Most new mums are conscious about their abdominal wall ‘splitting’ during pregnancy and after birth. Here is a bit of information about what diastastic recti and how we can help it.

Before you read on this isn’t a quick win on how to heal. Unfortunately there aren’t any. One more thing, it isn’t the worst thing in the world. Many people can have a diastasis even if they havent had a baby (men included) and it is all about improving your overall health and wellbeing rather than having that photoshop style abdominal wall.

There are many studies that have been carried out trying to find out the best way to heal a diaststasis recti and have not found that particular exercise programme, diet or routine that hits the nail on the head. It is about you and your individual body, we are all unique which means the way we heal is too. The best thing we can do is look after all areas of ourselves to help our mind and body be in optimum health for healing.

What is Diastasis Recti?Heal diastasis

Diastasis recti is where the abdominal area has expanded during pregnancy. This is the muscles and the connective tissues that surround the muscles (the line of tissue between your abdominal muscles).

This needs to happen in order for your abdominal cavity to make way for growing baby.

It doesnt just happen in pregnancy, you can experience diastasis recti at anytime in your life and men and children can also suffer with this. Your whole body including your core and pelvic floor need to work in harmony to withstand pressure in your abdominal area and create stability as you move in daily life and this break in the circuit prevents your body lift, pull, push and move effectively, which is why heading straight to the gym for a tough workout is far from what you need to be doing to start with.

What can you do to help the healing process?

To heal a diastasis, we need to think about the whole body and not just segregating the abdominal area. We move and function as one whole unit and one area of the body completely affects how other areas work. Here are a few hints and tips you can do at home to help. They aren’t guaranteed to work as I mentioned before but focussing on improving your wellbeing overall will put your body in a good position to heal and recover.

1. Check your breathing

Your abdominal muscles attach to your rib cage so when you breathe these muscles play a part and breathing can help or hinder the healing process.

lie on your back and place your focus on your breathing, where do you feel the breath? How do your ribs move?

Ideally when we breathe in our rib cage should move sideways and back into the floor to create enough space for the breath. If you find your ribs or your belly rising to the ceiling when you inhale, more pressure is placed on the abdominal muscles and they will continue to stretch with each breathe, reducing the ability to recover.

2. Manage your stress

When we are stressed the hormone cortisol is released to help us through that period. We know from my blog on how stress affects your posture that high levels of cortisol in your body prevents proteins from being received to your muscles which is needed to help them repair and recover. As a new mum life can be stressful at times but its important you schedule in some R&R, get as much sleep as you can and find something that you enjoy that relaxes you will help.

Balanced diet for muscle health3. Eat Well

There is that saying ‘you are what you eat’ and that is exactly right. What we put into our bodies effects how our bodies function. To help heal a diastasis you need all of your essential vitamins, minerals and complete proteins. As you know from above protein helps muscles repair. Alongside this reducing Caffeine, sugar and alcohol will help as they also have an effect on the stress hormone.

4. Drink enough water

We are made up of 70% of water and we need to keep topping us up! We discussed water in my previous blog but you need water to help maintain tissue health and move and slide easily between one another. Dehydrated tissues aren’t able to function at their optimum never mind heal.

5. Take part in specific post natal recovery exercise

Exercise should come after all of the above and when I talk about exercise Im not talking about taking part in high intensity fitness classes at your local centre. Your body has been through many (many) changes and it is important to start with rehabilitation before embarking on a full exercise programme and this is where Post Natal Massage and Pilates can come in.

Addressing your posture is key to begin with to ensure the muscles and tissues can function at their optimum to help healing and moving with massage and soft tissue techniques. Following this is more work on breathing and creating an optimum pelvic floor through Pilates and exercise. This creates a strong platform to help the healing process and for you to continue being mum without worrying about that dreaded leaky pelvic floor. One client asked me this week if the right exercise can help improve your pelvic floor as since she has been working with me she has noticed less ‘leakage’. I will write more about this in another blog soon!

We love to hear from you at what ever stage you are in your healing process to find out what is helping so please feel free to comment below!