Abdominal separation, known as ‘diastasis recti’, is a separation of the abdominal muscles that can happen as a result of pregnancy.
It may feel like your abdominal muscles have been widened apart in the middle (usually felt somewhere above your belly button) and you might feel your tummy sticking through or a bit of a bulge.
About two-thirds of women have diastasis recti, most common with multiple pregnancies or high birth weight babies. It is important to be aware of as it can be a cause of lower back pain, poor posture, bloating or constipation in post-partum women.
But how can it be avoided or treated? And how can a Chiropractor help?
During pregnancy being mindful of gently switching on abdominals by 20-30% throughout daily activities, avoiding straining, and rolling onto side to assist hoping out of bed are a few helpful at home tips. Then, after birth there are certain activities or exercises that can assist in bringing together the separation. A pregnancy Chiropractor will usually give you a thorough assessment the first time you come in post-partum, including abdominal separation testing. From there gentle core strengthening and stability exercises, or activities that target those areas can be given, if further assistance in needed they may refer you to a Women’s Health Physiotherapist or an Exercise Physiologist to make sure you get any additional support you need. The chiropractor will also focus on getting your body feeling comfortable and moving well, through joint adjustments, trigger pointing, massage and other techniques to ensure you can get back to movement and achieve the desired results from the exercises given. This assessment/treatment can be done at any stage of a woman’s postpartum journey, even after caesareans (all assessments and treatments are tailored to you); some ladies prefer to come in straight away, others like to wait a few weeks, but the good news is we can see you whenever you feel comfortable.