Firstly, I am sorry that my blog posts are a bit few & far between lately
Busy times means that this blog takes a while to get around to updating sometimes- but when I feel passionate about a subject I would like to write about, eventually I will
After I had my twins 8 years ago, my abdominals separated to an extent that the physiotherapist said he doubted they would ever knit back together.
Why a check for DRA (Diastasis Recti Abdominis) is not routinely performed at the 6-week postnatal check I am not sure- but I like to check any postnatal 1:1 students for this, before beginning an exercise routine with them.
Research appears to show that all women will experience some degree of abdominal separation at least at the end of their pregnancy (I was originally taught that some just stretch to accommodate a growing belly and therefore come back more easily).
I do know I have seen women with no separation after pregnancy (yet still somewhat lax connective tissue in the linea alba), some with a slight separation, and some (such as myself) with a large gap.
How this affects women
Basically, you can still look pregnant, despite otherwise being in fairly good shape.
Whilst obsessing over our postpartum tummies is not necessary- it’s good to know whether you have a separation before beginning to exercise again- to ensure the program is healing a separation rather than enhancing it (which will lead to further weakening).
Diastasis recti (also known as abdominal separation) is commonly defined as a gap of roughly 2.7 cm or greater between the two sides of the rectus abdominis muscle.
This can even happen to men or even women with poor posture, or when overweight.
If you sit back in a chair and slouch, notice the pressure on the centre of your tummy – that pressure could eventually lead to a separation, so men or women could end up with this so called “mummy tummy” at any age (Mat lifeguard).
Bet that made you sit up straight eh
Why is this important
If you have an abdominal separation and start doing common core exercises such as crunches and planks- rather than flattening your belly and giving you a toned honed 6-pack, this can make the issue worse.
There are plenty of videos on YouTube about correct exercises to do to help heal a separation- before starting crunches. I have looked at a lot of them and these are the three I find most helpful and send to my students to watch after birth.
The first is the easiest to watch But the second two (despite being a bit full-on for early morning watching) have better exercise information than I have found elsewhere.