WHAT IS A DIASTASIS RECTI?
The word diastasis means separation. So a diastasis recti is a separation of the rectus abdominis or the outermost abdominal muscles. When the muscles separate, the connective tissue that joins them, stretches sideways. The more it stretches sideways the thinner and weaker it becomes.
Everyone is born with their muscles separated. Whether it closes depends on the amount of force or pressure on the connective tissue that joins the outermost abdominal muscles. If the muscles close, they are always at risk for separating again when there is continuous force on the connective tissue. Force can be caused by:
- Weight gain in the abdominal area
- Growing uterus during pregnancy
- Doing abdominal and weight lifting exercises incorrectly
A diastasis can also be a cause of lower back pain and poor posture. Surprisingly, sit ups and most other abdominal exercises only make a Diastasis worse.
RISKS OF A DIASTASIS RECTI
The function of the outermost abdominal muscles are to support your back and your organs. When the abdominal muscles separate, this support system is weakened causing low back pain and the "mummy tummy " or “guy gut.” The mummy tummy or guy gut is actually your internal organs falling forward against the connective tissue, (called Linea Alba), causing the abdomen to protrude. The internal organs are protruding because they are now being supported by a thin (Glad Wrap-like) piece of connective tissue instead of your abdominal muscles if they were together. This is often the reason why, in successive pregnancies, that women pop out and show quickly.
If there is trauma to the abdominal area and the connective tissue is torn away from the muscle, your organs will come through and a ventral hernia can develop. Surgery will be required. A large diastasis on a pregnant woman will cause the uterus to tilt forward putting the cervix out of alignment. This will make pushing the baby out vaginally much more difficult.
DIASTASIS RECTI & PREGNANCY
Most women develop diastasis recti during pregnancy. A diastasis will have an impact on your overall core strength including your pelvic floor, on the effectiveness of your pushing, on how fast your abdominals recover from a caesarean, on how your tummy looks after baby is born and on how much back pain you experience during your pregnancy.
The two halves of your recti muscle are joined together at the linea alba, a string of connective tissue. During pregnancy, as the uterus grows, that muscle lengthens and causes the two halves to separate. As the muscle separates, the connective tissue stretches sideways making it thinner and weaker. Now, instead of muscle, you have weak connective tissue supporting your lower back and your organs. No support for the lower back translates into more back pain and no support for your organs means more difficult pushing during labor.
With diastasis recti your growing uterus is held in place by a separated recti muscle and stretched out connective tissue. Pushing the baby out is very difficult to do with a separated muscle. The uterus will tilt forward as the connective tissue cannot hold it in place properly. When it tilts forward the cervix moves out of alignment with the vaginal canal creating a detour in the baby‘s passage through the birth canal.
A sure sign of a diastasis during pregnancy is:
*belly button becomes an outie;
*belly cones when you crunch up or strain your belly in any other way
BENEFITS OF CLOSING A DIASTASIS RECTI
- a flatter and more toned tummy;
- a smaller waist;
- a stronger core;
- strong muscular protection and support for your internal organs;
- improved pelvic floor strength;
- strong muscular support for your back and spine; &
- can help relieve any back problems you are experiencing.
- For pregnant women, it will also make pushing in labor much more effective and help ensure that your body recovers quickly, (no matter how you give birth), with less long term damage. Talk to us about our Perfect Pushing™ program - especially designed for pregnancy.
- For those considering abdominal surgery, it will ensure your abdominal muscles are in the best condition possible to undergo surgery, recover quickly & maintain the integrity of any stitches and the success of the surgery long term. Talk to us about our Ab Rehab™ program - especially designed for clients undertaking abdominal surgery.
No matter what your age or gender is; whether you are planning to have a baby or you arecurrently pregnant, or you had a baby today or 30 years ago......it is NEVER too early or too late to close a diastasis!
Closing a diastasis is all about healing the connective tissue. A diastasis can be closed on anyone at anytime! How long it takes depends on the severity of your diastasis and your commitment to the program.
To determine the severity of your diastasis you need to know two things:
- The distance between the two muscles. The wider the diastasis the longer it takes to close it.
- The condition of the connective tissue. The further your fingers go into your belly, the weaker the connective tissue. The weaker the connective tissue the longer it takes to heal. As the connective tissue becomes shallower, the muscles come together.
Physiotherapists and Pilates instructors have a strategy for healing a diastasis but it is ineffective for most and the medical answer of a surgical tummy tuck is highly invasive, aggressive, expensive and risky.
With the tummy tuck, even in the situation where the diastasis is successfully stitched surgically, absolutley nothing has been done to change the strength, tone or function of the muscles forming the stomach and back. Effectively you are stitching two weak pieces of paper together which are prone to lose support or tear in the future.
The Tupler Technique® is both fascinating and ingenious. It enables the person to naturally stitch their abdominal muscles together using their own connective tissue and at the same time, strengthen all of the muscles that make up the core muscles that support the entire abdominal region and back. Because of this you will not only see a flattening of your stomach but the return of your waist and a change in the shape and strength of your lower back. All this is achieved through a series of exercises that are performed in a seated and backlying position; absolutely no crunches or sit-ups are involved!
Enroll in a Tummy Zip 6WTT Program today to learn how you can heal your diastasis and have a flatter tummy, smaller waist and stronger core!