PelviCare provides specialist after-pregnancy physiotherapy treatments to women who are suffering from diastasis recti.
This typically postpartum condition - which is sometimes known as ‘tummy gap’ or ‘baby tummy’ - is more common than you think. In fact, it is estimated that up to two thirds of mums experience overstretched muscles and a well-rounded belly well during their pregnancy, and sometimes even for months and years after their delivery.
Diastasis recti occurs when the linea alba, the tissues that connect the abdominal muscles, begin to separate. Because your abdominals support your back and your vital organs, any weakness or movement in their structure can start to affect your mobility and your pelvic stability - so it is vital to book in for diastasis recti physiotherapy at our two London clinics in Greenwich and Moorgate as soon as you notice any signs of discomfort in this area, want to return to sport or as a part of your 6/8 weeks postnatal check up.
What are the common symptoms of postnatal diastasis recti?
Often, the most noticeable symptom of diastasis recti after delivery is a bulge or a ‘pooch’ in your stomach that becomes more pronounced when you contract your abdominal muscles. You may suffer from:
- Pain the lower back, hip and/or pelvis
- Weakened pelvic alignment
- Pain during sex
You may also notice that you have poor posture and have problems breathing or moving around as you normally would.
Over time, these symptoms could lead to:
- Poor core stability
- Pelvic floor dysfunction
- Significant damage to your posture
How do you know if you have diastasis recti?
The best time to test whether or not you have diastasis recti is around two weeks after giving birth, as sometimes your tummy gap between the abdominal muscles will begin to close of its own accord, as the body continues to heal after giving birth.
Follow basic steps of self-checking for a diastasis:
- Lie on your back, with your knees bent and your feet flat on the floor.
- See if you can press your fingers right down into your stomach in any of the areas between your sternum and your pubic bone.
- Then, press down above your belly button with your three middle fingers, place your chin towards your chest, and lift your head off the floor.
- If you can feel a gap that’s the same size as your finger spread, you have diastasis recti and you should see women's health physiotherapy specialist.
Can it be fixed?
Yes! The best course of action is to embark on a course of diastasis physiotherapy exercises under the expert guidance of a trained women’s health physiotherapist. To heal your diastasis we will need to rebuild your core with strengthening, breathing and pelvic floor exercises together with posture correction.
Is there a way of preventing diastasis recti from happening during pregnancy?
100% woman experience normal separation by the end of the pregnancy. But by changing a few of your daily habits, you can prevent your separation from getting worse.
- Avoid any movements like crunches or sit-ups that isolate the abdominal muscles
- Lift up on a breath out
- Carry out regular whole body strengthening exercises
- Get out of bed by rolling on your side, then placing your legs down and lifting yourself up by pushing from your elbows and hands
Is diastasis recti physio only suitable for new mums?
As we mentioned earlier, abdominal separation is particularly prevalent in mums who have just given birth. You will be at an increased risk of developing the condition if you have had more than one baby; are prone to having heavy babies; or are over the age of 35. There’s also evidence to suggest that genetics play a part in your susceptibility to this particular postpartum issue.
But diastasis recti doesn’t just occur as a result of pregnancy! Excessive abdominal pressure in men can also lead to the same diagnosis. Being older, overweight or lifting heavy weights are all significant risk factors for the male population.
Women and men who suspect they are suffering from abdominal separation should contact PelviCare as soon as possible to discuss their symptoms and arrange a suitable time for their initial consultation.
It’s not uncommon for babies to be born with a mild case of diastasis recti, either. Treatment is rarely required, though, as the little one’s body will usually heal itself!
Tailored diastasis recti physiotherapy treatments
If our physiotherapists discover that you are suffering from diastasis recti during your postnatal check up - Mummy MOT®, they will put together a tailored physiotherapy treatment plan for you. This completely bespoke programme will contain exercises and movements that will work to close the gap between your stomach muscles and reduce the unpleasant symptoms associated with the condition. Visceral mobilisation and kinesio taping techniques will be used by your physiotherapist to maintain the balance inside your belly and support therapy effects.
Naturally, we want to help you achieve the best results in the shortest possible timeframe. For these reasons, during your course of diastasis recti physiotherapy in London, we will ask that you do not:
- Take part in any strenuous exercises, particularly those that engage the stomach muscles, like stomach crunches, without consulting it with your women’s health physiotherapist
- Carry or lift heavy loads, being breathless
- Carry your baby on one hip
Other treatments on offer from PelviCare:
As women’s health specialists, we’re proud to offer a fantastic range of diagnostic and physiotherapy services that are designed to aid your recovery and give you back your confidence.
Our treatments include: