Pregnancy puts the body through a lot of change. One of those changes that some women experience is diastasis recti.
Diastasis recti is a common condition in pregnancy and the postpartum period in which the abdomen sticks out of the left and right belly muscle (also known as rectus abdominis or the 6-pack muscle) due to increased pressure and the separation of the muscles.
There are ways to prevent Diastasis recti by strengthening your core muscles before pregnancy and by avoiding acts that put excessive strain on the abdomen like constipation and intense pushing.
What are common risks for Diastasis Recti?
This is a fairly common condition. Some of the risk factors that put you at risk for this condition are
- Getting pregnant over the age of 35
- Having multiple births
- Having multiple births with children that are closer in age
- Having a large or heavy baby
- Having twins or triplets
- Small statured female
- Poor muscle tone
How do I know if I have diastasis recti?
Diastasis recti usually occurs in the second half of pregnancy or after having your baby in the postpartum period. If you notice a gap between your abdominal muscles, in the middle of your stomach, or your belly protruding out of it, that is a sign to get it checked.
You should be able to see this bulge more clearly when you’re lying flat on your back and lift your head as this protrusion becomes more pronounced. You can also experience other symptoms like lower back pain, abdominal pain, constipation, and urinary incontinence.
Does diastasis recti go away?
Diastasis recti usually goes away on its own after the birth of your baby or within 8 weeks of delivery.
In some severe cases, it does not, so it is important to take certain measures that can stop the separation from becoming worse.
How do you fix it?
It is important to start prepping during pregnancy. We recommend seeing a physical therapist to start working on building and maintaining those core muscles.
Typical ways to help include avoiding over-straining your muscles, exercising and strengthening core muscles, drinking lots of fluids, and eating plenty of fiber to prevent constipation.
Check out Pelvic Floor Physical Therapy by Rome Physical Therapy to navigate through the pre and postnatal symptoms. Dr. Megan Rome and Dr. Allison Parker use a whole-body treatment approach with emphasis on function to help patients achieve their goals and restore their independence.