Diastasis Rectus Abdominis, also known as abdominal muscle separation or ‘mummy tummy’, is a condition that should not be feared and generally responds well to specialised rehabilitation by appropriately trained professionals.
Some degree of separation at the midline during pregnancy is considered normal and likely to occur in all women towards the end of pregnancy. Generally, it resolves naturally in the weeks following childbirth. In approximately 1/3 of women, for reasons currently unknown, it does not resolve naturally. In these circumstances it is advisable to access some rehabilitation.
Our Advanced Physiotherapist specialises in the treatment of Diastasis and also provides training for other health professionals. She has blogged and interviewed internationally with key experts in the field of Diastasis and is currently undertaking 2 different research projects on the topic.
Diastasis is not only a cosmetic issue. It can have functional implications for the abdominal wall and it is also understood to impact negatively on body image and self-confidence. We need much more research to understand Diastasis better, however it may increase the risk of developing pelvic floor dysfunction. It is important to get professional guidance as soon as you realise you may have non-resolving or dysfunctional Diastasis. Rehabilitation between pregnancies is also recommended in order to prevent the progression of symptoms. Gráinne created a patient handbook to help women increase their understanding of Diastasis, how to assess it and what to do about it.
Gráinne also developed a treatment proforma to help guide clients and clinicians about important points to consider in order to successfully manage Diastasis Rectus Abdominis. It is not just about the gap!! You can find out more about this proforma in a free downloadable blog or via a pay to view 1.5 hour webinar Gráinne delivered.
She has led a National campaign on Diastasis Recti in partnership with UK pelvic health campaign group Pelvic Roar.
Also referred to as Diastasis, Diastasis Recti, Divarication Rectus Abdominis, abdominal separation and 'mummy tummy', it is a condition that is often poorly understood within our current healthcare model. It refers to a sideways stretching of the connective tissue joining the outermost abdominal muscle, the Rectus Abdominis, in the midline. The Rectus Abdominis is the muscle defined in a "six pack" and runs from your xiphoid process to your pubic symphasis.
The connective tissue joining the muscle bellies in the centre is called the linea alba. The linea alba is actually a fusion of the aponeuroses of ALL layers of the abdominal muscles (the rectus abdominis, internal and external oblique muscles and the transverse abdominis). The more the connective tissue stretches sideways, the thinner and weaker it becomes. Both men and women can have Diastasis Rectus Abdominis.
Signs of Diastasis Rectus Abdominis include:
You can check for Diastasis yourself in crook lying by feeling for a gap with your fingers along your abdominal midline while you lift your chin to your chest. If you are not sure how to do this you can find more information in our patient handbook. The best way to know for sure is to get assessed by someone experienced with Diastasis such as a Physiotherapist.
We can assess, educate and guide you through appropriate posture, breathing, exercise and lifestyle changes to help you rehabilitate your Diastasis. We aim to restore balance in your core muscles and re-educate the stretched connective tissue to facilitate tension across the abdominal wall. It is essential that you address several factors in the rehabilitation of Diastasis and assess beyond 'the gap'.
Our Advanced Physiotherapist will utilise ultrasound imaging to further the evaluation and to help you visualise the connective tissue and muscle recruitment in order to facilitate your rehabilitation. Our approach addresses the WHOLE body, not just the separated muscles. We aim to progress you to returning to the sports/exercise/activities that you enjoy. We can also evaluate when conservative rehabilitation is not a suitable option for you and a surgical opinion is recommended.
For more information about our services or if you have a question email firstname.lastname@example.org.
1.5 hour webinar suitable for health professionals of patients/general public wanting to understand more about diastasis rectus abdominis and what the evidence can tell us. Learn about Gráinne's 7 part Proforma to guide assessent and management: PPP-RR-LD. https://www.mypfm.com/grainnedonnely