Learn about diastasis postpartum, its causes, symptoms, and treatments from the perspectives of experts in this comprehensive blog.
Between 30 to 60 percent of women experience diastasis postpartum a separation of the abdominal muscles. If you’re a pregnant or postpartum mom, it’s important to understand the causes of diastasis and the symptoms and treatments available.
Understanding Diastasis Postpartum
Diastasis postpartum is a separation of the ab muscles that happens to many women during and after pregnancy. Typically, this separation is caused by the enlarged uterus putting pressure on the abdominal muscles. These muscles aren’t always able to recover after the baby is born, which can lead to diastasis postpartum.
Pregnant and postpartum mothers and their medical providers need to identify if this condition is present and understand the best way to deal with it. Read on to learn more about diastasis postpartum and how to treat it appropriately.
Diastasis postpartum is a common condition among moms and is thought to be caused by the increased pressure in the abdomen caused by the baby’s growth, especially for first-time moms. This can lead to the rectus abdominis muscles (or ‘six-pack’ muscles) separating. Other causes of diastasis postpartum can include gaining excessive weight, activity and exercise during pregnancy, multiple pregnancies, and carrying a large baby.
• Diastasis postpartum is when the pressure from the growing uterus of the baby pulls the abdominal muscles apart.
• Weight gain, too much exercise or activity, having more than one baby, and carrying a big baby can all lead to diastasis postpartum.
• A “pooch” in the middle of the belly, a bulge between the abdominal muscles, and shallow breathing are signs of diastasis after giving birth.
• Postpartum depression can be treated with rest, changed exercises, or surgery to eliminate any extra skin and/or strengthen the abdominal muscles.
• Remember to make lifestyle choices that support the healing process, such as avoiding exercises like crunches and planks and opting for stability exercises for the core and pelvic floor muscles.
One of the most common symptoms of diastasis postpartum is a “pooch” in the middle of the belly. After giving birth, diastasis can also be seen as a visible bulge between the abdominal muscles. It can also be seen in shallow breathing. You can also press on the belly to feel for any gap or bulge that appears when you contract your abdominal muscles.
If you suspect that you have diastasis postpartum, it’s important to work with a doctor or physical therapist to develop an individualized treatment plan. Sometimes, the best way to treat the condition is to rest and do modified exercises and activities. Patients may also be told to have surgery to get rid of any extra skin and/or strengthen the muscles in the abdomen.
It’s important to remember that healing and recovery can take several months and that lifestyle choices can make a big difference in healing. If a woman has diastasis after giving birth, she shouldn’t do crunches or planks. Instead, she should do stability exercises for her core and pelvic floor muscles.
Diastasis postpartum affects many women during and after pregnancy. During the postpartum period, staying healthy means knowing the causes, symptoms, and ways to treat them.
If you have any concerns, work with your doctor or physical therapist to develop an individual treatment plan. Taking the time to make lifestyle choices that promote healing and recovery is necessary for the long-term health of the mother and the baby.