6 Things You Didn’t Know About Postpartum Diastasis Recti

dialysis recti assessment by therapist

Diastasis recti is a condition that many postpartum women in Haarlem encounter, but few fully understand. This blog post will uncover five surprising facts about postpartum diastasis recti that can help you better understand and manage this condition. Whether you’re a new mom or someone supporting one, this information is crucial for optimal recovery and health.

What is Diastasis Recti?

Diastasis recti is a common condition that occurs when the large abdominal muscles separate. This separation can be caused by the stretching of the connective tissue that holds them together, often due to pregnancy. During pregnancy, the growing uterus stretches the muscles in the abdomen to accommodate the developing baby. While this is a natural process, it can lead to a significant gap between the left and right sides of the rectus abdominis muscle, commonly known as the “six-pack” muscles.

Symptoms of Diastasis Recti

  • A visible bulge or “pooch” in the stomach, especially when the abdominal muscles are strained
  • Lower back pain
  • Poor posture
  • Difficulty lifting objects
  • Weakness in the abdominal muscles

1.  Diastasis Recti is More Common Than You Think

Many women are unaware that diastasis recti is a widespread issue. Research shows that around 39% of women still have a diastasis recti at six months postpartum.  The prevalence can be higher in women who have had multiple pregnancies, larger babies, or multiple births (twins, triplets, etc.).  This condition results from the significant stretching and thinning of the linea alba, the connective tissue between the left and right sides of the rectus abdominis muscle. Despite its prevalence, many women don’t recognize the symptoms or know that they have it, leading to untreated issues that can affect their well-being.

2.  It Can Affect More Than Just Your Appearance

While the most noticeable symptom of diastasis recti is a bulge in the abdomen, its effects extend beyond cosmetic concerns. Diastasis recti can lead to:

  • Chronic back pain: Weak abdominal muscles can strain the lower back.
  • Pelvic floor dysfunction: The condition can weaken the pelvic floor muscles, leading to issues like urinary incontinence.
  • Poor posture: The separation of abdominal muscles can affect overall body alignment, resulting in poor posture and related discomforts.

3.  You Don’t Have to Live with It Forever

Many women assume that once they have diastasis recti, they must live with it indefinitely. However, with proper care and exercises, the condition can improve significantly. Core strengthening exercises, guided by a healthcare professional like a chiropractor, can help bring the muscles back together. In some cases, diastasis recti can heal completely over time with consistent and correct intervention.

4.  Not All Exercises are Beneficial

Engaging in random abdominal exercises can sometimes do more harm than good. Traditional crunches and sit-ups can exacerbate the condition by increasing intra-abdominal pressure and pushing the muscles further apart. Chiropractors can recommend safe and effective exercises, such as:

  • Pelvic tilts
  • Transverse abdominis exercises
  • Breathing techniques that engage the core

These exercises are designed to strengthen the core safely without increasing the separation.

5.  Diastasis is Measured by Both the Width and the Depth of the Separation

When diagnosing and assessing the severity of diastasis recti, healthcare providers measure both the width and the depth of the separation between the abdominal muscles. The width refers to how far apart the muscles are, while the depth indicates how deep the separation is into the abdominal cavity. Both measurements are crucial for developing an effective treatment plan, as they provide a comprehensive understanding of the condition’s impact on the abdominal wall. A greater depth can indicate more significant damage to the connective tissue, requiring a more tailored and cautious approach to rehabilitation.

6.  Chiropractic Care Can Be a Game-Changer

Chiropractic care is a powerful ally in the treatment of diastasis recti. Chiropractors specialize in musculoskeletal health and can provide comprehensive care that addresses the root of the problem. Here’s how chiropractic care can help:

  • Spinal and pelvic alignment: Proper alignment can restore proper joint mobility and improve brain communication to these muscles, making them stronger.
  • Customized exercise plans: Chiropractors can design tailored exercise routines that strengthen the core safely and effectively.
  • Soft tissue therapy: Techniques like myofascial release can improve blood flow and tissue healing, aiding in muscle recovery.  It can also be used to improve skin mobility around C-section and abdominal scars.
  • Postural advice: Chiropractors can guide you on maintaining proper posture in daily activities, reducing the strain on your abdominal muscles.

For expert chiropractic care for mothers that is tailored to postpartum recovery, book your appointment with The Movement Recipe in Haarlem today. Our team is dedicated to helping you achieve optimal health and wellness through personalized treatment plans.

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