Diastasis Recti is a common condition of pregnancy and postpartum in which the right and left halves of Rectus Abdominis muscle spread apart at the body's midline fascia, the linea alba.
Why do abdominal muscles sometimes separate during pregnancy? Widening and thinning of the linea alba (the midline tissue) occurs in response to the force of the Uterus pushing against the abdominal wall, combined with pregnancy hormones (such as Relaxin) that soften ligaments and connective tissue as prepares itself for giving birth.
Diastasis Recti can occur anytime in the last half of pregnancy but is more noticeable after pregnancy, when the abdominal wall is loose and the thinner midline tissue no longer provides adequate support for the torso and internal organs.
A small amount of widening of the midline happens in all pregnancies and is normal. Some postpartum women's midlines close to less than 2 finger-widths spontaneously, but for many, the tissue remains too wide, causing problems. A midline of more than 2 to 2.5 finger-widths (about 2 centimeters) is considered problematic.
Problems that may develop due to Diastasis Recti Diastasis recti reduces the functional strength of the abdominal wall. This can cause: * Lower back pain * Pelvic instability * A bulge in the abdomen (in some cases) * Risk for hernia * No support for internal organs
Signs of Diastasis Recti/Abdominal Separation * A gap of more than 2 1/2 finger-widths (about 2 cm) when the Rectus Abdominis is fully contracted. * The gap does not shrink as you contract your abdominal wall. * You can see a small mound protruding along the length of you midline.
NOTE: Don't panic if you feel a hole in your belly in the first few postpartum weeks! Everyone's connective tissue at the midline is loose after childbirth. As you recover, your midline will slowly regain its former density and elasticity, and the hole will become shallower, and if you do the right exercises, more narrow too. However, if at any time you see a round, hard, or painful bulge protruding from your belly button area or along your midline, consult with your doctor.
Basic TvA Exercises During Pregnancy
1. Abdominal Compressions 2. Abdominal Compressions with Pelvic Tilt
Basic TvA Exercises Postpartum 1. Abdominal Compressions with Midline Splinting for Diastasis Recti 2. Abdominal Compressions with Pelvic Tilt and Splinting for Diastasis Recti
How early after giving birth can I start working on my Transverse Abdominis muscle? Unlike a full body workout that requires 6-8 weeks of postpartum recovery, you can start restrengthening your TvA as soon as you feel comfortable doing so, even when you’re still at the hospital.