Abdominal muscles play such important roles in human anatomy. They take part in respiration (breathing), work together with the back muscles to maintain an upright posture, protect the internal organs, increase abdominal pressure in normal body functions such as sneezing, coughing, lifting defecating and micturating. That means they are constantly working hard. There are four muscles in the abdomen, viz Rectus Abdominis, Transversus Abdominis, Internal and External Oblique muscles.
Diastasis recti, also known as “abdominal separation” is a condition that sees a separation of the left and right fibres of the Rectus Abdominis. It may occur in children, older men, and woman who’ve had one or multiple pregnancies. Our focus is on women who’ve had one or more pregnancies. During pregnancy, the abdominal muscles expand to accommodate the growing uterus. When the baby is delivered, the uterus contracts , giving room for the abdominal muscles to also return to their original state as well, including the Rectus Abdominis. However, this isn’t always the case. The left and right bands sometimes remain separated. this separation is called Diastasis Recti.
This separation will have a physical appearance of being pregnant. Most women will immediately resume abdominal exercises such as crunches, situps post-delivery. However, a proper assessment needs to be done to rule out or ascertain the presence of Diastasis Recti. Exercises such as listed earlier will increase intraabdominal pressure, thereby leading to the separation getting larger. I have met clients who have complained about the inefficacy of abdominal strengthening exercises. Until Diastasis Recti is corrected, the “mummy tummy” will remain.
How Do I Check for Diastasis Recti?
Please see the video below for a live demonstration
What Do I Do Now?
There are exercises prescribed by Physical Therapists that will help close the gap.
Diastasis Recti is the separation of the two sides of the foremost abdominal muscles the rectus abdominis. It is commonly seen in children, pot-bellied men and woman who’ve had one or more pregnancies.
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