Many women are concerned about ab separation (diastasis recti) so I decided to share a little something with you. I have diastasis recti and you probably do to. But it's not be that big of a deal.
According to a small study, 100% of women will have some degree of diastase recti by the 35th week of pregnancy. (Mota et al 2014)
After 2 pregnancies and a laparoscopic surgery, my abs have separated. But this is what I need you to know. I didn't know that my abs could separate until literally the day before I found out I was pregnant with my second baby.
So, Here Are Some Facts About Diastasis Recti
How Diastasis Recti Effects Pelvic Floor Function
There is a connection to how your pelvic floor functions and the degree of your abdominal separation. If fact In fact 52% of women with pelvic floor dysfunction have diastasis recti. Because of the abdominal attachment points on the pelvis, a gap in between them and weakness in the connective tissue, directly affects the pelvis and pelvic floor.
If diastasis recti is left untreated, it can contribute to constipation and low back pain as well as leaking, pelvic organ prolapse, and sexual dysfunction.
Doming is the term to describe the bulging up of the abdominal muscles as with a diastasis recti. If you notice doming at any time, this typically means that you're not managing intra-bdominal within your core.
Your deep core is made up of the diaphragm, pelvic floor, transverse Abdominis (TvA), and the multifidus. Typically, when your core system is functioning well, your intra-abdominal pressure becomes managed with your breathing, however, if your breathing is out of alignment and you have a separation, the pressure is forced up to the diaphragm, down to the pelvic floor and up into the separation. This is what creates the doming.
Here is a great explanation by Julie Weibe, PT, a Sports Medical Physical Therapist based in California.
It's Not All About The Gap
You can have a separation and the gap may never close. That's okay because it's not about the gap. It's about the tension that you can generate within your Lines Alba which is the connective tissue that runs from where your rib cage meets all the way down to your pelvis.
2-3 finger separation between the left and right side of my abdominal muscles. The Lineal Alba is strong and dense, meaning that my diastasis recti is fully functional
Why Is It Important To Treat Your Diastasis Recti If There's No Tension In The Linea Alba?
The abdominal separation is just a peace of the puzzle that can affect how your pelvic floor and the rest of your deep core system function. The abdominal muscles may also become stretched and lose strength (Gordon 1966). Some women can experience low back pain because the TvA can become inhibited or delayed (Hodges et al 2003).
How to Check for Diastasis Recti
How To Treat Diastasis Recti?
The good news is that diastasis recti is treatable. If You find yourself with a separation greater than 2 fingers, your best bet is to consult with a pelvic floor physiotherapist to get an internal perspective of how your core system is functioning.
There are misconceptions about diastasis recti and many women are left feeling confused when it comes to thier fitness training. Click here to read about why you don't have to fear diastasis recti
Choosing the right fitness program can be a great asset in restoring your core. Many fitness programs prescribe planks and crushes which are best to be avoided until your core is back to full function.
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