where trunk flexion is required (i.e crunches and sit-ups). There are essentially two halves to this muscle that are separated londitudinally by the linea alba– a thin connective tissue similar to a tendon. This small separation via tendon is the “weakest link” in this front part of the abdominal wall and can be torn with excessive stresses placed upon it. The two populations where this issue is seen the most are infants (incomplete development of this muscle/tendon) and pregnant women (due to stress from a growing uterus and enlarging abdomen). This problem tends to occur more in multiparous (more than one pregnancy) women, those over the age of 35, “multiples” pregnancy (twins or more), high birth weight pregnancies, and even those who perform excessive abdominal exercises during the first trimester.
What do we do about it? If you are currently pregnant and have a diastasis recti I am truly sorry- there are no exercises that will help you while pregnant. Unfortunately it’s a situation
you’ve just gotta ride out. There are, however, some wonderful braces/bands that you can purchase that will make your experience INCREDIBLY more comfortable. These are designed to support your growing belly and take a lot of the load off of your abdomen. (I’ll put the ones I recommend to my patients in our T&T Store– you can check out my favorite one right here). Unfortunately there’s just not much you can do until Junior gets here, but once he/she shows up there are some specific exercises that have been proven to greatly reduce the amount and the effects of the diastasis.
Diastases recti is actually a very manageable condition if treated correctly. The most effective treatment is increasing strength in the abdominal/core wall while minimizing contraction of the rectus abdominis muscle. Give this routine try and please feel free to contact me with any questions you may have.
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By Jared Beckstrand