What is Rectus Diastasis?
Everyone is atomically made up with a group of muscles we call our Rectus Abdomonis, or simply know to many of us as our “6 Pack”. Although for some of us it may be hidden, effectively this is the window dressing on a group of muscles which provide stability and support for the spine and torso. These abdominals are separated by a connective tissue which runs down the middle of our torso. This tissue is called the Linea Alba. During pregnancy a large amount of the hormone Relaxin is produced to allow the body to adapt to changes occurring in pregnancy. The relaxin works by “relaxing connective tissues”. This allows the abdomen to expand and accommodate the growing uterus.
However pregnancy bumps come in all shapes and sizes, and for a small percentage of pregnant mums, the internal pressure placed on the Linea Alba can be excessive. When this happens the Linea Alba tears, causing a Rectus Diastasis – Separation of Stomach Muscles. This is not always obvious during the latter stages of pregnancy when pressure on the abdomen is at it’s greatest. It becomes more apparent 6 – 8 weeks postnatally when the uterus has shrunk and returned to normal size. Many mums notice this as a raised ridge of tummy (traveling from their rib cage down to their pubic bone), as the begin to sit up from lying. For many it will be worse around their belly button, as this naturally protrudes through the abdominal wall providing a weak spot.
It is possible to correct this separation with the correct guidance and exercises. A great way to start is to begin by building up pelvic floor awareness, and strength. The next step would be to begin by gentle TVA activation. This is not an overnight fix and progress will depend on the degree of separation and your ability to complete a set of exercises regularly. If you feel you have an Abdominal Separation or are unsure, please contact me to discuss.