Are any of you familiar with diastasis recti? or split abdominal muscles? I had my 3rd 10 months ago and have a 6 inch gap between the muscles when they are not flexed. This has led to lots of back problems, including spraining my sacrolateral joint in January. I got better and began exercising since then, and lost 27 pounds and am finally down to pre-pregnancy weight. However, the split is affecting my ability to lift, do core exercises, get up and bend down while standing.
Everything online says that the only way to fix is through surgery. I'd like to try everything else possible first. Went to GP and she wasn't even familiar with it. I am not sure who to turn to or what else to try. If anyone has experienced this or has helped someone with this, I'd love to hear about it. Thank you in advance
Mama of 10yo dd, 7 yo ds, and 22 month old ds. No VAX, Anti-Circ, Lactivist, EC, UCB x 2.
First off, diastasis recti is tested with the abdominal wall contracted, not relaxed. Hopefully, your mid line is a lot less than 6 finger-widths
when tested correctly.
You can rehab diastasis with proper exercise. You need to start by building a lot of strength back into your deepest abdominal muscle, your Transverse Abdominis, or TvA. When contracted, the TvA compresses the abdomen. The TvA does not move bone. Then after this muscle has regained adequate strength, you need to do specialized postnatal rehab exercises that train the muscle to function properly as a stabilizer.
If your mid line is very wide, more than 3 finger-widths, you can/should also add manual splinting of your mid line with your hands to assist your TvA. This is especially helpful in the initial rehab phase. (Don't bother with the towel/crunch exercise that you might see recommended, it doesn't work.)
In the mean time, do not perform ANY abdominal exercises that lift/flex the upper body off the floor or against the force of gravity, as these moves will make the condition worse. No crunches, oblique pulses, roll-ups, roll-downs, most Pilates mat work, and yoga moves like “boat pose.”
All women with diastasis should use the “log roll” technique when rising from the floor, or getting out of bed to protect their mid lines.
You got some good advise above. I had a 3 finger split after number 2. Went down to a two finger easily and with work is no totally fine! Yay. Physical therapist, especially those who often work with pregnant and postpartum moms are the people you need to see. Don't get surgery for something that is almost always fixable with proper support for your body and building the muscle strength back.
You can see great videos online about how to check the size of the split properly (with muscles contracted) and things you can do to improve it. Wearing a band can really be helpful.
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