Abdominal Diastasis and Pelvic Floor

Original writing by Kim Vopni

Lately there has been a lot of talk about the changes in the body of the woman in the postpartum , especially of the bulging belly, a consequence of the abdominal diastasis . For many women it is simply an aesthetic issue, however, the diastasis of rectus has a great impact on the health of women, especially in pelvic health. If you suffer from abdominal diastasis, it is important that you know what it is, why it happens and why it is important to rehabilitate it. Keep reading, this information will also help you recover!

WHAT IS ABDOMINAL DIASTASIS?

It is the separation of the rectus muscles by the middle line. That is, our abs are separated leaving a space in the middle.

BECAUSE IT HAPPENS?

Abdominal diastasis can occur for several reasons, the most common being pregnancy and childbirth . The forward pressure that occurs in the abdomen with the growth of the baby generates a continuous stretching and pressure of the connective tissue of the area that can cause the straight abs to lose their “alignment”. In addition, in pregnancy there are also many postural and hormonal changes that contribute to the creation of this space as well.

ABDOMINAL DIASTASIS AND ITS RELATIONSHIP WITH PELVIC FLOOR

Many women do not feel comfortable with the appearance of their abdomen after pregnancy and try to improve with diets, traditional abdominals and cosmetics. These tactics are used to treat the aesthetic aspect, which is the main motivator, but it is important to know that abdominal diastasis is a problem rather than aesthetic .

The two straight abs join from the sternum to the symphysis of the pubis (pubis). Due to its fixation points in the pelvis, a gap between them and weakness in the connective tissue, directly affects the pelvic cavity and the pelvic floor musculature. In fact, 52% of women with pelvic floor dysfunction have diastasis of recti.

Science says that 100% of pregnant women will have abdominal diastasis in their third trimester (Mota et al 2014), and that some women also stretch abdominal muscles and lose muscle strength (Brauman 2008). So it is logical to think that many of the women who try to get rid of their postpartum belly have to pay attention to their pelvic floor as well. 

Rehabilitating abdominal diastasis is important because if left untreated it can contribute to back pain, constipation, and as we have already said, to pelvic floor dysfunction. The good news is that it’s never too late to work on it, although the sooner recovery begins, the better the result will be.  

Postpartum body with abdominal diastasis. Photograph by Jade Beall http://www.abeautifulbodyproject.org/

Postpartum body with abdominal diastasis. Photograph by Jade Beall http://www.abeautifulbodyproject.org/

HOW TO CURE ABDOMINAL DIASTASIS?

The abdominal diastasis is only “cured” or rehabilitated alone in the first 8 weeks postpartum. Beyond this time intervention is necessary (Coldron et al 2008). And what does intervention mean? Work of posture and alignment, exercises of abdominal gymnastics . These exercises also improve the pelvic floor dysfunctions, so they are ideal in the postpartum period.

The use of the abdominal girdle in the first 8 weeks after delivery is a good way to help the abdomen and pelvic muscles and helps to provide the way to close the pelvis temporarily while exercising the muscles to rehabilitate the area. After 8 weeks after delivery, the girdle may still be useful in some women, but not always. The best thing will be to go to a pelvic floor specialist to evaluate the case.

Although often considered independently, the pelvic floor and abdominal muscles are intimately connected and deserve more attention than they usually receive.

About Kim Vopni

The Doula-Fitness. Author of the book “Ready to push – What your abdomen and pelvic floor want you to know after pregnancy and delivery.” Owner of Pelvienne Welness and Cofounder of Bellies.

Kim is a mother of two children and certified in professional fitness and how doula. It combines help as a doula with the principles of fitness to help its clients optimize their rehabilitation.