Abdominal separation or diastasis recti is the separation of the two parallel bands of muscle in your belly. This is common in pregnant women, and luckily often heals on its own, or with the help of exercises, after pregnancy.
This condition is not only experienced by pregnant moms, but also by men, as well as women who’ve never been pregnant. You may be wondering how you’d know if you have abdominal separation, how to tell if it’s bad and what you can do to help your tummy return to normal.
How do I know if I have diastasis recti?
If your muscles have separated, you may notice a bulge in your abdomen where the two muscles have pulled apart. In addition to this, you may notice a sore lower back, constipation and bloating. Women who are expecting multiples or women who have been pregnant more than once (especially if the pregnancies are close together) are more likely to experience muscle separation.
There is a way you can check if you have diastasis recti yourself. Lie flat on your back and then sit up slightly, engaging your core muscles. Put your fingers just above your belly button on the middle of your stomach. If you feel like the gap between your fingers is more than three fingers, then you probably have diastasis recti. However, this is not an exact science but rather a way to gauge if you may have a problem.
How can I correct my diastasis recti?
If you have a smaller separation, it may go away on its own or with the help of exercises, however, bad cases may need the help of a physio or even surgery.
If you have a gap, chances are it’ll close up one or two months after birth. However, certain exercises may help the gap close up quicker. That being said, be careful of what exercise you do, some fitness practices make it worse. If you are worried about it, it’s best to talk to a health care professional and they can help you make the best choice for you and your body.