DIASTASIS RECTI / ABDOMINAL SEPARATION
Diastasis of the Rectus Abdominis Muscle (DRAM) or Diastasis Recti is more commonly referred to as Abdominal Separation and effects the rectus abdominis muscle - which is the muscle at the front of the abdomen, which runs from the ribcage to the pubic bone. In well trained people, it is the ‘6-pack’ muscle. The join in the middle of the rectus abdominis muscle is called the linea alba.
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Abdominal separation occurs during and after pregnancy and is the stretching and separation of the linea alba above and / or below the navel. It may be small in both width and length (hardly noticeable) to large (over 12 centimetres wide and extend along the whole linea alba). In larger separations, part of the abdomen can protrude, creating a bulge at the separation.
Abdominal separation more than 2.5 centimetres can be a problem as it can contribute to low back and pelvic pain when new Mums are busy caring for their babies and other children.
The more children a woman has, the greater the potential of developing abdominal separation due to stretching and separation of the linea alba with previous pregnancies and caring for older children. For example, lifting toddlers can put extra stain on the abdominal muscles and prevent the abdominal separation from improving.
HOW TO MANAGE ABDOMINAL SEPARATION AFTER PREGNANCY
- Abdominal separation often resolves naturally in the first 8 weeks after pregnancy; however, if you continue to have a separation more than 8 weeks after giving birth, consult a Women’s Health Physiotherapist.
- Do exercises pelvic floor muscles and transversus abdominis muscles exercises.
- Avoid sit ups – these put more strain on the rectus abdominis and the separation.
- Find a knowledgeable Pilates instructor and do Pilates. This could be studio sessions or mat work classes designed for new Mums.
- Avoid lifting heavy things over about 5-10kg. This includes small children – encourage them to climb and help you, rather than simply lift them (this can be difficult – we know!).
- Wear Supacore Women’s CORETECH™ compression shorts and leggings to support and protect your pelvis and lower back