Imagine someone with a six pack abs, you know that groove that runs down the middle of your abdomen? Under the skin there is a tendon called the linea alba, which is the tendon that connects one side of the abdominal muscles to the other side. During pregnancy, this tendon stretches – baby has to go somewhere! This stretch is called Diastasis Rectus Abdominus. The degree of stretch is different for everyone, but this is a normal change in pregnancy. We repeat – this is normal, you do not cause this stretch by doing, or not doing certain exercises. Diastasis rectus abdominus can happen in people who work out, or who do not work out. The majority, if not all the changes you see during pregnancy in regards to this stretching will happen regardless of exercise strategy.
As with any tendon, we want to work the muscles that attach to the tendon. If a tendon is already stretchy/lax, we want to prevent stretching further at the end of the range of motion, and we also need to have control throughout the range. How are we supposed to work the ab muscles if the internet says never to do crunches, sit ups, planks, pull ups or leg lifts ever again? You really can’t, which is why at Defy we often have clients doing these exercises ASAP, depending on how THEY use THEIR muscles.
Giving general advice about diastasis is really hard, because everyone performs exercises differently, uses different muscles and various pressure strategies, so the best general piece of advice that our Pelvic Health Physiotherapist Jenny has is this:
If you are searching for answers on the Internet, you are feeling afraid or restricted to do the movements you love, you are worried that you are broken or don’t know what to do next, PLEASE reach out to someone for personalized answers, for YOU, based off YOUR body, YOUR exercise preferences and the latest research.
Diastasis may be scary – some people experience big changes to their body during pregnancy – but receiving accurate, personalized advice can help answer your questions so that you can take the next steps that are right for YOU.
DO YOU HAVE A DRA?
Our Pelvic Health Physiotherapist, Jenny has been working in postnatal care for over 5 years. Jenny has the latest up-to-date information to help guide you to get back to your favourite exercises in a safe and satisfying way.
- We are able to help individuals of all ages and at all activity levels (recreational to competitive).
- We offer direct billing to most major insurance companies for the convenience of our clients.
- We have appointments as early as 7am and as late as 7:30pm to accommodate busy lifestyles.