Do you have an ab separation / diastasis recti?
I found out I had an ab separation (aka diastasis recti) when I was in a Pilates class and the teacher went around to check us all out. We were all new moms, and four out of five of us had an ab separation and we didn’t know it! How come no one told me? Why are caregivers not checking to see if new moms have diastasis recti so they can treat it before it causes more issues?
What is an ab separation or diastasis recti?
This is when your left and right abdominal muscles separate creating a space larger than two fingers widths between your “6-pack” muscles.
What you need to know about diastasis recti
Here are a few things I’ve learned in my time as a Yoga Therapist helping new moms to heal this area.
1) Diastasis is especially common for women who have been pregnant more than once.
It is, however, possible to end up with a separation during or after a first pregnancy. Sometimes men and newborns even have a diastasis. Reasons that may increase your chances of diastasis include having twins or a very large baby, or doing too many exercises on hands and knees with a heavy belly!
2) Diastasis is one reason many moms feel like they can’t lose their tummy.
I’m not talking about three weeks postpartum, but you do eventually need to start to find strength in your core to properly support your entire body. Your lower back and abs are directly related and many moms have back pain or even an umbilical hernia. So when you have an ab separation, don’t avoid exercising! You can have a functioning core even if a small gap remains between the abs, so it’s important to treat the issue early on with proper care.
3) Diastasis is fixable without a tummy tuck!
Some women are told they’ll need surgery when they have an ab separation. While it’s very important to help heal the area and avoid worsening the separation, most of the time, surgery shouldn’t be the first step. There are many exercises you can do to help regain core strength and stability. Many new moms, however, are not aware of what exercises to do and which ones they should stay away from. Did you know you should avoid sit-ups as they increase the separation?
If you have an ab separation or pelvic floor issue, don’t wait to get help. You can see a pelvic floor physiotherapist or call me for more information to see how yoga therapy can help.
I look forward to seeing you!
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