Diastasis Recti & Pregnancy
Are you pregnant with Diastasis Recti and want answers?
You are in the right place. The Tummy Team specializes in the treatment of Diastasis Recti in pregnant women.
Our Prenatal Core Training program that treats diastasis recti during pregnancy while teaching proper upright core activation, postural alignment, functional integration of the core throughout pregnancy, and strategies for effective pushing that minimizes pressure against the core and pelvic floor. If you are planning a Cesarean birth, we can also help you prepare the abdominal muscles for surgery and recovery.
First, let’s define Diastasis Recti
Diastasis Recti (DR): a separation of the abdominal muscles caused by excessive stretching of the connective tissue that runs down the midline of the abdominal wall.
What does it look/feel like?
Here’s how clients describe what it feels like to live with Diastasis Recti during pregnancy:
- you start showing as soon as you get pregnant
- your belly could be shaped more like a torpedo
- you might notice tenting or bulging down the middle of your tummy when you cough, sit up or get out of bed.
- your belly button might pop out
Second, did you know that Diastasis Recti is actually a symptom of a bigger issue called Functional Core Weakness?
Diastasis recti does not simply occur because you are pregnant. It is the result of a larger problem known as functional core weakness. These conditions contribute to many complications in pregnancy, labor, delivery, and birth recovery. So what exactly is functional core weakness?
Prenatal Functional Core Weakness (FCW): the inability of the muscles of the core to effectively function and support the body for the physical demands of pregnancy, labor, delivery, and birth recovery without pain or dysfunction.
Consider if you are also experiencing some of these symptoms of Prenatal Functional Core Weakness?
- achy weak low back
- you could have had very difficult previous deliveries
- past pregnancies with poor fetal alignment
- your back or pelvis feels like it might “go out”
- you could have achy or sharp pain in your pubic bone
- you might have sciatica pain
- your pelvic floor might feel weak and unsupportive
- you may struggle with constipation and have to bear down quite a bit to go
- stop and start (prodromal) labor in the past
*Although this may look like a list of pretty typical pregnancy complaints, it does not have to be this way. All of these symptoms indicate functional core weakness and risk for diastasis recti.
If you are experiencing any of the above symptoms, take some time to take our short quiz to determine how severe your prenatal core issues are.
So how did this happen?
There are several reasons that people develop diastasis recti. The most common cause is a muscle imbalance between the internal corset muscles of your core and the external bending muscles of your core combined with chronic postures and activities to bulge and push out on the connective tissue that runs down the center of the abdominal wall.
Over time, this habitual outward pressure makes the connective tissue of your abdominal wall (the linea alba) weaker and more susceptible to stretching, causing that midline separation between the right and left sides of the abdominal wall.
Though pregnancy is not the cause of Diastasis Recti, prenatal women are especially susceptible to this condition because hormones like relaxin create an increased elasticity in the linea alba. (Learn more about the influence of hormones on healing diastasis recti). Unfortunately, many women begin their pregnancies with a functionally weak core and the growing uterus adds to the pressure against an already weakened abdominal wall, making diastasis seem inevitable. However, Diastasis Recti is totally treatable, even preventable, during pregnancy.
Take a moment to check yourself for a diastasis.
Understanding how untreated functional core weakness impacts Optimal Fetal Alignment
One of the functions of the core is to support the uterus during pregnancy and promote optimal positioning for the baby for delivery. When the core is too weak to provide the needed support, the uterus tends to tilt forward. This increases the pressure against the linea alba, contributing to Diastasis Recti, and affects overall fetal alignment.
Poor fetal alignment impacts the mother by creating added stress on the lower back, upper back, abdominals, hips, and pelvic floor. Poor fetal alignment impacts the baby as contractions can be less effective and labor can stall, creating a lengthy and ineffective pushing phase that can contribute to fetal distress. Poorly aligned baby and a weak core can make pushing difficult forcing mom to hold her breath, curl her body and bear down. Unfortunately, this continues to place pressure on the abdominal wall and pelvic floor. Prolonged and difficult labor and delivery can result in an increased risk of distress to the baby, perineal tearing, postpartum prolapse, urinary incontinence, and even more severe diastasis recti. (Learn how to improve fetal alignment). A strong core during pregnancy creates less pain for mom, less stress during labor, and reduces the chance of diastasis recti and the related issues.
Keep in mind, you do not have to have a severe Diastasis to have significant Prenatal Functional Core Weakness.
How do we fix this?
No, surgery is not the only answer or even the best answer, and you don’t need to wait until you’re done having babies!
Diastasis Recti and Functional core weakness are both very treatable conditions. The Tummy Team specializes in a unique approach to Functional Core Rehabilitation that is very effective during pregnancy. We help you systematically rebuild the internal core muscles while retraining your postural alignment and creating opportunities to use your core muscles effectively in all of your daily life movements throughout the stages of your pregnancy. We offer effective online treatment options at a reasonable price that you can do from the privacy of your own home on your own schedule.