You might be thinking "diastasis what now?". Don't stress - it's a complicated phrase all to say that there is a gap in between your six pack abs.
Symptoms can range from a dome forming when you're getting up from bed to people asking you "so when is baby due?" even though you delivered six months back. It is a condition that can affect a postpartum mom's self esteem more than she ever expected. But there is hope. There is a future where your tummy feels like it's a part of your body and not a tender, uncontrollable body part.
When physiotherapists are assessing for diastasis recti we want to check the width and the depth. Different exercises are used to assess these but a simple one that you can do at home is to lie on your back with bent knees and lift up your head into a mini crunch and to feel in between your abs. Is there a gap? How many fingers wide is it? How deep is it?
There can be a gap in between the muscles above or below your navel. It can be 1-7 fingers wide and up to 5 fingers in depth. It normally happens over the linea alba line as that is where is the tissue is stretched.
Studies show that most women have diastasis recti abdominis (DRA) at 40 weeks pregnant. Other risk factors include a high BMI, diabetes and pregnancies with multiples (twins and triplets).
How to Prevent it?
Modify your activity during pregnancy and postpartum to put less stress on the sensitive abdominal tissues (EG log rolling to the side)
Focus on 360 breathing and exhaling on exertion (when you have to lift heavier items)
What to do if coning or doming are seen?
Please book with your nearest pelvic floor physiotherapist. Each person will need specific exercises depending on their strength level and how well the core muscles tolerate each exercise. There is a lot of hope with diastasis recti - even years later!
Ideally the physio should work on improving the depth of the diastasis before the width. This will ensure that your core is strong in all activities!