You’ve just carried a baby for nine months. You delivered a new life to this world. And while we’re sure you’re basking in the glow of being a new mom and all the exciting and let’s be honest, tiring things that come along with it, your body just doesn’t seem to be bouncing back the way you imagined. You’ve discovered that there are a lot more postpartum “events” than you necessarily imagined. You feel like you should be “bouncing back” but that just hasn’t happened yet.
Well, we’re here to tell you, you are not alone.
What Is Diastasis Recti?
Diastasis Recti is a common condition in pregnant and postpartum women that occurs when the rectus abdominis muscles (or six pack ab muscles) separate during pregnancy from being stretched to make room for the baby. The vertical muscles are separated by a band of tissue called the linea alba that runs down the middle, separating the muscles left and right. As the uterus expands during pregnancy, the linea alba stretches thin and pulls apart. Once the baby is delivered, the elastic band of tissue should heal and come back together. However, when the band is overstretched it can lose some of its elasticity and does not close as much as it should, which is called diastasis recti.
What Are the Symptoms of Diastasis Recti?
Diastasis recti is very common and an average of 60% of women will suffer from it during pregnancy or postpartum. In most women, it will occur during the third trimester because the stomach has to stretch quickly to accommodate the growing baby. However, most women do not notice until they are postpartum.
Common signs and symptoms of diastasis recti postpartum are:
- A visible bulge or “pooch” that protrudes just above or below the belly button
- Softness or jelly-like feeling around your belly button
- Coning or doming when you contract your ab muscles
- Difficulty lifting objects, walking or performing everyday tasks
- Pain during sex
- Pelvic or hip pain
- Low back pain
- Poor posture
- Urine leaking when you sneeze or cough
- Feeling weak in your abdominals
Treatment for Diastasis Recti
If you have any of these symptoms and believe you are suffering from diastasis recti, or just feel like you could use some help postpartum, you might be surprised to know that a chiropractor can be extremely beneficial. Our chiropractors at Kaizo Health work with pre and postnatal women every day to ensure the safest delivery and recovery possible. As mentioned by our own Dr. Kirsten Gilmour, “working with a chiropractor will retrain your body at the right pace so you are able to resume everyday activities quickly and safely. It will also restore joint motion and encourage proper communication with the nervous system.”
Our doctors work with every woman on an individual basis to develop a treatment plan that is unique to their starting point and progression. Kaizo Health’s, Dr. Kirsten Gilmour, is certified as a BirthFit leader, which is an industry leading program that focuses on strength and conditioning, prehab and rehab exercises, and staying at the forefront of training in the motherhood transition. Dr. Gilmour works with all of our clinics to ensure that each doctor is properly trained in helping women have the best prenatal and postpartum experience they can have.
If you are showing signs or symptoms of diastasis recti, we highly encourage you to book an appointment now so that you can work with a doctor to create an individual treatment plan for your care. However, you can also work on strengthening your core at home.
Here are three of the best exercises to try:
Top 3 Exercises for Diastasis Recti
1. Simple Diaphragm Breathing
Diaphragm Breathing is a simple yet extremely important exercise for anyone, not just postpartum women. However, by practicing these breathing techniques women who are suffering from diastasis recti can strengthen the muscles in the abdominals and diaphragm. To practice this simple exercise, follow these steps:
a. Lie flat with one hand on your chest and the other on your stomach
b. Without straining, take a normal breath through your nose breathing all the way into your abdomen, allowing for a 360-degree expansion, increasing the abdominal pressure in all directions.
c. Once the breath has traveled to the abdominals and the belly hand has risen (focus on not having the chest hand rise), release the breath slowly through the mouth to release the air as your belly hand will start to deflate
d. Repeat this process several times
a. Sit on a properly sized exercise ball, pushing your feet against a wall for added stability
b. Using a light weight, or no weight at all, slightly lean back pulling the weight to your chest
c. Once you are at a 45-degree angle, exhale as you push up while lifting the weight above your head
3. Bear hold
a. Start in a tabletop position with your wrists directly under your shoulders and your knees directly beneath your hips. Ensure that your abdominals are engaged and your spine is neutral and flat
b. Slowly and with control, lift your knees off the ground while keeping a flat back and abdominals engaged
c. Hold for 10 to 30 seconds before slowly lowering knees back down
d. Repeat as long as you are able to maintain good form
Get Your Diastasis Recti Treatment at Kaizo Health
Our goal at Kaizo Health is to help pre and postnatal women get back to their goals as quickly and safely as possible. Our doctors will work with you to provide a safe, natural and holistic treatment plan that will help the body recover while also using a combined approach of rehabilitative exercises to regain strength and condition the body.
We have a dedicated team that will work with you and your insurance to make sure you get the most from your benefits so that you can experience relief for as little cost to you as possible. If you are ready, make an appointment to see us now.
Kaizo Health: Experience World Class Treatment for Diastasis Recti
At Kaizo Health, our world-class team of chiropractors in Rockville, MD; Landover, MD; Fort Washington, MD; and Fairfax, VA, practices an evidence-based approach combining chiropractic care and guided, individualized rehabilitative exercises prescription. We provide the treatment and resources you need to recover your health and strength as best-in-class, state-of-the-art auto injury chiropractors. If you are suffering pain from a car accident, don’t hesitate to contact us here. We are here to help! In the meantime, make sure that you check out our blog for more information on the chiropractic field, as well as our free virtual self-assessment chiropractic web app here.