How to Fix Ab Separation After Pregnancy

What is Diastasis Rectus Abdominus? 

Diastasis Rectus Abdominus (DRA) is a separation between the two halves of the rectus abdominus muscle.  Pregnant women may experience this as increased pressure is put on the abdominal wall.  Carrying multiple children, or having more than one pregnancy increases the instance of DRA.

Related: 5 Advancing Core Strength Moves

How Do I Know If I Have DRA? 

Your doctor or physical therapist may diagnose this condition.  Your provider would perform a verbal and physical examination, and the findings would be a space along the midline of your stomach.  You may have low back, pelvic or hip pain, poor posture, feel weak around your midsection, and/or have urinary or bowl symptoms such as incontinence.

What Do I Do About It?

First of all don’t worry!  You are not alone!  Many women experience this condition.  Simply going to the gym, however, may not achieve the results you are after.  Crunches and sit ups put more pressure on an already overstretched muscle.  Your therapist would take a much more gentle approach to start.  Training the deeper muscles of your core, such as the transverse abdominus, can help to support your core more fully, taking pressure off the rectus abdominus.  Postural training, as well as training in appropriate ways to perform your daily activities (such as carrying your baby, or lifting) will be an important part of your therapy.  Moving correctly throughout the day will take pressure off of the rectus abdominus, thus improving your symptoms.  Your therapist may also find certain muscles are tighter than they need to be, causing a muscle imbalance.  Therefore stretching these specific areas may be a part of your treatment.  Education regarding activities to avoid (such as the above mentioned crunches and sit ups) will also be an important part of your rehabilitation.

Related: How to Get A Strong Core

OK, This Makes Sense, Now What?

Call Back in Motion today to get scheduled for your free consultation to talk to a Physical Therapist about your concerns!

By Kelly Mallory, PT, DPT

Back in Motion® Physical Therapy – Portland, Maine

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