Does anyone know what haivng diastasis means for future pregnancies? HOw will it effect a pregnancy if it is not corrected before a new pregnancy starts? Does it increase any specific risks (I assume hernia, but what about need for a c/s?)? If you become pregnant while you have diastasis recti, can it be corrected before you are too far along for it to do any possile damage? Thanks a bunch! I'm asking in this forum because there are midwives around. If you think my questions would do better in the regular "birth and beyond" forum, please let me know!
As for future pregnancies, it is more likely to occur again, and it will fix itself again too. The best course of action is to allow it to heal before conceiving again so you're not trying to pack-pedal once you are pregnant. I hope this helps; I'm just going off of personal experience.
Diastasis is a separation of the two halves of the rectus abdominis muscle in the middle of our belly that sometimes occurs during pregnancy. You can check for it by lying on your back with your knees bent. (If you start to feel faint while on your back, roll to your left side; then use pillows under your shoulders to prop yourself up.) Place your fingertips 1 to 2 inches below your bellybutton, fingers pointing toward your feet. Lift your head as high as you can and see if you feel a ridge protruding from the midline of your abdomen - that's diastasis. If you have it, take care to not exacerbate the separation when you do abdominal exercises.
Try a modified ab crunch: If you are past your first trimester, prop yourself up with pillows so your shoulders are higher than your belly. Wrap a sheet or towel (folded lengthwise to about 8 inches wide) around your waist and criss-cross it in front. Don't knot it. Grasp and pull the ends up and outward at 45-degree angles as you contract your abdominal muscles, exhale and raise your head. Do not lift your shoulders. Diastasis often heals after childbirth. If yours does not, talk to your OB-GYN.
I had quite a few people tell me to "call my doctor". No idea what they could do now. Not that I would let them try to fix it while pregnant.
Mom to two perfect kids surrogate to two sweetpotatos born 4.21.11
I love someone with ataxia telangiectasia http://www.atcp.org
I had a measureable diastis and w/ pg #2, and then at 37 weeks, pop!--my bellybutton herniated.
During the last couple weeks of my pregnancy with my pronounced diastis, my pelvis ached, and I assumed it was loosening ligaments and pubic symphisis stuff...no, actually, it was just the tremedous pressure of baby and separated abs. It was quite unpleasant, and my mws advised against lifting my arms up (i.e., putting clothes on the line, reaching cereal off a high shelf, etc.) as that can exacerbate the discomfort.
At 4 months pp I got the hernia surgically repaired, and got a referral to a physical therapist.
I encourage any woman with separated abs to get a referral to a physical therapist, to learn some special techniques to close the spread, if it isn't closing on its own during the first few months post-partum.
Having less-than-functional ab muscles will put undue strain on your back mucsles and quite possibly the pelvic floor muscles. The abs and back muscles work together to create one's core strength, and when that is compromised (i.e., during pregnancy it will always be compromised 'cause the abs always spread) poor body mechanics and underutilization of muscles will put the everyday strain of walking upright on other muscle groups.
The benefit of a physcial therapist is having a knowledgeable expert instruct you on how to do appropriate exercises. For example, I had to do special ab-strength work lying on my back, blowing into a balloon for a few weeks, then use a Theraband around my legs, do this, do that, etc....all more sophisitcated than gentle crunches or modified sit-ups. This prevented my back muscles from doing the work, or from using the stronger "six-pack" ab muscles; in my case, I needed to utilize a set of ab muscles below the belly button. It also caused me to do the exercises without using my pelvic floor muscles or my diaphragm.
Comforts of Home Midwifery
I had studied some on this during my schooling but not a whole lot. I loaned out my best book on this and it is now in Hawaii vacationing with some of my other books. Anyway, I have some questions on this. Does it actually form during pregnancy or labor? How can you tell if it is forming? I am due in January and occasionally I get pain in my abdomen. I was wondering if it was the muscle starting to separate or just some other weird pregnancy pain.
To tell if you have it, lay on your back and lift your head while feeling between your stomach muscles, late in pregnancy, you will likely find a soft space running vertically along your stomach. I'd start at the belly button and run my hand up or down.
With mine, I had no pain associated with the separation, but I don't know if it's common to have pain or not.
Elizabeth Noble's childbearing years exercise book talks about this. After the birth make sure to exercise correctly and know how to do things to make it close correctly. Regular crunches make it worse.
Missionary, birth-worker, midwifery student
Mama to DD (9yr), DS (3yr), & UC twin DDs (5yr)
Comforts of Home Midwifery