Observing bulging of the belly along with discomfort and/or pain, during or after pregnancy, can possibly be the result of a condition known as Diastasis Recti Abdominis.
What is it?
Diastasis Recti Abdominis is the separation of the Rectus Abdominis muscle and impairment along the linea alba of our abdominal region. The separation presents itself as >2.5 finger width. While we all enjoy our abdominal muscles for their appearance, they have many responsibilities in our everyday life such as postural support, assistance with overall movement, assistance with breathing, and protecting our internal organs. The separation of these muscles can lead to all kinds of problems. Low back pain, pelvic pain, and incontinence are just a few. Also pelvic organ prolapse, pain during intercourse, a four month pregnancy appearance and limitations in your everyday physical activities. A few risk factors for Diastasis Recti Abdominis include increased intrabdominal pressure, c-sections, and multiple pregnancies. This condition does not only occur in women but can also occur in men. Men, your risk factors can be a weaken core, improper lifting techniques, and heavy lifting.
Treatment for this condition should include strength training of the pelvic floor muscles and specific abdominal muscles. Back bracing in the beginning stages of therapy, can also help. The correct exercises can significantly decrease the separation resulting from Diastasis Recti Abdominis. It is important to avoid exercises that cause bulging of the abdominal wall, raising of lower limbs while laying on your back, sit ups, crunches, heavy lifting or intense coughing. Reduction in the size of separation can take months to even a year to resolve. Some individuals recovery spontaneously.
Physical therapy can help!! Work with a licensed physical therapist to learn safe and effective exercises to improve your pregnancy, labor and delivery, as well as postpartum. To schedule with Hohman Rehab please click here. Our therapists would love to go on this journey with you!