Diastasis Recti is a normal phenomenon, in which the two sides of the Rectus Abdominis (the glorious "six-pack" muscle) gets pushed out and sideways, causing its two sides to separate and stretch the connective tissue between them (called: Linea Alba). This happens to lots of women during pregnancy, and often times expecting mother are not aware of this and then wake up to a new reality with abdominal separation after giving birth. Getting yourself familiar with the phenomenon as early as possible and learning the appropriate way to manage your movements during pregnancy is the first and most important thing in Diastasis Recti management, the best gift you could give yourself and your body.
It is important to mention that controlling the development of Diastasis Reacti is not 100% up to you as genetics also plays a role in this, among other reasons (like multiple pregnancies, multiple fetuses etc.), but there are things that you should be paying attention to, that ARE IN YOUR CONTROL, in order to minimize the development of a more severe Abdominal Separation.
Here's what you CAN CONTROL do during pregnancy to minimize the potential for Diastasis Recti:
Don't: 1. Don't crunch. Avoid crunches, sit-ups and any movement that resemble a crunch movement. When you're doing a crunch, you're increasing the inner-pressure of you abdomen, and pushing the load of your center towards the front wall of your core muscles, applying more pressure on them. This may cause an increase in an existing separation, or can create one if you didn't have a separation. Crunches like movements include: Getting up from lying down to a sitting position, getting up from a seated position in which you're a bit leaning back to a standing position, laying back down in a backwards movement. 2. Avoid increasing the inner pressure of your core if not necessary, and if you must do so - make sure to engage your core first. What can increase inner pressure in your abdomen? heavy lifting, pushing, pulling, planking etc. If you need to lift something heavy, like another child at home for instance, always make sure that you are engaging your core first, to give your back, abs and pelvic floor the maximum support possible.
Do: 1. Always get up from your side. Whether you're lying down or sitting on a chair, always pay attention to how you transition from one position to the other. Rolling from your side is always the safest and best approach, as this will lower the amount of pressure you're putting against the front wall of your abdomen. 2. Learn how to engage your core for the times you do need to load your body. In some situations you don't have a choice and you simply must do certain movements, that's life. Knowing how to properly engage your core muscles, will help you in those situations, as you'll be able to execute the movement in a controlled manner that will protect your abdominals. 3. Strengthen your core. Engage in an appropriate postpartum exercise program that will work your core in a safe, appropriate matter, and will help reduce the potential for a more severe separation.
Check out this playlist for safe Prenatal Exercise videos: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLg-MWt6vbHZdnO9reey8BI7GikoB46bDH
Check out this playlist for safe Birth Prep and Relaxation videos: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLg-MWt6vbHZdJURK2EVPobiBI90Ll-lzN