Diastasis recti isn’t inevitable, and you don’t have to cross your fingers and hope for the best during your pregnancy. Here are 5 things that you can do now to greatly reduce your risks of diastasis recti.
What is Diastasis Recti?
During pregnancy your abdominal muscles naturally grow apart to make space for your baby to grow. Afterwards, the muscles close back together. However, If they do not close back this is known as an abnormal separation or diastasis recti. The reason they don’t close back is due to intra-abdominal pressure overstressing the muscles and structure of the stomach, particularly the linea alba which is what the main abdominal muscles attach to. The key to prevention is making sure you are not causing intra-abdominal pressure.
Healing abdominal separation takes time better is prevention of course so I thought I would bring together 5 things you can do to greatly reduce your risks of diastasis recti
1) get rid of those heels – you want flat shoes, really flat – no heels at all (if you’ve been following me for a while you’ll realise I say this an awful lot – it really is that important)
Heels tip your body forward throwing you out of alignment and causing pressure on your abdominal muscles.
2) Untuck your pelvis – tucking your pelvis under creates stress on the abdominal muscles and the linea alba (the structure that the abdominal muscles attach to). Get your hip bones and your pubic bone arranged vertically.
3) Unthrust your ribs – so often we push our chests out in an attempt to stand up straight. This pulls the left and right halves of the ribs away form each other as well as pulling the bottom of the chest forwards, creating abnormal loading of the linea alba. Think about rolling your ribs down so they line up with the rest of your trunk.
4) Release your abdominal muscles, for so many reasons we suck in our stomachs – whether it is to achieve a flat stomach or because of stress or anxiety – it isn’t good for us. These tense muscles coupled with the added weight of a baby create too much load on the linea alba putting you at increased risk of diastasis recti.
5) Breathe right – it’s time to utilise your ribs more as you breathe – rather than thinking about taking the breath into the abdomen and seeing that rise up and down – allow your ribs to expand with each inhale.
If you are looking for a pregnancy preparation class that supports core and pelvic floor health check out Birth Fundamentals. If you are wanting to rehabilitate from diastasis recti I run 1-2-1 sessions that take the whole-body approach.
Rosie Dhoopun is a Movement Teacher, Pre-and postpartum exercise specialist and pelvic floor dysfunction and diastasis recti consultant. She runs classes in Ipswich, Suffolk every Saturday.