What is recti diastasis?
Recti diastasis happens when the two long abdominal muscles called rectus abdominis separates during pregnancy or with weight gain. The fascial layers between these muscles widen.
27% of women have a abdominal muscle separation in the second trimester and 66% in the third trimester of pregnancy, Boissonnault & Blaschak (1988). In the first 8 weeks postpartum the diastasis reduces significantly and thereafter there is no further closure without exercise intervention, Coldron et al, 2008.
What can be done?
Exercises specifically tagetted at closing the abdominal muscles is a crucial part of the programme. Your physiotherapist can check if these muscles close as you exercise. Taping and bracing have both been shown to help the closure of these muscles.
Why is it improtant to achieve closure of these muscles?
These muscles help in load transference, help to control in segmental and intrapelvic motion and therby help to prevent low back pain and sacro-iliac joint pain.
Sharmine Dewhurst is a Physiotherapist and teaches Pilates classes at Health Space Mona Vale. She runs ante- and post-natal Pilates classes on Fridays at 6pm, with free advice available after class.