Diastasis Recti 101
What is it?
The word diastasis means separation. The recti muscles are the outermost abdominal muscles. So, it is a separation of the outermost abdominal muscles. When the muscles separate the connective tissue (linea alba) joining these muscle stretches sideways. The job of these muscles (called rectus abdominis), is to support your back and your organs.
So why should you care if your muscles are separated? Because separated muscles are weak muscles. Separated muscles cannot do their job of supporting your back and organs. To achieve a strong core, your muscles must be close together. The sideways stretching of the connective tissue causes it to become thinner and weaker. So, what happens is this weak saran wrap-like connective tissue is NOT effectively supporting your belly button, back and organs. They are only supported when the muscles are close together.
It is common! 2 out of 3 moms have it after 2+ babies.
What causes it?
- Excessive intra abdominal pressure.
- Poor alignment. Plus the wrong exercises can make it worst.
- Pressure rocketed in pregnancy and hasn’t normalized
How do you know if you have it?
Do this test:
- Lie on your back, knees bent, feet flat.
- Place your fingers above belly button.
- Press down with fingertips.
- Lift head, neck and shoulders.
- Your muscles will close in. How many fingers with is “the gap”?
When is it a problem?
- Gap is 3 + finger wide
- Core is weak
- Mid line is soft and weak
- Other nagging symptoms
More than 50 % of women with diastasis recti have pelvic floor dysfunction. That means having at last one of the following:
- weak pelvic floor
- pelvic floor pain
- urinary incontinence
- faecal incontinence
- pelvic organ prolapse
Things you can do!
- Get aligned.
Walk, sit and stand in proper alignment to reduce intra abdominal pressure. Don’t tuck your butt under you. Avoid high heels! Wear minimal or barefoot shoes.
- Love your core!
Re- connect with your core and pelvic floor. Engage the muscles in gentle core exercises, stretches and movements. NO crunches. When you are ready workout to strengthen your entire core.
- Nourish you body!
Keep your body hydrated. Add collagen boosting foods and foods that heal and repair like Vitamin C (peppers, tomatoes, kiwi), Vitamin A (carrots sweet potatoes, kale), Zinc (Nuts , Seeds, Beans), Protein (organic meat, fish, nuts, eggs), Iron (beef, broccoli, dried apricots) and essential fatty acids.
- Breath Right!
Breath into and from your diaphragm, not your belly or shoulders. To connect and relieve pressure.
- See a Physical Therapist and Pelvic Floor specialist!