How many of us mamas wish we could just snap back almost immediately after we give birth? However, it is important to note that one of the reasons why women don’t easily snap back is because of diastasis recti. The term “Diastasis” means separation. “Recti” refers to your ab muscles called the "rectus abdominis."
During pregnancy, the growing uterus stretches the muscles in the abdomen. This can cause the two large parallel bands of muscles that meet in the middle of the abdomen to separate, a condition called diastasis recti or diastasis recti abdominis. Diastasis recti might cause a bulge in the middle of the abdomen where the two muscles separate.
Diastasis Recti means your belly sticks out because the space between your left and right belly muscles has widened. You might call it a “mum pouch.” We have heard most women talk about stomach pouch in the abdomen area but Diastasis Recti is not caused by excess food rather it occurs in pregnant women after childbirth.
During pregnancy, your stomach wall stretches to accommodate the new life growing inside your belly and as a result, causes a bulge in the middle of the abdomen where the two muscles separate. The muscle opening often shrinks after giving birth, but in some cases the muscle return to normal, even after a year.
Diastasis Recti is not limited to pregnancy, though it can affect anyone, including new born babies and men. In some cases, it can result from lifting heavy weights incorrectly or performing excessive or unsafe abdominal exercises.
The most common symptom of diastasis recti is a pouch or bulge in your stomach, especially when you strain or contract your abdominal muscles. Additional symptoms include:
- lower back pain
- poor posture
How can it be treated?
- Avoid any heavy lifting or further straining of your abdominal muscles until after you deliver.
- Practice good posture.
- Support your lower back when sitting with a towel or pillow placed behind you.
- Bend your knees, roll, and support yourself with your arm when getting in or out of bed, or standing up off the floor.
Preventing diastasis recti
Before pregnancy, practice strengthening your core, this should include your pelvic floor and oblique muscles. Avoid any exercise where your tummy bulges out or that causes your back to strain.