Postpartum diastasis, what it is and how to treat it

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Philippe Gloaguen
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Post part time

The Diastasi after part, otherwise called diastasis of the rectus abdominis, is a consequence of pregnancy that can cause problems for two out of three women after childbirth. Let's see what it is, what complications it can cause and how we can solve it.





Postpartum diastasis what it is

Abdominal diastasis consists of separation of the rectus abdominis, the one located in the right band and the one in the left band, which therefore move away from the median line that crosses the abdomen, in the so-called linea alba.



Part port port, cause

What are the factors that favor the onset of postpartum abdominal diastasis?



During pregnancy the baby grows more and more inside the uterus and exerts more and more pressure a abdominal level. This pressure, coupled with the hormonal changes that occur during the nine months leading to a reduction in connective tissues, can cause a muscle separation.

The problem occurs especially in the last three months of pregnancy, when the fetus and uterus are now large enough to exert excessive pressure on the abdominal muscle fascia.

It is also a frequent complication in new mothers who have had a twin pregnancy.

However, it is important to underline that the pregnancy it is not the cause of diastasis, but can only worsen an already compromised situation, a fragility of the connective tissue of the linea alba which is unable, therefore, to support the tension of pregnancy.

Post part time, symptoms

How to tell if a diastasis of the abdominal muscles has occurred? Diastasis can be responsible for a weakening of the abdominal muscles and a lack of stability in the pelvis, as well as severe back pain.

Therefore, in order to suspect diastasis, the woman must manifest:

  • increasing and regular back pain;
  • poor stability of the pelvis;
  • constipation;
  • urinary incontinence;
  • difficulty breathing;
  • nausea with exertion;
  • difficulty moving;
  • in more serious cases hernia.
Read also: How much and how does the belly grow during pregnancy

To do

First of all we must make sure that there is actually a separation of the muscles.

To do this, just do a simple one exercise one week after delivery:

  • Lie down with your knees bent and your feet flat on the floor
  • place one hand under the nape of the neck and another between the navel and the final part of the side;
  • relax your stomach and press on the abdomen with your fingertips while performing an abdominal exercise (i.e. lift the shoulders by contracting the abdomen)
  • check how many fingers fit in the space created between the two abdominal bands
  • if there are two or more it is likely that there is a diastasis.

In any case, for any question or doubt it is recommended to contact the gynecologist or your doctor who will certainly know if there is actually a diastasis.

Diastasis in many women it closes spontaneously about a year after the birth, but if the problem does not resolve itself, it will be necessary to intervene with targeted exercises and in some cases with surgery.

In the early days, when the connective tissue is still very thin and fragile, it matters don't make any movements not to make things worse:

  • lifting heavy things;
  • straining during defecation;
  • push-ups on the abdominals;
  • cough violently;
  • torso rotations;
  • intense movements that can load the abdominal muscle band.

If the abdominal separation is not too great, you can still wait because time often resolves the problem and the muscles gradually come together.

To understand how big the diastasis is, the doctor will use the fingers, or a special ultrasound instrument or even a measuring tape.

Exercises for postpartum abdominal diastasis

Some exercises can be helpful in reducing the diastasi post parto, but they must always be performed under the supervision of a physiotherapist or a specialized personal trainer. And remember that the best way to avoid diastasis is prevention: training and fortifying the abdominal muscles before pregnancy allows them to be more resistant to the pressures they will suffer during the nine months.

Potentially useful exercises are:

  • compression of the abdomen associated with proper breathing;
  • exercises to tone the transverse muscle.

Some specialists may propose the Tupler technique: these are some exercises that are performed while wearing a sort of band on the belly, which protects and holds the abdominal muscles together.

After the connective tissue will be healed you can do some of Pilates especially to strengthen the transverse muscles, but it is important in any case to train with a specialist, who knows which exercises to do in case of diastasis.

Postpartum abdominal diastasis surgery

If rehabilitation, gymnastics, physiotherapy or time fails to resolve the diastasis then surgery can be used. A'abdominoplasty with plication of the rectum, a cosmetic surgery procedure, is the most effective intervention: the surgeon will close the gap between the two muscle groups. It is also possible to perform this diastasis closure surgery in laparoscopy, with less invasiveness and shorter recovery times. Only the surgeon will be able to determine which procedure is most effective for the individual case.

The intervention to resolve diastasis is not carried out under an agreement with the National Health Service in all regions, therefore very often it will be subject to a fee.

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