Abdominal separation, also known as “diastasis recti”, occurs due to the thinning and widening of your linea alba – a band of tissue that runs down your abdominal wall and connects to your abdominal muscles on the left and right sides. The result of this thinning and widening is an increase in distance between your abdominal muscles.
Is It Bad to Have Abdominal Separation?
Abdominal separation occurs in the large majority of pregnancies and is not something to fear! While many worry about how many fingers wide their diastasis is and how to close this gap, what matters more is the “function” of your core and the integrity and strength of your tissues.
How Do I Ensure I Have a Functional Core?
Both during and after pregnancy, you can support the function of your core by engaging in appropriate abdominal strengthening exercises that are right for you and your body. During pregnancy, it is important to maintain and build core strength in order to prevent injury, strengthen the muscles involved in labour, and allow for a faster return to baseline fitness levels postpartum. During the postpartum period, it is important to rebuild your core strength back up to support you with daily activities in caring for your child and prevent injury.
What are Appropriate Abdominal Exercises?
An appropriate abdominal exercise is one that challenges you to engage and strengthen your ab muscles, while simultaneously ensuring the pressure throughout your core system is being properly managed. Signs of inappropriate pressure management can include: abdominal coning/doming, urinary/fecal incontinence or urgency, pressure/heaviness through the vagina, and pelvic/back pain. We tackle how to appropriately strengthen your core in depth throughout our workouts in both The Prenatal Academy and The Postnatal Academy. It is also always a great idea to meet with a pelvic health therapist who can assess how your body manages pressure during different exercises and daily activities.
Note: This post is for educational purposes only and does not replace medical advice or treatment from your healthcare provider. Always follow the advice of your primary care provider when making decisions about your health and well-being.