Diastasis Recti: In the process of motherhood, pregnancy, giving birth, and raising children, we learn many new concepts that we could not define before. Vaginal tearing, sitz bath, and unfortunately for many of us diastasis recti or DRA.
What is Diastasis Recti?
According to the Mayo Clinic, it is defined as follows from a medical perspective:
“The uterus that grows during pregnancy stretches the abdominal muscles. This causes the separation of two large parallel muscle fibers that come together in the middle of the abdomen, and this is called diastasis recti. Diastasis recti can cause abdominal swelling at the point where the two muscles separate.
To put it in the mother’s mouth, this discomfort causes the belly that does not disappear after the birth even though the weight of the baby is gone, and the question of when you will give birth even though you have a two-year-old child.
Although you have the same height and weight as before pregnancy, it is what causes jeans not to fit, and in extreme cases, diastasis can also cause abdominal pain and pelvic problems.
Belly and sneezing after baby voiding syndromes can also accompany this ailment and are generally not talked about by mothers. We share advice on toilet training for the child but are somewhat hesitant to open postpartum issues regarding abdominal, urinary tract, and pelvic problems.
Most of us are likely to encounter this ailment in some way because statistically, 98% of women have diastasis after childbirth. Diastasis may have a higher risk in women compared to the number of pregnancies, multiple births, and current abdominal problems.
It should also be noted that although diastasis recti are more common in pregnant women, it is mainly related to internal abdominal pressure and although it increases during pregnancy, it is not directly caused by pregnancy. Therefore, men and children can also experience this ailment, especially after surgery and injuries.
Fortunately, this ailment has become known recently, and there are many resources that can be a solution for mild cases.
How Did I Discover My Diastasis?
When I got pregnant with my first child, I continued to do special abdominal exercises such as squatting because I thought this could help my body recover and stay fit after birth.
However, the opposite happened, and after pregnancy, I found that my belly never regained that old flatness. I learned from my personal trainer that exercises such as squatting have no effect on increasing inner strength. They recommend pull-ups, kettlebells, and bodyweight exercises, and their six-packs show their effectiveness, but these exercises can do more harm than good in a well-progressed pregnancy.
After finding out what diastasis was, I did a self-test to find out if I had it. Its definition according to Fit2b is as follows:
“Diastasis is when there are more than 2.7 centimeters of space between the abdominal muscles.”
In-home controls, it is generally defined as a gap of 2-3 bars. When centimeter measurements are made with a finger, of course, they can vary according to the size of a person’s finger, but we’re not doing science here, we’re just trying to identify a potential problem ourselves.
Emily from Holistic Squid breaks down diastasis control into steps as follows:
- Lie on the ground with your knees bent and feet on the ground
- Put your fingers on your belly button with your palm facing you
- Press your fingers by lifting your neck and head a little off the ground. If there is a gap, this is diastasis
- Repeat the same test above and below the belly button (gap can be measured differently at these points)
What to do?
Unfortunately, dealing with diastasis recti is not as simple and easy as many natural remedies.
According to the programs I have read and used, small breaks can be corrected at home with special exercises, but in severe cases, physical therapy and even surgery may be required.
The exercise was enough for me in my past pregnancies and I relied on YouTube videos and exercises shared by my friends. Special programs are now being created by DRA experts and I will use them at my next birth.
- Fit2b: There are special videos for diastasis in this family-friendly fitness membership. I am thinking of using this after birth. There are also good resources for children’s sports and family.
- MuTu: This 12-week program focuses on Diastasis and other pelvic health problems.
The Tummy Team: A very good resource for abdominal opening and designed to help me even with serious diastasis problems.
There are also many good YouTube videos for repairing the Diastasis recti.
Diastasis: What to Avoid?
Many sources agree that the exercises targeted to increase core strength are exercises that should be avoided in abdominal splitting. Squatting, sit up, and planks can make things worse:
“They are generally not recommended for women who have given birth to standard squats and sit-and-stand movements, especially if they have diastasis recti. Because squatting usually increases the internal abdominal pressure, pushing the organs towards the opening and towards the pelvic floor. These are not positions where you would want to deliberately push your organs. “
Even if diastasis recti is not available, it is stated that isolation exercises such as sit-up and squatting put a lot of strain on the waist and are not effective.
Diastasis Recti and Pregnancy
Most women get DRA after childbirth, and since straining with pregnancy can make this problem worse, is it possible to prevent or avoid the problem during pregnancy before it begins?
I was not aware of this until this pregnancy, but it is actually possible to detect and work on separation during pregnancy. It is even easier to detect this time.
Basically, pregnancy isn’t the reason for this breakup. The cause of abdominal pressure but pregnancy contributes to this pressure.
There are a few cases where women can reverse separation during pregnancy, and here are some steps that can help with pregnancy:
• Avoid squatting and sit-down heart movements that isolate the abdominal muscles
• Avoid pushing the ribs forward in order to stand upright
• Maintain correct posture while lying and rising to prevent distortions in the middle part
• Focusing on comprehensive movements such as squatting can strengthen the body correctly
When to Seek Professional Help?
I have friends who benefit from physical therapy for a short time for diastasis recti problems. I personally did not do this, but I would if there was a very serious break-up.