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Blog: Blog2
  • Writer's pictureGemma

Have You Heard The Words Diastasis Recti Before?

Do you know what Diastasis Recti is or have you even heard of the word? Well in this blog I will tell you all about it and if you haven't got it, then that's great maybe you can send this blog to a friend who might have it.

What is Diastasis Recti?

A human being is made up of muscles and bones which all connect to form you. Obviously, you know this from biology class at school. We will now be talking about the ‘abs or core’ area of the body as this is where you can potentially find Diastasis Recti. The abdomen is formed of a band of muscles called Rectus abdominis or abs or core, whichever you would prefer to call it. This band of muscles usually have six combined muscles all connected side by side in three pairs. These are the muscles which we talk about when referring to the abs or core or even a ‘six pack’. These muscles have an area down the middle called a Linea Alba or connective tissue. This area has little blood supply to it. This is what knits the muscles together. When a lady becomes pregnant the Linea Alba stays the same for an amount of time, but in the later stages of pregnancy this line then splits in two to give more room to the baby on its expansion. The pregnancy hormone Relaxin also helps with this process. As the name suggests this hormone starts to relax the body getting ready for the birth process. Relaxin stays in the body for around six to eight weeks post-partum.

How can I tell if I have Diastasis Recti?

The more severe your split, the more finger widths you will be able to fit through the gap. Come to a lying down position with your feet flat on the floor and knees bent. Bring one hand up to the area where your navel is. Lift your head off the floor slightly and bring the chin towards your chest so your core is engaged. Press down with your index and middle fingers with your thumb facing towards your chest and the little finger down towards your pelvis. Have your fingers placed just above and in line with your navel. You should be able to feel muscle here. If your fingers feel like they are caving in or the inside of your body, then this is called a diastasis. The severity of this can range from one finger width to four or five finger width. The latter being classed as severe. Move the fingers down below the navel and check here repeating the same procedure. The abdominal muscles may be split in different areas. Another way of telling if you have a Diastasis is if your tummy is protruding above your navel. This looks like a bulge or a ‘pregnancy tummy’ even though you are not. Some people may think you are around six months pregnant and this can lead to an embarrassing conversation for everyone involved. If you have gone back to your pre-pregnancy weight but still have a ‘tummy’ this may be due to a Diastasis which has not knitted back together by itself.

Correct Diastasis Recti Not Correct Diastasis Recti

How can I rectify Diastasis Recti?

You can get back to your pre-pregnancy body if you have Diastasis Recti with more severe gaps needing more work on your core or abs. This will take time so be patient. When you have given birth, it takes your internal body one whole year to get back to normal. So, keeping this in mind, aim for a year to get your core stronger. There are roughly four areas we need to cover here to help you with this. They are: core work, posture, eating right and breathing correctly.

Core work – Find your core and pelvic floor muscles (see ‘What is diastasis recti?’). Start to slowly engage your core and pull up the pelvic floor area. See below for more information on some safe exercises. DO NOT do any crunches as these increase the pressure around the muscles and connective tissue and will do more harm than good. The more the connective tissue is stretched, the more it will lose strength and get thinner. This will then make it a lot harder to start again. Going slow will help you to build up the strength around the areas which need attention. There is also a cosmetic surgery option to repair the connective tissue but please try to repair them yourselves. I believe in you! You can do this! Posture – Make sure you have the correct posture. The correct posture will make sure you have less abdominal pressure. Try not to wear high heels as this really puts your whole body out of alignment. Try to wear flat shoes. Eating right – To help repair the split muscles you need to eat the right foods. You will need collagen boosting foods, for example Vitamin A and Vitamin C, Zinc, Proteins, Iron, Essential fatty acids, and a lot of water. Go to the nutrition section for more information. Breathe correctly – Make sure you are breathing using your diaphragm and not just the upper part of your lungs. You will need to use the full capacity of the lungs as this will help relieve the pressure. Try to keep your shoulders down and relax. Is it Too Late to Correct a Diastasis Recti?

Sometimes the Linea Alba will automatically knit back together after birth once the pregnancy hormones have gone. This can be between three to six months post-partum. Sometimes it can take years, so just be patient and work on it. It will only get better with a little help from you. There are a few exercises or yoga poses you can do to help strengthen this area. They are: Bridge pose Cat/Cow Pose Wall Sit Standing Side Bends

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Have a great day. Lots of love xxx

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