Abdominal Muscle Separation

Have you noticed a "ridge" bulging down the centre of your abdomen as you sit up?

Can you feel a gap down the centre of your abdominal muscles?

Do you feel your abdomen is weak and stretched following the birth of your baby?

During pregnancy as your baby grows your abdominal muscles stretch.  Whilst a small amount of widening is normal, two thirds of pregnant women have some degree of abdominal separation.  This is called DRAM (Diastasis of Rectus Abdominis Muscle).
 
Your abdominal muscles help support your back so when these muscles are stretched and weakened the support for your back is reduced and you are at increased risk of back pain. The aim in pregnancy and the immediate postnatal period is to not use these muscles so the amount of stretch is minimised and recovery is faster.
 
Did you know that sit ups can worsen your abdominal separation?  It is therefore essential you understand what activities or exercise is safe and which ones to avoid.

Rectus Diastasis: Separation of the rectus abdominus muscle

Common symptoms:

  • A gap down the centre of your abdominal muscles

  • A “ridge” bulging when you sit up

  • Loose abdominal muscles

  • Low back pain

  • Poor posture

 
Possible causes:

  • Stretching as your baby grows

  • Pregnancy hormones

  • Large baby or twins

  • Multiple pregnancies

  • Repetitive heavy lifting / abdominal use

  • Straining with constipation

  • Chronic cough

  • Genetic tendency to stretching easily

  • Excessive weight gain before or during pregnancy

  • Some forms of exercise

 
What can be done?

  • We are specifically trained to make a thorough assessment and design a treatment program to meet your personal needs 

  • Strengthening your core muscles whilst resting the abdominal muscle which has the gap

  • Modified exercise program to aid recovery and minimise aggravation

  • Education on reducing aggravating factors and self management techniques

  • Possible use of abdominal support to aid recovery