Women often struggle to realize the flat and toned midsections that they enjoyed pre-baby won't always bounce right back post-delivery, and diastasis recti may be the culprit. Diastasis recti, more commonly known as abdominal separation, leaves many women looking pregnant months, even years, after delivery. But this condition is more common than you may think.
If you’ve recently given birth and are looking to strengthen and tone your abdomen, or you’re wondering how to get rid of your “mommy tummy,” here are some key facts and helpful tips for you to keep in mind.
What is Diastasis Recti?
Diastasis recti, or abdominal separation, is a fairly common condition experienced by women during and after pregnancy, in which the right and left halves of the rectus abdominis muscle spread apart at the body’s midline.
In addition to reducing the integrity and functional strength of the abdominal wall, diastasis recti can also lead to pelvic girdle instability, causing women to experience pelvic and back pain, sacroiliac (SI) joint irritation, and restricted mobility.
Hi, I'm Cheryl. I work at Moreland OB-GYN and today I'm here to talk about diastasis recti. What is diastasis recti? It is the separation of the left and right abdominal muscles that happens during pregnancy. Why does it happen? The connective tissue between your right and left abdominal muscle group is called the linea alba. The hormonal changes that happen during pregnancy soften connective tissue and break down the linea alba causing a protrusion of the abdominal area or a little pooch belly. Will you develop a diastasis recti? Some women will and some women won't. Women who are short or petite in nature, if you have had a separation of muscles in previous pregnancies, you're most likely to develop it again, or if you've had previous medical conditions. If you're a previous exerciser and have strong muscles, that will help you to prevent any weakness as baby grows. It's also encouraged to perform the "log roll" maneuver in bed before getting up. I hope you have found this video and instructions useful. It is our mission at Moreland OB-GYN to lead you to better health.
What Causes Diastasis Recti?
During pregnancy, widening and thinning of the midline abdominal tissue occurs in response to the force of the growing uterus pushing against the abdominal wall. This, combined with pregnancy hormones that soften connective tissue, creates a small amount of widening of the midline and is normal.
Diastasis recti occurs in approximately 30-percent of all pregnancies and can develop anytime in the latter half of pregnancy. However, the condition is most commonly seen after pregnancy when the abdominal wall is lax, and the thinner midline tissue no longer provides adequate support for the torso and internal organs.
Those at the greatest risk of diastasis recti include:
Women who are expecting more than one baby
Women with a visible sway back and those with poor abdominal muscle tone
Women who are considered obese
However, genetics also plays a significant role in determining whether your abdominal muscles will separate. For most women, it’s simply how their bodies respond to pregnancy.
How Do I Know If I Have Diastasis Recti?
A simple self-test will help you to determine if you have diastasis recti. Follow these steps:
Lie on your back with your knees bent, and place the soles of your feet on the floor.
Place one hand behind your head, and your other hand on your abdomen, with your fingertips across your midline, parallel with your waistline, at the level of your belly button.
With your abdominal wall relaxed, gently press your fingertips into your abdomen.
Roll your upper body off the floor into a “crunch,” making sure that your rib cage moves closer to your pelvis.
Move your fingertips back and forth across your midline, feeling for the right and left sides of your rectus abdominis muscle. Test for separation at, above, and below your belly button.
If you feel a gap of more than two-and-a-half finger-widths when your rectus abdominis is fully contracted, the gap doesn’t shrink as your contract your abdominal wall, or you can see a small mound of tissue protruding along the length of your midline, you most likely have diastasis recti.
Are There Any At-Home Treatments for Diastasis Recti?
The good news is that the vast majority of women can close their midlines and flatten their abdominal walls with proper rehabilitation exercises.
Transverse Abdominis Activation
While lying on your back with your knees bent, draw your belly button in towards your spine. Contract your stomach muscles (as if coughing or sneezing) and hold this position. When this becomes easy and pain-free, move on to the next exercise.
Repeat: 10 Times
Hold: 3 Seconds
Complete: 3 Sets
Perform: 2 Times a day
Brace Heel Slides
While lying on your back with your knees bent, perform the transverse abdominis contraction as outlined in the first exercise. Hold this position with your stomach and slowly slide your heel forward on the floor or bed and then slide it back. Use your stomach muscles to keep your spine from moving. When this becomes easy and pain-free, move on to the next exercise.
Repeat: 10 Times
Complete: 3 Sets
Perform: 2 Times a day
While lying on your back with your knees bent, perform the transverse abdominis contraction as outlined in the first exercise. Slowly raise up one foot a few inches and then set it back down. Next, perform on your other leg. Use your stomach muscles to keep your spine from moving. When this becomes easy and pain-free, move on to the next exercise.
Repeat: 10 Times
Complete: 3 Sets
Perform: 2 Times a day
Brace Single Knee Extension
While lying on your back with knees bent, perform the transverse abdominis contraction as outlined in the first exercise. Slowly straighten out one knee while keeping the leg off the ground. Hold as indicated, then return to original position. Next, perform on the other leg. Keep your stomach muscles contracted.
Repeat: 10 Times
Complete: 3 Sets
Perform: 1 Time a day
When Do I Need to See My Doctor for Diastasis Recti?
In extreme cases of diastasis recti, abdominal tissue may tear, which may cause internal organs to poke out of the opening, also known as a hernia. In severe cases, the protruding organ may become strangulated, causing the blood supply to get cut off, which may lead to infection and tissue death. If you suspect you have a hernia, we encourage you to see your doctor for a physical exam or other diagnostic tests.
Why Choose Moreland OB-GYN?
We understand how important it is for women to “get back to normal” as soon as possible after pregnancy, and while many are comfortable diving back into their previous exercise routines, some women may need a little guidance. We’re happy to answer any questions that you have and deliver a personalized care plan tailored specifically to your needs.
At Moreland OB-GYN, we specialize in women’s health care and prioritizing the needs of our patients at all ages and stages of life. We hope you’ll connect with us to answer your questions and we hope you’ll turn to our experts as a trusted source for information.
Diastasis recti happens when a person's abdomen stretches during pregnancy and creates a gap in the abdominal muscles.
What is diastasis recti?
Diastasis recti (diastasis rectus abdominis or diastasis) is the separation of the rectus abdominis muscles during and after pregnancy. The rectus abdominis runs vertically along the front of your stomach. It's frequently referred to as someone's "six-pack abs." It's divided into left and right sides by a band of tissue called the linea alba that runs down the middle. As your uterus expands during pregnancy, the abdominals are stretched and the linea alba thins and pulls apart. This band of tissue gets wider as it's pushed outward.
Once you deliver your baby, the linea alba can heal and come back together. It's highly elastic and retracts backs (like a rubber band). When the tissue loses its elasticity from being overstretched, the gap in the abdominals will not close as much as it should. This is diastasis recti.
If you have diastasis, your belly may appear to stick out just above or below the belly button, making you appear pregnant months or years after giving birth.
Why does diastasis recti happen?
Pregnancy puts a lot of pressure on your abdomen (abs). The abdomen is made up of left and right ab muscles and a thin band of connective tissue (linea alba) in between. They are pushed outward and stretched to make room for the growing baby. Diastasis recti occurs when the linea alba is overstretched and doesn't come back together. The left and right sides of the abdominals stay separated. It's also referred to as an "ab gap" or abdominal separation.
Who gets diastasis recti?
Diastasis recti is most common in pregnant and postpartum women (it can also be seen in men and infants). Diastasis recti usually develops in the third trimester. There is increased pressure on the abdominal wall because the baby is growing quickly during this time. Most people don't notice diastasis recti until the postpartum period.
How common is diastasis recti?
Diastasis recti is extremely common in those who are pregnant and during the postpartum period. It affects 60% of people. It usually resolves itself within eight weeks of delivery. About 40% of those who have diastasis recti still have it by six months postpartum.
Symptoms and Causes
What are the symptoms of diastasis recti?
Most people don't notice signs of diastasis recti until they are postpartum. You can have diastasis recti during pregnancy, but it's hard to distinguish because your abdomen is stretched.
Common signs of diastasis recti during the postpartum period are:
A visible bulge or "pooch" that protrudes just above or below the belly button.
Softness or jelly-like feeling around your belly button.
Coning or doming when you contract your ab muscles.
Difficulty lifting objects, walking or performing everyday tasks.
Pain during sex.
Pelvic or hip pain.
Low back pain.
Urine leaking when you sneeze or cough.
Feeling weak in your abdominals.
What does diastasis recti feel like?
Diastasis recti is not painful. You may feel pain associated with some of the side effects of diastasis, but the ab separation itself doesn't hurt. You may feel weakness in your core when doing once easy tasks, like lifting a laundry basket. Some people feel a jelly-like texture in the space between the left and right abdominals when contracting the ab muscles.
How do I know if I have diastasis recti?
There are some common signs that can signal you have diastasis recti. One of the most common signs of diastasis recti is a bulge in your midsection that doesn't go away, even after exercising or losing weight gained during pregnancy. Another sign is that your belly cones or domes when you lean back on a chair or get up out of bed. You can check for diastasis recti on your own, but it is always a good idea to speak with your healthcare provider about your symptoms.
What are the risk factors for developing diastasis recti?
Several factors can increase your risk for developing diastasis recti:
Having multiple pregnancies (especially back-to-back).
Being over 35 years old.
Having multiples (such as twins or triplets).
Having a heavy or big baby.
Being extremely petite.
Vaginal delivery. Pushing can increase abdominal pressure.
Diagnosis and Tests
How is diastasis recti diagnosed?
Your healthcare provider will evaluate if diastasis is present, where it's located and how severe it is. Diastasis recti can occur above the belly button, below the belly button and at the belly button.
Your provider will use their hands and fingers to feel the abdominal area for gaps and muscle tone. Some providers may use ultrasound, measuring tape or a tool called a caliper for a more accurate measurement. This exam typically occurs at your postpartum appointment before being cleared for exercise.
An abdominal gap wider than 2 centimeters is considered diastasis recti. Diastasis recti is also measured in finger widths, for example, two or three fingers' separation.
Your healthcare provider may recommend movements for diastasis recti or they may refer you to a specialist for additional treatment.
How do I test myself for diastasis recti?
You can test yourself for diastasis recti:
Lie on your back with your knees bent and feet flat on the floor.
Lift your shoulders slightly off the ground, keeping one hand behind your head for support. Almost like you are doing a sit-up. Look down at your belly.
Move your other hand above your belly button area, palms down and fingers towards your toes.
Use your fingers to feel for a gap between the abs. See how many fingers can fit in the gap between your right and left abdominals.
If you feel a gap of two or more finger widths, discuss your concerns with your healthcare provider. They should confirm diastasis recti with a proper diagnosis and recommend appropriate care.
Management and Treatment
How can I fix diastasis recti?
To fix diastasis recti, you'll need to perform gentle movements that engage the abdominal muscles. Before starting an exercise program, be sure it's safe for diastasis recti. Work with a fitness professional or physical therapist who has experience with diastasis recti. They can create a treatment plan to make sure you are performing the movements correctly and progressing to more challenging movements at the right time.
Certain movements will make abdominal separation worse. During the postpartum period, there are some modifications you should make:
Avoid lifting anything heavier than your baby.
Roll onto your side when getting out of bed or sitting up. Use your arms to push yourself up.
Skip activities and movements that push your abdominals outward (like crunches and sit-ups).
Some people use binding devices (elastic belly bands) to help hold their belly in and support the lower back. Wearing binders can't heal diastasis recti and will not strengthen your core muscles. It can be a good reminder of your diastasis recti and promote good posture.
Can you fix diastasis recti without surgery?
Yes, it's possible to fix diastasis recti without surgery. Surgery is rarely performed to fix diastasis recti. Healthcare providers will recommend physical therapy or at-home exercises to help heal diastasis before surgical methods. Surgery is performed in cases of hernia (when an organ pushes through the linea alba) or if a woman wants diastasis recti surgery (a tummy tuck).
What are the best exercises for diastasis recti?
The best exercises for diastasis recti are those that engage the deep abdominals. Most diastasis recti exercises involve deep breathing and slow, controlled movements. Unfortunately, many of the most common ab exercises (like crunches) can worsen your diastasis. Before starting abdominal exercises, ask your healthcare provider to check you for diastasis recti.
What movements make diastasis recti worse?
Any movement that bulges the abdominal wall forward can cause more damage to your diastasis recti. Everyday movements like getting out of bed or up off a chair can worsen diastasis. Try to be mindful about how you are using your abdominals as you go about your day.
These exercise movements should be avoided if you have diastasis recti:
Crunches or sit-ups of any kind.
Planks or push-ups (unless using modifications).
Downward dog, boat pose and other yoga poses.
Double leg lifts, scissors and other Pilates moves.
Any exercise that causes your abdominals to bulge, cone or dome.
How do I prevent diastasis recti?
Some abdominal separation is normal and expected with pregnancy. There are some things you can do to lower your risk for developing diastasis recti:
Healthy weight gain during pregnancy: Exercising and eating healthy foods to keep weight gain within a healthy range.
Proper posture and deep breathing: Stand up straight with your shoulders back. Take deep breaths that allow your ribs to expand and not just your belly.
Safe core exercises: Avoid exercises like sit-ups and crunches that put pressure on your abdominals after 12 weeks of pregnancy and postpartum.
Don't strain while lifting: Certain day-to-day activities like lifting grocery bags or your children can put undue strain on your abdominals.
Log roll when getting out of bed: If you're pregnant or postpartum, roll to one side and use your arms to push up out of bed.
Outlook / Prognosis
How long will it take to heal my diastasis recti?
The amount of time it takes to heal diastasis recti depends on the amount of ab separation and how consistent you are with strengthening exercises. After several weeks postpartum, this gap will start to close as your muscles regain strength. If you're making modifications to your lifestyle and performing exercises with good form, you're more likely to notice progress.
Can I get diastasis recti again?
Yes, you can heal your diastasis recti and get it again. Your risk for diastasis recti increases the more times you are pregnant. Think of the linea alba as a rubber band that is continuously stretched. Over time, the rubber band will lose its elasticity. The linea alba may not regain its original shape or form after being stretched through multiple pregnancies.
Is it too late to fix my diastasis recti?
It's never too late to repair your diastasis recti. With the proper exercises, you can fix your ab separation years after you've delivered your last baby.
Are there complications from diastasis recti?
If left untreated or in severe cases of diastasis recti, complications can include:
Increase in back pain.
Pain during sex.
Pelvic and hip pain.
When should I see my healthcare provider?
Diastasis recti is a common and easily treated condition. If you have more than a two-finger gap between your abdominals or are experiencing pain, contact your healthcare provider for a diagnosis. They may want you to see a physical therapist or pelvic floor specialist to help strengthen your abdominal muscles.
A note from Cleveland Clinic:
Diastasis recti can make you appear pregnant years after your last baby. Discuss your concerns with your healthcare provider so they can diagnose and treat you. Getting treatment can help you feel more confident in your body and correct any pain you are experiencing.
Diastasis of the abdominal muscles after childbirth in women in Moscow
Diastasis is a divergence to the side of the rectus abdominis muscles. At the same time, the white line of the abdomen becomes thinner and stretched - a connective tissue structure that connects the muscles that form the very desired "press cubes".
If its width is more than 20 mm, we are talking about the presence of rectus diastasis.
Diastasis itself is not a disease, but rather a physiological condition. This is not a hernia: there is no defect in the white line, so there is no risk of infringement of internal organs. At the same time, the expansion and thinning of the white line increases the potential risk of developing true hernias.
Causes of diastasis
Most often, diastasis appears in the third trimester of pregnancy. This is one of the manifestations of physiological changes in the connective tissue of a woman during this period under the influence of hormones - the anterior abdominal wall is stretched due to connective tissue structures (and primarily the white line) - otherwise the uterus with a growing child would simply not fit in the abdominal cavity. In this case, the center of gravity of the body shifts anteriorly, the bend of the spine increases, the pressure on the anterior abdominal wall increases. The second reason for the appearance and increase in diastasis is an increase in pressure in the abdominal cavity, including during certain physical exercises.
In the postpartum period, the distance between the muscles decreases, but this process takes about a year. A survey of 300 women conducted by our Norwegian colleagues showed that 6 weeks after birth, diastasis persists in 60% of women, and after 12 months - only in 33%. That is why we do not recommend considering the issue of surgical treatment of diastasis earlier than a year after childbirth.
Classification of diastasis
There are several classifications of diastasis. Back at 1990 Ranney proposed to define diastasis as small with a width of up to 3 cm, moderate - 3-5 cm and large - if the distance between the rectus muscles is 5 cm or more.
Today we most often use the classification of Reinpold et al. (2019), which is similar to the hernia classification of the European Society of Herniology. We also note the number of pregnancies, skin condition, clinical symptoms and a number of other parameters that help us to carefully describe the situation in each case and choose the best way to correct diastasis.
Symptoms of diastasis
Diastasis is often visible to the naked eye. For its clearer definition, we ask patients in the supine position to raise their heads and shoulders. At the same time, the rectus abdominis muscles contract and a protrusion becomes visible, or vice versa, a deepening along a line running from the sternum to the pubis. Palpation allows you to more accurately identify the presence and degree of diastasis.
Diastasis may also present with clinical symptoms. The loss of a strong “foothold” for the muscles of the anterior abdominal wall leads to a redistribution of the static load, which in turn can lead to pelvic and lumbar pain, and in some, fortunately rare, cases, dysfunction of the pelvic organs.
We routinely use ultrasound to accurately determine the presence, length and width of diastasis, white line defects and hernias. Ultrasound is included in the consultation and is performed by the surgeon, who determines the tactics of treatment. This approach, in our opinion, is optimal and allows you to obtain reliable additional information that affects the adoption of a tactical decision.
In some cases, usually with severe diastasis and the presence of a hernia, we perform computed tomography, which gives us an understanding of the state of the anterior abdominal wall and allows us to determine and model the optimal method of diastasis repair.
How can diastasis be treated?
As we said above, diastasis is not a disease, but rather a postpartum condition that leads to an aesthetic and functional defect of the anterior abdominal wall. Accordingly, we prefer to replace "treatment" with "correction".
A correctly selected set of exercises can often correct external manifestations. It must be remembered that not all exercises can be performed with diastasis. All types of exercises that can contribute to an increase in diastasis are prohibited - these are all basic exercises with weights (deadlift, squats), many exercises for the abdominal muscles - twisting, hanging leg raises, etc. The classic "bar" is also not recommended for patients with diastasis.
What exercises do we recommend for diastasis? Anything that strengthens the “deep core muscles”: side plank, tummy tuck, cat, Kegel exercises.
They cannot reduce the width of the white line (we remember that this is not a muscle, but a connective tissue that cannot be "pumped up"), but they can often improve the appearance of the abdomen and the quality of life of its owner, as shown by a recent study by Thabet and Alshehri, although the level of evidence for this thesis is low. However, we recommend a training program for at least 6 months before considering diastasis surgery.
NB! This does not apply to situations where diastasis is combined with hernias - umbilical or white line. It is impossible to eliminate hernias with physical exercises, we immediately move on to the surgical treatment option (here, it is the treatment).
Surgical treatment of diastasis
Surgery for diastasis is a rather extensive topic: there are several options for operations: laparoscopic (at least three fundamentally different methods) and open (also at least three), with or without implants, various suture materials, etc. .d. We will devote a separate article to these features, and now we will only briefly dwell on the indications for surgical correction:
Any diastasis associated with a hernia of the anterior abdominal wall or severe diastasis with a cosmetic defect and/or clinical symptoms
Childbirth more than 12 months ago
No effect after 6 months of training
Not planning another pregnancy
If these four conditions are met, we can plan the surgical treatment of diastasis.
Prevention of diastasis
There are practically no evidence-based measures for the prevention of diastasis today. You can reduce pressure on the anterior abdominal wall by following these 5 principles:
Before sitting or getting out of bed, roll onto your side to engage your lateral abdominal muscles when you get up
Avoid heavy lifting during pregnancy, and if you have to, use proper lifting technique with a straight back
A special supporting corset takes on part of the load, and in addition, physically pulls the rectus abdominis muscles together
Don't forget about regular exercise during pregnancy to strengthen your core and pelvic floor muscles.
We will be happy to answer any questions on the topic of rectus diastasis by email [email protected] or +7(995)500-0324 (WhatsApp, Telegram).
separation of abdominal muscles after childbirth
Almost every woman is faced with a divergence of the abdominal muscles after childbirth. Stretching occurs as early as the third trimester of pregnancy. And normally goes away on its own some time after the birth of the child. We understand why this happens, how to fix it and understand on our own that the muscles have dispersed.
What is diastasis rectus abdominis?
The muscular corset of the abdomen consists of rectus, oblique and transverse muscles, which are interconnected by tendons and a white line. The main function of the muscular corset is to support the abdominal organs, participate in some physiological processes, for example, in breathing, defecation and urination, and the work of the spine.
The linea alba is a large vertical tendon that connects the rectus abdominis muscles. Due to the large amount of dense collagen, it has a white color, because of which it got its name.
It has a maximum width (about 15 mm) in the upper abdomen and gradually narrows downward. Its main function is to provide movement and maintain the stability of the peritoneum.
If the white line loses elasticity and stretches, it can no longer perform its function and hold the rectus muscles together securely. This condition is called diastasis. Most often it develops for the following reasons:
sharp weight loss;
significant physical activity;
connective tissue dysplasia.
However, most often diastasis occurs during pregnancy. According to statistics, from 70 to 100% of women face it in the later stages. Stretching of the white line during this period is considered a normal physiological state, which passes on its own some time after childbirth.
What causes diastasis of the abdomen after childbirth?
Several factors affect the change in the abdominal muscles during pregnancy. Usually changes occur in the second half of this period and persist for several months after childbirth. As a rule, it does not require correction and goes away on its own when the muscles recover.
What affects the formation of diastasis during pregnancy?
Type of change
Hormones affect the elasticity of connective tissues and lead to their stretching.
The volume of the uterus increases 500 times, which leads to weakening of the muscles and tendons. If this did not happen, the growing fetus and uterus would not be able to fit in the abdominal cavity.
Change in the load on the abdominal muscles
The growing fetus, firstly, affects intra-abdominal pressure. Secondly, it changes the load on the muscles themselves
Method of delivery
After natural childbirth, the body starts processes that shrink the uterus and reduce its volume. After a caesarean section, these processes are slower, which leads to a greater load on the muscles of the peritoneum.
Most often, diastasis of pregnant women disappears on its own within a year after delivery. If the problem persists longer, consultation with specialists is necessary.
Important! A muscle strain of 20 mm or more is considered pathological and requiring intervention. If the changes are not so significant, doctors suggest monitoring the condition of the white line.
Is it possible to determine the pathology yourself?
The divergence of the rectus abdominis muscles does not have pronounced symptoms. However, you can see the manifestation of diastasis on your own with the naked eye. To do this, you need to tighten your stomach and see if there are protrusions or depressions in the middle of the abdomen.
Another self-diagnosis method that can be done at home. For this you need:
Lie on your back.
Bend your knees.
Put one hand under the head, and the other on the stomach.
Raise your upper body.
Feel the middle of the abdomen for disappearances.
In rare cases, with a strong discrepancy, muscle support changes. Because of this, there are pulling pains in the lower back or heaviness in the lower abdomen. If these symptoms appear, you must definitely try to determine diastasis yourself. And if that doesn't work, see a doctor.
This disease is treated by a surgeon. He will conduct a visual inspection and manual diagnosis of muscle divergence. To confirm the diagnosis and determine the degree of discrepancy, he may prescribe computed tomography, x-rays and ultrasound of the abdominal organs.
If diastasis does not go away on its own, it is necessary to consult a doctor in order to choose a treatment and avoid the development of complications. Do not hesitate to contact our doctors with such a problem - they are in touch with you around the clock, which means they will tell you at any time what actions can be taken to eliminate muscle pathology.
What are the consequences of muscle separation?
Muscle divergence is not at all a harmless pathology or a cosmetic defect. The stretching of the white line affects the entire muscular corset of the abdomen and peritoneum. This leads to a variety of consequences. The main ones are:
hernia of the umbilical ring and white line;
increased gas formation;
disruption of the muscles of the diaphragm;
urinary incontinence when coughing and sneezing;
atrophy of the abdominal muscles;
stagnant processes in the veins of the lower extremities;
prolapse of internal organs;
excessive stress on the spine.
Complications often occur with severe sprains of the white line and the divergence of the rectus muscles by more than 5 centimeters. In addition, in the absence of proper treatment, pathological processes can intensify, and muscle divergence increases.
Pay attention! Incorrect physical activity can increase stretching of the white line and divergence of the rectus muscles. This load includes almost any exercise on the press, so after childbirth they should be done with caution.
How to get rid of diastasis?
Normally, muscle discrepancy after childbirth is up to 25 mm. Such diastasis does not require treatment or correction and usually resolves on its own one year after delivery. However, in women who were born by caesarean section, this recovery process may take longer.
However, there are some ways to improve the condition of the white line and help the body recover faster. What can be done?
Normal and varied food.
Avoid foods that cause constipation.
Exclude exercises on the press (lifting the body, twisting, bar).
Add exercises to strengthen the abdominal muscles (vacuum, Kegel exercises, and so on).
Wear a muscle-supporting bandage in the postpartum period.
With severe diastasis, a surgical operation to suture the white line is recommended. Abdominoplasty is performed according to indications. With its help, muscles are strengthened and the distance between them is reduced. With moderate stretching (up to 50 mm), minimally invasive methods are recommended through incisions and punctures of the white line, rather than abdominal surgery.
The operation is performed at least 12 months after childbirth and only if conservative methods have not helped to improve the condition of the rectus muscles and white line. It is better to plan the next pregnancy not earlier than one year after abdominoplasty.
In order not to miss the moment when normal recovery processes turn into pathological ones, it is better to constantly contact the doctor and consult with him about any changes in the condition of the abdomen. Our doctors will consult both by phone and by video link and will tell you about the methods of treatment and measures that will help to cope with diastasis.
Are there ways to prevent diastasis after childbirth?
The stretching of the white line and the divergence of the rectus muscles is a normal physiological process, due to which pregnancy can develop normally and correctly. Therefore, it is impossible to prevent the development of these processes by 100%.
However, without preventive measures, there is a risk of a serious discrepancy (more than 50 mm) and the development of such unpleasant symptoms as pain and heaviness in the lower abdomen, incontinence, prolapse of organs.
The following measures will help reduce the severity of diastasis:
Normalization of nutrition and avoidance of constipating foods.
Refusal to lift weights during pregnancy.
Physical education, which strengthens the muscles of the pelvic floor and the press.
Wearing a special bandage that supports the abdomen after the 25th week of pregnancy;
Weight control during pregnancy.
Any physical activity and diet should be discussed with your doctor. Some exercises can cause uterine spasm and adversely affect the fetus, so it is better not to self-medicate, but to discuss these issues with a gynecologist.
Why does diastasis develop after caesarean section?
After a caesarean section, the hormonal processes that trigger uterine contractions are not as intense as after a natural birth. This leads to the fact that the muscles do not contract as actively, and recovery is slower. To speed up these processes after removing the stitches, it is recommended to wear a support bandage and refuse to lift weights.
Why is the divergence of the rectus muscles dangerous?
The rectus muscles provide the muscular corset of the peritoneum and are involved in many physiological processes (contraction of the diaphragm, urination, defecation, rotation of the body, and so on). When the white line is stretched, these processes are disrupted, which leads to pain, incontinence, prolapse of the internal organs, sagging and atrophy of the abdominal muscles.
Can diastasis go away on its own?
Yes, in most cases, diastasis does not require special treatment and resolves on its own a year after childbirth. However, in any case, a woman needs the supervision of a surgeon in the postpartum period, so as not to miss the moment when normal processes turn into pathological ones.
How to remove diastasis?
Treatment is required only in cases where the divergence of the muscles becomes more than 50 mm or the woman has complications that impair her quality of life. In this case, abdominal or laparoscopic surgery is recommended, during which the doctor stitches the rectus muscles and reduces the gap between them.
When can I download the press after childbirth?
Abdominal exercises - lifting the body, bending over, squatting, twisting - can increase postpartum muscle divergence. If the recovery is going well, then you can start the exercises already 6 months after the birth. If the diastasis does not decrease, it is better to wait up to 12 months or consult a doctor so that he can help you choose exercises to strengthen the abdominal muscles.
How to help the body recover faster after childbirth?
To strengthen the muscles of the press, special exercises of physiotherapy exercises (vacuum, cat, Kegel exercises and others) are recommended. In addition, it is recommended to choose a diet that normalizes the functioning of the gastrointestinal tract, prevents the development of constipation and contains a large amount of protein.
Can muscle divergence be prevented?
Divergence of the rectus muscles and stretching of the white line is a normal process that occurs during any pregnancy. The divergence rate is up to 25 mm. It becomes pathological in cases where the stretching is greater and leads to complications. For prevention, it is recommended to monitor weight, eat normally, not lift weights and wear a special supporting bandage.
Diastasis, that is, the divergence of the abdominal muscles, is a physiological process that women experience during pregnancy. Normally, the abdominal muscles should recover on their own after childbirth. If the discrepancy persists for a long time, the woman is recommended corrective surgery. But as a rule, surgical intervention to get rid of diastasis is not required.
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Menshikova Maria Viktorovna obstetrician-gynecologist