Pregnancy is a period associated with many changes that put the female body to the test. The third trimester is characterized by significant changes in female physique due to weight gain of the fetus, on the one hand, and the preparation of the body for the birth process, on the other. During this period, the growing uterus stretches the abdominal muscles, gradually spreading them to the left and right halves. After wear and tear, the uterus begins to contract, followed by the abdominal muscles, which come together again and form a single abdominal wall. Sometimes, however, the abdominal muscles remain unnaturally spaced apart as a result of the relaxation of the connective tissue between them. The process is associated with loss of tone and disrupts the integrity of the tissues that make up the anterior abdominal wall. This condition is called rectal diastasis (diastasis of the abdominal muscles) and is essentially a distance of the abdominal muscles in the area of the linea alba more than 2.3 cm.
The main cause of diastasis of the abdominal muscles is considered to be increased intra-abdominal pressure. Other prerequisites for its occurrence may be: weak pelvic muscles, impaired posture, difficult and irregular bowel movements, poor muscle tone, late or multiple pregnancy. The condition should not be classified as a cosmetic problem as it can lead to pelvic floor problems (prolapse, urinary incontinence) or hernia formation in the area of diastasis.
Diagnosis of diastasis
You can do this yourself at home. For this purpose it is necessary to lie on your back with bent knees and feet on the floor. Place the left hand behind the back of the head. Now place the diagnosing right palm on the abdomen with your fingers on the linea alba. Palpate in the area of the linea alba, activating the abdominal muscles. To do this, lift your head, pointing your chin to your chest. If you feel a gap of at least two finger widths between the muscles, then you have diastasis. Another indicator of diastasis is protrusion in its area during physical exertion, requiring contraction of the abdominal muscles and retraction of the protrusion spontaneously after muscle relaxation.
Prevention and treatment
Prevention of rectal diastasis consists in maintaining good muscle tone and elasticity of the body, as well as normal weight before pregnancy.
Treatment of rectal diastasis consists of a set of physical exercises to strengthen the abdominal wall, pelvic floor, posture correction, diaphragmatic breathing and building a diet. Here it is important to emphasize that the exercises should activate the abdominal muscles without increasing the intra-abdominal pressure. Exercises such as plank, abdominal press and others increase intra-abdominal pressure, aggravate the problem and should be avoided. To activate the pelvic floor, I advise you to use a personal simulator, as there is feedback and you can control and train in different modes, monitoring the process in real time. The market offers such. It trains easily and comfortably by connecting to a smartphone. Posture correction exercises are an important part of recovery. The problem of the abdominal wall cannot and should not be considered in isolation. It affects the statics of the whole body. Therefore, it is right to include at least exercises for pelvic stability, ie to activate the gluteal muscles and to relax the deep flexors of the hip joints. Building a diet aims to support loose connective tissue in the area of diastasis, as well as to eliminate constipation and regulate bowel movements in order to prevent an increase in intra-abdominal pressure.
In conclusion, dealing with diastasis of the abdominal muscles is not an easy process. It requires a professional look and selection of exercises, which after consultation with a physiotherapist you can safely do at home.