There’s a Hole in My Abs, Dear Liza, Dear Liza…
A common occurrence in pregnancy is the separation of the abdominal muscles due to the increasing size of the fetus and the relatively small area in which it grows. Diastasis Recti can affect anyone no matter your size or fitness level. It often becomes a nagging pain in which there is little to no relief. Do you have separated ab muscles? This checklist may help you to find out.
- There is a ridge that runs from under the breast bone and goes past the belly button, the line may look deeper when you engage in exercise or any movement in which the abdominal muscles are key.
- Frequent back or abdominal pain when exercising or standing for long periods of time. The abdominal pain will feel like a pulling in the middle of your stomach.
- Women who have had multiple pregnancies may show more signs of discomfort in the early stages of pregnancy, the top of the uterus may be visible in the space between the abdominal muscles.
- Have you had twins or higher order multiples?
Dealing with Diastasis Recti can be challenging. But there are many exercises that can help to correct this condition. If you have 15 minutes a day you may be able to reverse the effects of Diastasis Recti and be on your way to feeling better. So what can you do? Here are some quick tips.
Lay on the floor as if you are going to do crunches, place your hands on the abdominal wall and push the two sides of your abs together. While doing this gently lift your head and shoulders from the floor. This will hurt, trust me, but it may save you some pain in the long run.
Lay on the floor with knees up, extend first your left leg and hold for a few seconds, slowly pull it back in and repeat with the right leg. You should be able to feel your muscles contract. I seem to have more pain on the right side than the left and you may also experience this. Doing bicycles while lying on the floor also helps especially if you raise your upper body in a half sitting position.
The splinted crunch has also been shown to hasten improvement. Do this by wrapping a towel around your abdomen pulling tight on each side while doing a crunch.
Wearing a postpartum band after delivery can urge your muscles back together, as can breastfeeding.
In severe cases surgery may be needed to sew the muscles back together. If you are planning on having more children this is something that you may want to wait on. Physical Therapy may also be helpful in some situations.
I have seen vast improvement in my abdominal muscles from doing these exercises. If you don’t see any improvement and you are experiencing a lot of pain it could be time to call your doctor, so you can discuss the next steps to righting this condition.