What is Diastasis Recti?
Diastsasis Recti is the technical term for abdominal seperation during and after pregnancy
During the process of pregnancy many women dont realise that the abdominals absolutely have to seperate to accomodate the ever growing baby inside and that everyone who has been pregnant will have some degree of diastasis post birth
The expansion is possible due to the linea alba, a connetive tissue that runs from your sternum to your pubic bone and connects the two sides of your six pack. You may have noticed a grey or darker line down your tummy when pregnant and this is indeed the linea alba tissue
If you are a new mum who may be concerned that they have DR then I hope this blog will help you with how to check and to ease your worries on what you can do about it
The aim after pregnancy is to know how to check for it and what constitutes healing. Its also really important to note that you can be months or years post baby and still use this guide to check yourself
What are you checking for?
I have trained and completed many specialist post natal courses over the last couple of years and I have learnt its not the width of separation that is the most important aspect but the quality of the linea alba tissue. So ladies please do not worry too much if you are measuring and the seperation starts at 2-3 fingers apart and doesnt get too much narrower (more about this in the post)
The quality of the linea alba simply refers to how squishy or taut the tissue is and how easily you can push down into your belly
Please also be aware that your abdominals do not completely or automatically knit back together again, you are likely to always have a minor gap even when following an exercise programme to help it
Is Diastasis Recti linked to my post baby belly?
Firstly for most (not all) new mums DR is not exclusively linked to a post baby belly in the few months after delivery. More often than not it's the fact you have just given birth!
I know some worry this is DR and may be in a huge rush to start programmes aimed towards 'lose baby weight fast' but please trust me that more often than not time, heatlhy living and safe exercise will help reduce the larger post baby midsection
Sometime being too eager or quick to enter back to intense training or unsafe exercises can actually exacerbate a split
However, for a minority of new mums a large gap and loss of strength and function in the linea alba (problematic diastasis recti) with no post natal healing exercises can lead to some fairly serious issues. For example you may look larger around the belly long after having your baby (years) and have a weak or unstable core that contributes to lower back and pelvic pain problems, not nice im afraid
How to check?
So lets get to it! Here is a great video from the ladies at 'Girls Gone Strong' on how to check for Diastasis Recti
When to check?
I recommend that you start to measure around 2-3 weeks post delivery and if you are using an exercise programme which is focused on core and healing exercises then you should check every 2 weeks after
If you are more than 2-3 weeks post baby thats also totally fine (the lady in the video is 9 months post baby) and you start wherever you may be along the post natal time frame and the same rules apply as to when to recheck
I recommend going through at least 8 weeks of specific core exercises to get a good sense of how it is changing and healing (next blog is a about the best exercises)
SO REMEMBER the quality of the tissue is what is important and as mentioned you can still have a gap with a completely healed and functional diastasis recti
So stay tuned for our next post with some great exercises on healing ab and core after your baby AND if you wanted help to check just get in touch!