25 Apr Do you Suffer from Abdominal Separation?
What are separated abdominal muscles?
During pregnancy, many women experience a separation of their stomach muscles (the rectus abdominis). This condition is known as Diastasis Recti.
Separated muscles do not tear or rupture, instead they thin out, creating a space in the abdomen. Little pain is involved, at least initially.
How common is abdominal separation?
The condition is fairly common during pregnancy. About one third of all pregnant women experience muscle separation at some point of their pregnancy, usually in the second to third trimester, due to rapid growth of the baby and the uterus, but it can also occur during labor and delivery.
Who is at risk?
Every pregnant woman is at risk of developing Diastasis Recti, however some women are more at risk than others. Risk factors include:
– Genetic links
– Previous pregnancy causing abdominal muscles to separate
– Multiple pregnancy
– Being overweight or obese
– Weak abdominal muscles before and during pregnancy
What are the symptoms of Diastasis Recti?
The separation itself is usually painless, however there are a few symptoms that will help identify the condition:
– a gap or space just below your navel
– a bump or ridge running from your breastbone down to your navel
What are the complications associated with Diastasis Recti?
If you are suffering from abdominal separation, it is important to take steps to encourage your muscles to reattach. This is best done through core strengthening exercises specifically designed for new mums. Please note that it is not recommended for new mums to do sit ups or crunches as they can cause more damage.
It is unlikely that the muscles will reattach on their own and they may actually continue to separate after you have given birth. If left untreated, abdominal separation can cause the following complications:
– Chronic lower back pain (due to weak/non functioning core muscles)
– Altered posture due to weak abdominal muscles which in turn leads to back pain
Is there something I can do to avoid my abdominal muscles to separate?
Yes, pregnancy specific core strengthening exercises can help keep your muscles strong and avoid muscle separation. It is recommended to do these under supervision or with a provider of pregnancy specific exercise classes to avoid injury.
Watch this video on how to self check your abdominal separation
If you have concerns about your abdominal muscles, please feel free to contact us at any time.