Diastasis recti, also known as abdominal separation, is common during pregnancy when the abdominal muscles stretch and separate to accommodate the growing fetus. While this separation is a normal part of pregnancy, for some women, it can persist after delivery and cause ongoing issues such as abdominal weakness, back pain, and even incontinence.
Favorably, some steps can be taken during pregnancy to help prevent diastasis recti and strategies for repairing it after delivery.
Preventing Diastasis Recti During Pregnancy
One of the key ways to prevent diastasis recti is to maintain good posture and engage in exercises that strengthen the core muscles.
It is important to avoid exercises that place excessive strain on the abdominal muscles, such as sit-ups or double leg lifts, as these can exacerbate abdominal separation. Instead, focus on activities that engage the deep stabilizing muscles of the core, such as planks, bird dogs, and side bridges.
Paying attention to your body positioning throughout the day is also essential. For example, avoid lifting heavy objects or straining during bowel movements, and try to sleep on your side rather than your back to reduce pressure on the abdominal muscles.
Repairing Diastasis Recti After Delivery
If you develop diastasis recti after delivery, addressing it as soon as possible is essential to prevent long-term complications.
The first step in repairing diastasis recti is to work with a physical therapist who can assess the severity of your abdominal separation and develop a treatment plan tailored to your needs.
Treatment may include exercises to strengthen the core muscles and techniques to improve posture and alignment. It is important to avoid activities that put additional strain on the abdominal muscles, such as sit-ups or double leg lifts, and instead focus on exercises that engage the deep stabilizing muscles of the core, such as planks and bird dogs.
In addition to exercise, paying attention to your body positioning throughout the day and avoiding lifting heavy objects or straining during bowel movements is essential.
It is also helpful to wear a supportive abdominal binder or wrap, which can provide additional support and stability to the abdominal muscles as they heal.
Diastasis rectus is common during pregnancy, but it can be prevented and repaired with the right strategies. By maintaining good posture and engaging in exercises that strengthen the core muscles, pregnant women can help prevent diastasis recti. And after delivery, working with a physical therapist and focusing on activities that engage the deep stabilizing muscles of the core can help repair abdominal separation. Wearing a supportive abdominal binder or wrap and paying attention to body positioning can also be helpful in the healing process.
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