WHAT IS A DIASTASIS?
Diastasis Recti refers to the separation of the outer-most abdominal layer - the Rectus or 6-pack muscle group - along the Linea Alba into left and right halves. The Linea Alba is the connective tissue which joins the different layers of abdominal muscles at the midline of the body – it often becomes more visible during pregnancy.
This separation is 100% normal and has to happen to make room for your growing baby.
WHAT CAN MAKE IT WORSE?
- FORWARD BENDING - you want to avoid all forms of forward bending and rounding of the spine against gravity during pregnancy. Forward bending engages your 6 pack which pulls and strains the already stretched tissue of the Linea Alba
- CRUNCHES - Do not do crunches when you are pregnant. Actively engaging your 6 pack during exercise is dangerous and will 100% make your separation bigger, cause serious damage to your Linea Alba and will undoubtedly cause lower back pain and instability in the pelvis and spine.The bigger the separation - the more time it will take to repair when you are postnatal
- EXTENSION AND ROTATION - These movements of the spine all so pull on the midline tissue. Use with caution and make sure you have a limited range of motion
Unfortunately it is most likely the pedestrian movements in your day-to-day life that often do the most damage and make the diastasis worse. For example:
- Getting up out of bed
- Getting up off the couch
- Pulling yourself out of a taxi
- Getting up out of the bath
HOW DO YOU PREVENT MAKING IT WORSE?
- DO NOT DO TRADITIONAL ABDOMINAL EXERCISES WHEN WORKING OUT -The only muscles you need to focus on are the deep core and these are activated and challenged in a seated or all four position.
- BE AWARE OF HOW YOU MOVE - To lie down ”From a seated position slide all the way down until you are side lying, only when your head is completely down can you roll onto your back!” To come back up – “Roll over onto your side. Using your top arm push yourself up to an upright seated position.”
WHAT EXERCISES HELP STRENGTHEN AND SUPPORT THE STRETCHED TISSUE?
- THE FUNDAMENTAL EXERCISES - The fundamental series are the only abdominal exercises you need to do to ensure you are working to prevent and avoid making or worsening your prenatal diastasis
- CORRECT CORE WORK - The muscles to focus on are the Transverse Abdominis (TVA) and Pelvic Floor Muscles (PFM)
Follow along with Ali as she safely works to strengthen her deep core muscles and prevent making her prenatal diastasis worse.