Stomach Recovery/Diastasis Recti

Prevention Advised By Harmony Ottawa:

  • Prenatal exercise and posture retraining are important during pregnancy can prevent the incidence of Rectus abdominis.

  •  Walking and Prenatal Physiotherapy are safe options during pregnancy when advised by regulated healthcare professionals.

  • Changes in weight distribution and carrying extra weight in pregnancy can alter your abdominal strength. Exercise helps maintain abdominal strength, tone, and flexibility to prevent the risk of a large Rectus abdominis.

Harmony Ottawa can help you with:

  • Active exercises can reduce the width of Rectus abdominis after birth.

  • Postnatal assessment and education by a Women’s Health Physio can be commenced whilst you are still in the hospital.

  • Lower abdominal (transverse abdominis) and pelvic floor muscle exercises are the most important exercises.

  • Natural resolution of the Rectus abdominis occurs from day 1 to 8 weeks postnatal, thereafter recovery plateaus.

What is Diastasis Recti?

Diastasis Recti is a gap between the rectus abdominis (six-pack) muscles. As the abdomen grows during pregnancy, it stretches the connective tissue and the rectus abdominal muscles. The muscles have not torn apart! The trunk and abdominal muscles have a role in posture, stability, and movement and when they aren’t functioning properly, then this can lead to poor posture and even low back pain.

What causes it?

The connective tissue between the muscles is weakened and softened from pregnancy hormones and the physical stretching when making room for baby. Diastasis Recti can occur from 14 weeks gestation and increases until delivery. Risk factors for Diastasis Recti include maternal age, babies with large birth weight, multiples or multiple pregnancies in a short period.

Assessment

Diastasis Recti can be measured by ‘fingers width’, which has proven to be reliable.

TIPS

  • Watch out for any ‘doming’ (bulging of the abdominal contents through the gap). This is a serious issue if not treated properly with conservative management.

  • For the first 6 weeks after birth, you should roll onto your side when getting out of bed, to preserve the connective tissue and abdominals from stretching further.

  • Avoid the ‘sit up’ movement for a minimum of 6 weeks, particularly when getting out of bed.

  • If you are experiencing lower back pain after pregnancy, it may be due to Diastasis Recti and lack of trunk support. Seek help from a Harmony Ottawa.

Harmony Physiotherapy Ottawa is an accredited DN4MSK © Teaching Facility

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