Pregnancy is a special time when a woman’s body changes to allow the fetus to grow and prosper. Most women in the third-trimester love feeling their “bump” that will one day be their baby, however, there are some anatomical changes that come with this…
You can imagine that a growing baby will eventually take up a lot of room in your belly – this means that the space that your organs were used to is going to get a lot smaller. (that includes your bladder).
Imagine your organs losing space, but the baby also pushes against the abdominal wall slowly over a long period of time. As the baby grows and the pressure on the abdominal wall increases – this can create a separation of the abdominal wall known as “diastasis recti” or “rectus abdominis diastasis”. There is a stretching of the linea alba and the rectus abdominis muscle begins to separate as the baby grows quite large.
Diastasis Recti (DRA for short) has become a hot topic in the past few years as many women are seeing other women “rehab their abs” on social media. Unfortunately, DRA is not as simple as that. There are different components to DRA such as the width of separation and depth. The wider and deeper the DRA, the more difficult it is to rehabilitate during the postpartum period.
The best course of action is to seek a skilled physical therapist in this area, specifically a pelvic floor physical therapist. Why a pelvic floor therapist? Because a pelvic floor therapist is specifically trained in the mechanics of core stability and intra-abdominal pressure, most have additional training in pregnancy and postpartum rehabilitation. This would be the best solution for the DRA to be healed, and then they can guide you back into your fitness routine.
Many women try and rehabilitate this problem themselves, and what we see at Belle T+W is that women in early postpartum (doesn’t matter if it’s a vaginal or cesarean birth) cannot appropriately activate the correct abdominal muscles or control their intra-abdominal pressure. THAT is why it’s important to seek help from a professional.
If you have any questions please feel free to reach out via email or comment!
You should also check out the Belle Youtube Channel in order to see easy, DRA safe exercises in order to strengthen your core!