengthening causing the saggy pouchy appearance we all recognize as “mummy tummy”. BUT, there are many ways you can continue to work your core and reduce the stress on your separation. With some re-training of the core system, a little education around breathing, some releases, posture fixes and strengthening, you’ll be back in business baby! And no, I won’t go into all the deets in this post, that’s for another day.
Truth #2 – Posture is a main contributor to Diastasis Recti
Yes, the way you carry your body will have a lot to do with how fast you heal and regain #tensegrity in your core after baby. There are many ways in which posture and alignment can affect diastasis recti, but essentially what it is, is a misalignment between ribs, head and pelvis. Whether you thrust your ribs forward and tuck your bum under, or sway your ribs back and shift your pelvis forward, this unbalanced abdominal posture can put a lot of pressure on the front of your abdomen causing the connective tissue to perpetually live in a stretched out state. It’s hard to be strong when you are stretched real thin…#momlife.
Truth #3 – Intra-Abdominal Pressure is your frenemy
We all have pressure inside our core. It is a main stabilizer of our core structure and a protector of our spine. It acts like an airbag to protect our bones and organs from trauma. We need pressure and love it, but too much pressure or misguided pressure can cause leaks in the system. When we already have a compromise in the integrity of tissues (ie. Diastasis Recti) and pressure is being bottled up and overused for stability, the pressure can and will leak through the most vulnerable crack. For example, if I shook a pop bottle and make a small incision along the front of the bottle, the pop will blow through. This is a lot like how your body would react. But instead of pop, it would be the contents of your abdomen hanging forward. NOTE: Diastasis Recti, isn’t a rip, or a tear in your abdomen, its a stretching of connective tissue. It’s not to be confused with a #hernia.
As always you should be seeing your health care provider to confirm that what you are experiencing is, in fact, Diastasis Recti. It’s not life-threatening, but can be life altering, because having a diastasis that is left untreated can lead to more core dysfunction down the road, such as prolapse, incontinence, low back pain and more.