What is Abdominal Separation?
- Abdominal separation or ‘diastasis recti’ is very common during and after pregnancy. It is a separation of the outer abdominal muscles and is often not painful and only noticed when performing abdominal-heavy movements such as lifting and sitting up from lying. This may look like doming through the middle of the belly or you make feel weak doing these movements.
Who gets it?
- Research shows that abdominal separation is present in 70-100% of women post-pregnancy. While many women don’t notice their abdominal separation, it can cause lower back pain and pelvic floor issues, especially with the increased lifting of a growing baby post-partum!
How can I prevent it?
- The best way to prevent and manage abdominal separation is to start Pilates led by a Physiotherapist who can guide you through strengthening exercises pre, during and post-partum. While it is best to start pre-natally, Pilates within the first year after delivery is proven to have the most benefit for managing and closing your abdominal separation. However, if it has been longer than a year, this does not mean that you cannot still make improvements or heal your abdominal separation – strengthening will always help!
What causes it?
- Risk factors of abdominal separation include straining with exercise, heavy lifting and multiple pregnancies.
- Post-partum, our recommended amount of physical activity is 150 minutes per week. Within these 150 minutes, it is recommended to do 2 strengthening workouts weekly, with moderate cardiovascular exercise (e.g. brisk walking) the rest of the time.
- If you are concerned about having an abdominal separation or have any questions, pop in to see any of our friendly Physiotherapists who can help diagnose and guide you through management and healing. If you are pre-natal, we run Prenatal Pilates classes to help strengthen and prepare you for pregnancy and birth, as well as preparing yourself for the post-partum period.
Mums and Bubs Pilates
- We also run Mums and Bubs Pilates classes to help you rehabilitate, strength and regain fitness post-partum. It is so important to strengthen post-delivery as your body has been through huge changes with pregnancy and are then put under continuing stress and poor sleep. Lower back pain is so common post-natally because of the increased lifting demands post-partum with weakened abdominals. In addition to this, upper back and neck pain and stiffness is incredibly common with breastfeeding mothers. Our mums and bubs pilates classes are designed to help prevent and manage these common pains and aches related to pregnancy, and help you feel strong. In addition to this, we also run Mums and Bubs yoga classes if a good stretch is what you are after!
If you have any questions or concerns, please don’t hesitate to give us a call or make an appointment with one of our friendly physiotherapists!