Some Of Your Abdominal Separation Questions Answered.
Continuing with our focus on abdominal separation or diastasis recti as it is formally, or medically referred to.
WHAT’S CONSIDERED A DIASTASIS?
When you, your GP or myself who is Ante/Postnatal trained, checks your abdominals for any separation, we’re looking for a gap of less than 2 fingers in between the six-pack muscles, above and/or below the belly button. If the gap is wider than 2 fingers, then it’s considered a diastasis, or abdominal separation.
DOES EVERY PREGNANT WOMAN SUFFER WITH DIASTASIS?
No, abdominal separation doesn’t occur in all pregnancies. There are a number of reasons why the abdominals do and don’t separate, with alignment playing a large role in this equation.
WHAT SHOULD I DO IF I THINK I HAVE AN ABDOMINAL SEPARATION?
If you’re concerned about the separation in your abdominals, I’d suggest you ask someone like me who is ante/postnatal trained to firstly test things for you. Or you could make an appointment with your GP who will perform the “Rec-Check” test. If the separation in your abdominals is considered severe, or if you’re suffering with abdominal, pelvic and/or back pain as a result, then your medical practitioner may refer you on to a Physiotherapist for a more intensive rehabilitation program, or you could come and see me, and I’ll advise on the best steps forward.
IS IT IMPORTANT TO FIX DIASTASIS?
If your abdominals don’t completely re-align again after birth, apart from the diastasis itself and the slight bulge that comes with it not looking particularly flattering, it’s important to touch on the role that your abdominal muscles play in the stability of your pelvis and your spine. You may be more prone to back problems if your diastisis remains quite large, so it’s best to get it properly assessed and treated. In some severe cases, you may even get a herniation and/or develop pelvic floor dysfunction which aren’t easy conditions to repair or manage.
WHAT EXERCISE SHOULD/SHOULDN’T I DO?
A Postnatal-specific Pilates-based exercise program is the best form of exercise for you to perform to help fix an abdominal separation. I’d suggest seeking the guidance from a trained postnatal Pilates Teacher like myself, or a Women’s Health Physiotherapist, as these individuals are educated in what to do and what to avoid when it comes to fixing diastasis recti. Sit ups most definitely should be avoided.
And, there you have it – my top 5 FAQs on abdominal separation.