Summary: Pregnancy is an incredible journey, but it can also be challenging. A common issue that arises during pregnancy is diastasis recti or abdominal separation. This happens when the two halves of the rectus abdominis muscles stretch apart, leading to a bulge in the middle of the belly. This article will discuss what abs separation pregnancy is, why it happens, how to prevent and treat it, and exercises that can help.
1. What is Abs Separation Pregnancy?
Abdominal separation, also known as diastasis recti, happens during pregnancy when the uterus expands and stretches the abdominal wall muscles. The rectus abdominis muscle runs vertically from the ribs to the pubic bone and is responsible for keeping the organs in the abdominal area in place. When these muscles separate, they leave a gap that causes a noticeable bulge in the center of the abdomen.
While this is a common occurrence during pregnancy, not every woman experiences it. However, those who are pregnant with multiples, have had multiple pregnancies, or carry excess weight are at higher risk of developing abdominal separation.
If left untreated, abdominal separation can lead to back pain, poor posture, constipation, and urinary incontinence. It can also make it challenging to get back into shape after delivery.
2. How to Check for Abs Separation Pregnancy?
The process for checking abs separation pregnancy is relatively straightforward. Lie down on your back with your knees bent and feet flat on the ground. Place your fingers on the midline of your stomach, directly above your belly button. Lift your head off the ground like you are doing a mini-crunch. If you feel a gap between the muscles or a bulge forms, then you likely have abdominal separation. You can also feel for the gap at different places along the midline of your stomach.
If you are unsure if you have abdominal separation, make an appointment with your healthcare provider. They can perform a physical exam to check for separation and guide you on the best course of action to take.
It is essential to note that it is natural to have some separation during the last stages of pregnancy. However, once you deliver, the muscles should naturally come back together. If they do not, then you may need treatment.
3. How to Prevent Abs Separation Pregnancy?
Preventing abs separation pregnancy is possible by taking steps before and during pregnancy. Here are some things you can do to help prevent abdominal separation:
- Avoid any exercises that place unnecessary stress on the abdominal muscles
- Avoid heavy lifting
- Sleep on your left side
- Use proper posture while sitting and standing
- Practice safe and adequate exercise throughout your pregnancy
- Wear appropriate maternity clothing that supports your belly
By implementing these suggestions, you can reduce your risk of developing abdominal separation pregnancy.
4. How to Treat Abs Separation Pregnancy?
If you discover you have abdominal separation pregnancy, there are several treatment options available to you. Although some cases require surgery, the majority of women can treat their separation through exercise, physical therapy, and alternative therapies such as massage.
During your postpartum checkup, ask your healthcare provider what exercise routine would be suitable for you. Starting an exercise program after delivery can help re-strengthen the abdominal muscles and alleviate the symptoms of separation. Some suitable exercises include pelvic tilts, gentle Pilates, and Kegels.
It is crucial not to rush back into exercise, especially if you had a c-section. Give your body plenty of time to heal before beginning any strenuous activities.
5. Exercises to Help with Abs Separation Pregnancy
The exercises below can help strengthen your abdominal muscles and alleviate abdominal separation:
- Pelvic Tilts: Lie on your back on a mat with your knees bent and your feet flat on the ground. Inhale, then exhale and gently lift your pelvis off the ground while engaging your abdominals. Repeat for several reps.
- Bent Knee Fallouts: Lie on your back with your knees bent and feet flat on the ground. Lower one knee to the side while keeping the other foot flat on the ground. Bring the leg back to center and repeat for several reps.
- Wall Angels: Stand with your back against a wall with your arms at your sides. Slowly slide your arms up the wall while keeping them bent at a ninety-degree angle. Then lower your arms and repeat for several reps.
Before starting any exercises, consult with your healthcare provider or a certified personal trainer who has experience working with postpartum women.
Abdominal separation pregnancy is a common occurrence in many pregnant women; however, it can have severe consequences if left untreated. The best course of action is to prevent it from happening by maintaining proper posture, avoiding heavy lifting, and wearing supportive maternity clothing. For those who do develop abdominal separation, there are several treatments available like physical therapy and exercises to help re-strengthen muscles before trying surgery. If you suspect you have abs separation pregnancy, make sure to consult with your healthcare provider to determine the best course of action for you.