Whether you are pregnant already, thinking of becoming pregnant, or have been pregnant before, this fitness tip is important for pre and postnatal fitness. Have you ever noticed a triangle shape when you flex your abdominals during pregnancy?
The reason for this weird shape is simply the separation of the muscles and the thinning of the mid line tissue to allow the stretching of the uterus during pregnancy. As the baby grows, the uterus pushes against the abdominal muscles, essentially pushing them outward to allow for growth. As you tighten your abs they will create a triangle shape around the uterus.
Even though this is normal, there can be a possibility of developing a condition called Diastasis Recti. This is when the separation of the mid line does not properly return to normal post pregnancy. Luckily, this can be avoided and treated with just a little gentle exercise before, during, and after as well as proper nutrition to keep your connective tissue strong.
What is Diastasis Recti?
Diastasis Recti can occur anytime during the last half of pregnancy as well as after pregnancy when the tissue is soft and doesn't provide enough support for internal organs. It can also occur in children and adults with too much abdominal visceral fat.
When women experience this, they have less abdominal strength and stability that can aggravate lower back pain and pelvic stability. Diastasis Recti most often occurs with women who have little to no abdominal muscle tone, pronounced swayback, petite women, or sometimes genetics play into it.
This is NOT a permanent issue.
How do I test to see if I have it?
Lie on your back with your knees bent and feet on the floor. Place one hand behind head and the other on your abdomen, placing your fingertips across your mid line-parallel to your waistline-at the level of your bellybutton.
With your muscles relaxed, gently press your fingers into your abdomen. Roll your upper body into a crunch, making sure your ribcage moves closer to your pelvis. Move your fingers right and left to feel the edges of your rectus abdominis muscles.
If more than 2 1/2 fingers fit between the muscles when contracted, you can assume you have Diastasis Recti. Check out this video to see exactly how to measure.
What can I do to recover?
There are a few simple exercises that you can do post pregnancy that will help the tissue regain its strength and return to normal. Please contact your doctor before performing any exercise before, during, and after your pregnancy. You want to make sure you are not putting too much stress on the mid line whether in exercise or everyday activities
Movement you want to avoid:
Movements where the upper body twists and the arm on that side extends away from the body, such as “triangle pose.”
Exercises that require lying backward over a large exercise ball.
Yoga postures that stretch the abs, such as “cow pose,” “up-dog,” all backbends, and “belly breathing.”
Abdominal exercises that flex the upper spine off the floor or against the force of gravity such as: as crunches, Oblique curls, “bicycles,” roll ups/roll downs, etc.
Pilates mat and reformer exercises that utilize the “head float” position, upper body flexion, or double leg extension.
Any exercise that causes your abdominal wall to bulge out upon exertion.
Lifting and carrying very heavy objects.
Quadruped exercises without adequate abdominal support.
Intense coughing without abdominal support.
From Be Fit Mom
Exercises for Prevention & Recovery-
Keep checking back as I will be posting more on pre and postnatal fitness throughout the summer. If you would like more information on rehabilitation or would like to see some success stories, you can visit Be Fit Mom for more.
Thank you so much for reading! I hope that this post has helped you. Until next time,