The "D" Word
OK, so you just had a baby. Congratulations!! You go to your doctor or midwife and they tell you that you have a condition called "Diastasis Recti". Now what? Maybe you've heard this word and thought, "Oh great, I have a DISEASE and now I have to take care of my baby." Well, you're not alone. In fact, you may have been postpartum for years and have just found out that you have Diastasis.
Oh and by the way- Diastasis is NOT a disease. It's simply just a separation of the fascia (or connective tissue) between the rectus abdominus muscle- your 6 pack muscle. Guess what...you are going to be OK. This separation sometimes goes back on its own, but if your separation is two or more fingers separated, you need to do some work to help it come back together.
So many women come to me asking how they can heal their DR. I feel so passionate about helping women heal and bring their separation back together, because there is such little information from our health care professionals. They tell us we have this and then send us on our way. I know women that have had Diastasis for 20 or more years! No one ever diagnosed them and now they are in their 40's or 50's with back pain, and pelvic floor disfunction. Now we have so much information about Diastasis that every woman should know what it is and what to do about it!
The goal in healing DR is to help bring the deep abdominal muscles back to the center by strengthening them. Here are the muscles we will focus on: Deepest abdominal muscle- the Transverse Abdominis, and the Obliques.
What not to do
There are a few NO NO's when it comes to healing DR.
1.No planks- The intra abdominal pressure could push out against the connective tissue between the rectus, causing further separation. Half planks on the knees and side planks are great.
2. No extreme extension of the spine. For example, up dog in Yoga or swan in Pilates. Again, this could cause further separation of the Rectus Abdominis.
3. No forward flexion. This is a biggie! For example: Getting out of bed (Roll over to get up). No crunches or roll ups. This could also further separate the Rectus Abdominis.
What to do
Here are a few exercises that you can do at home- right on the floor with your littles. These exercises are gentle and should be done after approval from your OB or Midwife. If anything doesn't feel comfortable, don't do it- listen to your body!
Keep in mind that I am second trimester pregnant in these photos and you can definitely check for DR throughout your pregnancy.