If you’re a new mom, you may have heard of diastasis recti – a condition that causes a separation of the abdominal muscles. It’s a common issue that can occur during pregnancy, but it can also happen to men and women who aren’t pregnant. If you’re wondering how to get rid of diastasis recti, there are some things you can do to help.
First, it’s important to know that diastasis recti isn’t necessarily a problem that needs to be fixed. In fact, many people live with it without any issues. However, if you’re experiencing back pain, poor posture, or other discomforts, there are exercises you can do to help strengthen your core and reduce the separation of your abdominal muscles. It’s also important to avoid certain exercises that can make the condition worse.
If you’re looking to get rid of your diastasis recti, there are several exercises you can do to help. These exercises focus on strengthening your core and pelvic floor muscles, which can help reduce the separation of your abdominal muscles. However, it’s important to work with a professional who can guide you through the process and ensure you’re doing the exercises correctly. With time and effort, you can strengthen your core and reduce the symptoms of diastasis recti.
Understanding Diastasis Recti
If you’re experiencing a bulge in your abdomen that doesn’t seem to go away even after pregnancy or weight loss, you may have diastasis recti. Diastasis recti is a common condition where the abdominal muscles separate along the midline of the body, leaving a gap between the two sides of the rectus abdominis muscle. This gap is caused by the stretching of the connective tissue that runs down the center of the abdomen, called the linea alba.
Diastasis recti is most commonly seen in pregnant women, but it can also affect men and women who have experienced rapid weight loss or have done excessive abdominal exercises. The condition can cause a variety of symptoms, including a protruding belly, lower back pain, poor posture, and weakened abdominal muscles.
To understand diastasis recti, it’s important to know about the abdominal muscles. The rectus abdominis muscle is the pair of muscles that run vertically down the center of the abdomen. These muscles are responsible for flexing the trunk and are commonly referred to as the “six-pack” muscles. The rectus abdominis muscles are held together by the linea alba, a band of connective tissue that runs down the center of the abdomen.
When the muscles are weakened or stretched, as in pregnancy or rapid weight loss, the linea alba can also stretch, causing a separation of the rectus abdominis muscles. This separation can cause the bulge in the abdomen and other symptoms associated with diastasis recti.
While diastasis recti can be concerning, there are ways to manage and treat the condition. Strengthening the abdominal muscles through exercises that target the transverse abdominis and pelvic floor muscles can help to reduce the separation of the rectus abdominis muscles. In some cases, surgery may also be an option to repair the separation.
If you suspect you have diastasis recti, it’s important to consult with a healthcare professional to determine the best course of treatment for your specific situation.
Diastasis Recti in Pregnancy and Postpartum
Diastasis recti is a common condition that occurs during pregnancy and postpartum. It is characterized by a separation of the abdominal muscles, which can cause a bulge in the midsection. Diastasis recti is caused by the stretching of the abdominal muscles during pregnancy to accommodate the growing uterus.
During the third trimester of pregnancy, the uterus expands rapidly, putting pressure on the abdominal muscles. This can cause the muscles to separate, resulting in diastasis recti. Pregnant women who are over 35 years old or who are carrying multiple pregnancies are at a higher risk of developing diastasis recti.
Vaginal delivery can also contribute to the development of diastasis recti. The pelvic floor muscles, which support the uterus and the bladder, can become weakened during delivery, leading to a separation of the abdominal muscles.
Fortunately, diastasis recti can be treated with proper exercise and physical therapy. Postpartum women should avoid exercises that put excessive strain on the abdominal muscles, such as crunches and sit-ups. Instead, they should focus on gentle exercises that strengthen the core muscles, such as pelvic tilts and Kegels.
It is important to note that not all cases of diastasis recti require medical intervention. Mild cases may resolve on their own with proper exercise and physical therapy. However, severe cases may require surgical intervention to repair the abdominal muscles. If you are concerned about your diastasis recti, it is important to consult with a healthcare professional.
Identifying Diastasis Recti
If you have recently given birth, you may be wondering why you still have a “belly pooch” that won’t go away. One possible explanation is diastasis recti, a condition where the abdominal muscles separate during pregnancy and do not fully come back together.
Diastasis recti can cause a visible bulge in the midsection, lower back pain, and even pelvic floor dysfunction. If you suspect you may have diastasis recti, it is important to see a healthcare provider for an accurate diagnosis.
During a physical exam, your healthcare provider may use their fingers to measure the distance between the two sides of your rectus abdominis muscles. A gap of more than two finger widths may indicate diastasis recti. However, this method is not always accurate and may not be able to detect smaller separations.
In some cases, an ultrasound or caliper measurement may be necessary to get a more accurate diagnosis. Your healthcare provider may also check for signs of a hernia, which can sometimes occur alongside diastasis recti.
If you suspect you may have diastasis recti, it is important to avoid activities that can worsen the condition, such as heavy lifting or poor posture. Physical therapy may be recommended to strengthen the abdominal muscles and pelvic floor, and improve posture. In severe cases, surgery may be necessary to repair the separation.
It is also important to note that diastasis recti can sometimes be accompanied by constipation, so it is important to maintain a healthy diet and stay hydrated to avoid exacerbating symptoms.
Exercises for Diastasis Recti
If you have diastasis recti, doing exercises to strengthen your core muscles can help. However, it’s important to choose the right exercises and perform them correctly to avoid worsening the condition. Here are some exercises that may help:
Pelvic tilts are a gentle exercise that can help strengthen the abdominal muscles without putting too much pressure on the rectus abdominis. To do pelvic tilts, lie on your back with your knees bent and feet flat on the floor. Tighten your abdominal muscles and tilt your pelvis upward, flattening your lower back against the floor. Hold for a few seconds, then release.
Heel slides are another exercise that can help strengthen the core without putting too much pressure on the rectus abdominis. To do heel slides, lie on your back with your knees bent and feet flat on the floor. Slowly slide one heel away from your body, straightening your leg, then slide it back in. Repeat with the other leg.
Side planks are a great exercise for strengthening the obliques and transverse abdominis muscles, which can help support the rectus abdominis. To do a side plank, start in a plank position with your forearms on the ground. Shift your weight onto one forearm and turn your body to the side, stacking your feet on top of each other. Hold for a few seconds, then switch sides.
Hands and Knees
Hands and knees exercises can help strengthen the core muscles without putting too much pressure on the rectus abdominis. To do hands and knees exercises, get on your hands and knees with your wrists directly under your shoulders and your knees directly under your hips. Tighten your abdominal muscles and lift one arm and the opposite leg off the ground, holding for a few seconds before lowering and repeating with the other arm and leg.
Modified pushups can help strengthen the core muscles without putting too much pressure on the rectus abdominis. To do modified pushups, start in a plank position with your hands on the ground. Lower your body toward the ground, keeping your elbows close to your body, then push back up.
Certain yoga poses can help strengthen the core muscles and improve posture, which can help relieve symptoms of diastasis recti. Some yoga poses that may be helpful include downward-facing dog, plank pose, and boat pose.
Pilates is a form of exercise that focuses on core strengthening and can be helpful for people with diastasis recti. Pilates exercises that may be helpful include the hundred, the roll-up, and the single-leg stretch.
Remember to always consult with your healthcare provider before starting any exercise program, especially if you have diastasis recti. They can help you determine which exercises are safe and effective for you.
Preventing and Treating Diastasis Recti
Diastasis recti is a common condition that affects many women after childbirth. However, there are ways to prevent and treat it. Here are some tips to help you prevent and treat diastasis recti:
Preventing Diastasis Recti
- Gentle movements: Avoid heavy lifting and sit-ups during pregnancy and after childbirth. Instead, focus on gentle movements that strengthen your core muscles without putting too much pressure on your abdominal muscles.
- Weight gain: Try to maintain a healthy weight during pregnancy. Excessive weight gain can put extra pressure on your abdominal muscles and increase your risk of developing diastasis recti.
- Twins and triplets: If you are carrying twins or triplets, you may be more likely to develop diastasis recti. Talk to your doctor about exercises and precautions you can take to prevent it.
- Newborn babies: Be careful when lifting and carrying your newborn baby. Use proper lifting techniques and avoid twisting your body.
- Feet flat: When you are lying down, keep your feet flat on the ground. This helps to engage your core muscles and prevent diastasis recti.
- Pelvic floor specialist: Consult with a pelvic floor specialist who can help you identify your risk factors and develop a personalized plan to prevent diastasis recti.
Treating Diastasis Recti
- TVA exercises: Strengthen your transverse abdominis (TVA) muscles with exercises like pelvic tilts and TVA contractions. These exercises can help to close the gap between your abdominal muscles.
- Two-finger widths: Check the width of your diastasis recti gap by lying on your back and placing two fingers above your belly button. If the gap is wider than two finger widths, talk to your doctor about treatment options.
- Surgery: In severe cases, surgery may be necessary to repair the separation of your abdominal muscles.
- Weight loss: Losing weight can help to reduce the pressure on your abdominal muscles and improve the appearance of diastasis recti.
- Pelvic floor exercises: Strengthening your pelvic floor muscles can help to improve your posture and reduce your risk of developing low back pain and urine leaking.
- Diet: Eat a healthy diet that is rich in fiber to reduce bloating and improve digestion.
- Avoid sit-ups: Avoid sit-ups and other exercises that put too much pressure on your abdominal muscles. Instead, focus on gentle exercises that strengthen your core muscles without causing further damage.
- Obesity: If you are obese, losing weight can help to reduce your risk of developing diastasis recti.
Remember, it is important to talk to your doctor before starting any new exercise program or treatment plan. With the right precautions and gentle movements, you can prevent and treat diastasis recti.
Medical Interventions for Diastasis Recti
If you have tried exercises and lifestyle changes, but your diastasis recti persists, you may need medical intervention. Here are some medical interventions that you can consider:
Physical therapy is often the first line of treatment for diastasis recti. A physical therapist can help you strengthen your core muscles and improve your posture. They may also recommend exercises that target the transverse abdominis muscle, which is the deepest layer of your abdominal muscles.
If you have a severe diastasis recti and excess skin, a tummy tuck or abdominoplasty may be an option. During the procedure, the surgeon will remove the excess skin and tighten the abdominal muscles. This surgery is invasive and has a longer recovery time than other options.
Laparoscopy is a minimally invasive surgery that can be used to repair diastasis recti. During the procedure, the surgeon will make small incisions in your abdomen and insert a laparoscope (a thin tube with a camera) to repair the separated muscles.
It is important to talk to your doctor about the risks and benefits of each treatment option. They can help you decide which treatment is best for you based on your medical history, symptoms, and lifestyle. A physical therapist can also work with you to develop a personalized treatment plan that meets your needs.