Question from a mama this week: “I am 16 weeks pregnant in my second pregnancy and I’ve noticed doming and separation of my belly already. Is this normal and what can I do to prevent it from getting worse?”
I was so happy to hear from a past workshop attendee and this inspired a post. (Side note, if you ever have any questions you want answered, send me a DM).
Diastasis recti, a condition that affects many women post-pregnancy, is something worth understanding. It occurs when the abdominal muscles separate during pregnancy, creating a gap in the midline of the abdomen. This can lead to a protruding belly and weakened core muscles. Doming can happen when the connective tissue between the rectus abdominis is having trouble maintaining the intra-abdominal pressure.
While it’s not exclusive to second pregnancies, it does tend to be more common in subsequent pregnancies due to the stretching of the abdominal muscles from previous pregnancies.
Part 1 – Yes, this is normal. Even if you’ve done “all the right things” like engaging your core and pelvic floor with your movements, diastasis does happen. Research shows that at 40 weeks pregnant, 100% of pregnant women have a diastasis. It is more common for it to show up sooner with each additional pregnancy.
Part 2 – Friendly reminder that doming is your body’s warning sign to asses your core engagement, breathing, posture, mobility, and activity level. Remember that you can use your core engagement (specifically the transverses abdominis) to help reduce the doming. Practice this at rest while lying on your back and while doing movements such as a squat while loaded and unloaded. Be aware of how you’re using your body, especially while getting out of a low couch, the bed, with exercise, and while lifting weights (or your other kids). This is an easy place to make a big change since you may do this movements several times throughout the day without even realizing it.
Prevention is key! Engaging in safe exercises during pregnancy, such as prenatal yoga or Pilates, can help strengthen your core and minimize the risk of developing diastasis recti. Additionally, maintaining good posture and avoiding excessive strain on your abdomen can also be beneficial.
But what if you’re already experiencing diastasis recti? That’s where chiropractic care comes into play! Chiropractors are skilled in assessing and treating musculoskeletal conditions. They can provide targeted exercises and techniques to help realign your body and strengthen your core muscles.
Remember, seeking professional guidance from a chiropractor or healthcare provider is essential when dealing with diastasis recti. They can create a tailored plan that suits your individual needs and helps you on your journey towards recovery.
Don’t let diastasis recti hold you back! With preventive measures and the support of chiropractic care, you can regain strength in your core muscles and embrace a healthier post-pregnancy body.
Bonus tips: I also advise light abdominal massage throughout the entire belly to reduce tension in tight areas. This will allow all the abdominal muscles to work together more optimally. Finally, kinesiotape will assist the muscles with proper engagement and reduce any pain in the area. I’m a huge fan of the rxtape from Rocktape because it’s gentler for the sensitive skin on the belly. The black Xs are an example of an application that works really well.