Do you have Diastasis? March 14 2013, 0 Comments

Diastasis recti is separation of the rectus abdominus (your “six pack!”). This happens at the linea alba (which is a fibrous band of connective tissue down middle of abdomen between the muscles) and can affect 2/3 of postpartum women.

You may been experiencing this and not even know it!

WHAT IT IS

Diastasis is when the linea alba that runs vertical from your zyphoid process to your pubic bone splits. It can split the entire length or just an inch or 2. The separation is most comonly found around the belly button.

HOW IT HAPPENS

It can happen to anyone but most usually is caused by a big growth spurt during pregnancy. It is more commonly found in small frame women (no room for the baby to go except OUT front) and women who are extremely tight or fit around the core and then become pregnant. It may also be found in women who have undergone a cesarean.

Diastasis is also found in "gym rats" (men and women) who perform hundreds of abdominal crunches improperly.

WHY IT MATTERS

Your rectus abdominus is a crucial part of your "inner corset." It helps protect your back, plays a big role in posture and alingment and contains your inner organs. If it is compromised, your body starts to overcompensate. Your back does the work your core should be doing. Your shoulders start engaging overtime as well and you can end up with neck discomfort. Having abdominal separation can actaully make you appear to be bloated or 5 lbs heavier than you are. Your abdominals become hard to "reel in" and separation can actally become worse. Problems may not manifest until 2-3 or 10 years down the road, but get a handle on it now.

HOW TO CHECK YOURSELF

Ask your doctor or midwife to check you immeditely after baby is born.

  1. Lay on your back with knees bent. One hand behind head, one hand on your xyphoid proccess with fingers going perpendicular to zyphoid (across).
  2. Roll up with your head + shoulders and look down at your feet. Do not engage abdominals.
  3. Slowly, starty to walk your fingers down. Walk them all the way down to your pubic bone. If you feel a divit or a groove where your fingers sink in a bit, then you have diastasis.
  4. It may be wider in some spots and narrower in others.
  5. One to 2 finger width separation is normal immediately postpartum and, can repair on its own .Greater than that, you need extra help

HOW TO SAVE YOURSELF AND REPAIR

Binding! Splint yourself immediately postpartum. Use a scarf or store bought girdle (like spanks) or purchase a splint. Wrap from your hips up to the top of your ribcage. If your separation is greater than a 2 finger tip width, you need manual support to bring everything back.

  1. Move mindfully. Keep a neutral pelvis and spine while holding and lifting. This includes baby, car seat, emptying dishwasher... DO NOT ALLOW YOUR ABS TO POOCH OUT! Exhale, and draw your belly button towards your spine as you exert yourself.
  2. Log roll out of bed and/or down to the floor to play with baby and children. Use your hand to prevent your abs from bulging by placing it on your belly
  3. Perform specific diastasis recovery exercises and incorporate your pelvic floor as you do so.
  4. NO CRUNCHES or CURLS. Do not do any exercise where you lift your head off the floor or have your knees up att table top. (This can worsen the diastasis.)
  5. Get a prescription for physical therapy if your diastasis recti is 2 1/2 finger width or greater. Demand it from your doctor.
  6. Please check Mamalates for diastasis repair workshop, and our mom+babe workout DVD for a safe workout if you have diastasis

Other resources for diastasis

Local doctors and pyhsical therapists:

Dr. Lara Williams- Every Woman's Health- www.everywomanshealth.org

Lisa Friedman -Moxie body PT-(503) 239-6199

Splinting/binding:

www.spabebe.com

http://www.bellybandit.com/