Diastasis Recti is described as the complete or partial separation of the rectus abdominal muscle, caused by the widening of the linea alba which finally gives way to the mechanical stresses of a developing pregnancy. In case your wondering, the linea alba is a tendon of fibres that holds together either side of the abdominal walls.
Diastasis Recti is most common during the third trimester and immediately after birth (postpartum). The following conditions can cause diastasis recti:
- Maternal Hormones: Estrogen, progresterone and relaxin all cause the connective tissue to become looser and less supportive.
- Physical Stress: Increased pressure within the abdominal cavity can be cause by a number of factors including: fetus size, number of fetuses (twins or more), placenta size, amount of amniotic fluid and weight gain. Keep in mind also that your abdominal muscles are designed to function in a vertical direction, shortening and lengthening, however pregnancy needs require the abdominal wall to expand horizontally. This will cause strain in new areas of your abdominals.
- Weak Abdominals: Abdominal muscles that are not trained or strengthened, before or during pregnancy, may not be ready to handle the stresses placed on them. They may give way leading to diastasis recti.
In order to avoid this discomfort during and/or after pregnancy, it is important to: (1) take part in an exercise program that is geared towards strengthening your abdominal wall, (2) keep track of your food intake to ensure that your weight gain is minimal and/or equal to what is recommended by your doctor and (3) keep track of your progress and be in tune with your body so that you can recognise any abnormality.
Check back to "FanTasie Pre & Post Natal Fitness" for a list of exercise that are safe and effective to strengthen your abdominals.