During pregnancy, the body undergoes a multitude of changes to support and nourish a baby’s growth. Often times, these changes are temporary and women can restore the function and appearance of their abdomen through diet and exercise.
However, one of the most common lingering effects is diastasis recti, which involves the abdominal muscles.
So, what exactly is diastasis recti post-pregnancy and what should women know about this condition that can impact their figures and core strength.
What Is Diastasis Recti?
Diastasis recti is a condition in which the rectus abdominis muscles separate and result in a weakened core. It often occurs during and after pregnancy and affects between 33-60 percent of pregnant women.
What Causes Diastasis Recti During Pregnancy?
During pregnancy, the abdomen expands to accommodate the growing fetus and can lead to a marked distance between the two sides of the rectus abdominis muscles. So much so, that they separate into a left and a right portion and can no longer contract properly.
It’s important to note that a gap of one-to-two finger widths is normal between these muscles. However, in cases of diastasis recti, patients can experience a distance of two or more finger widths.
What Are the Symptoms Associated With Diastasis Recti?
Approximately 45 percent of women have abdominal separation six months postpartum.
They may only become aware of the issue after noting some of the signs of diastasis recti, which include a weakened core, bulging belly that does not respond to diet and exercise, and lower back pain.
What Are the Risk Factors for This Condition?
Researchers have identified several factors that may increase a woman’s chances of diastasis recti post-pregnancy. These include:
- Carrying a large baby
- Carrying more than one baby
- Having a narrow pelvis
- Having more than one child
- Having children close together
- Being 35 or older when you get pregnant
How Can Diastasis Recti Be Treated Post Pregnancy?
To start, patients can attempt to improve core strength by working on their posture, which alleviates pressure on diastasis recti, performing exercises that engage pelvic floor and transverse abdominis muscles, and participating in strength conditioning.
In addition, a non-surgical treatment like Emsculpt, which burns fat and builds muscle, has been clinically proven to reduce diastasis recti without anesthesia, incisions, or downtime.
In fact, Emsculpt can be performed in an office setting in 30 minutes.
Finally, surgery is an option, but should only be considered after trying other methods of repair.
For more information about diastasis recti post-pregnancy, please call our office today to schedule a consultation.