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Diastasis Recti in Pregnancy

What is it? What causes it? How can you address it?

By Sam The Doula (Blooming Miracle)Published about a year ago 3 min read
Diastasis Recti in Pregnancy
Photo by Suhyeon Choi on Unsplash

Diastasis recti in pregnancy - what is it? Do we need to be concerned about it?

(Please note: for information about a range of antenatal classes in Shrewsbury, please see the end of this piece.)

I'm going to preface this by saying 4 things:

1. It's not pictured here, because the only images I could find that did show it clearly were ones I didn't have rights to and I didn't want to be cheeky! I encourage you to seek out images and diagrams of it for yourself.

2. Every pregnant bump is GORGEOUS. I don't want you to look down at yours and feel anything other than wonderful! Diastasis recti isn't a concern because of how it looks.

3. I'm not a medical professional, so this information is very much offered on a peer to peer basis 👍

4. As a general rule, I do my best to use images of whole women. I find the disembodiment and dehumanisation of women in maternity care to be a little bit disturbing. On this occasion, I have chosen this image specifically because I want to draw attention to the bump itself.

What is diastasis recti?

In the simplest terms:

During pregnancy, the muscles at the front of your abdomen separate to accommodate your growing bump. If they separate too much, that's diasatasis recti.

So what? Why is this something we might want to avoid or address?

Here are a few reasons:

  • It contributes to back pain in pregnancy, especially in your lower back.
  • Everything is connected to everything else - when one bit goes squiffy (technical term) it affects other bits. Like a domino effect. You might experience pelvic floor problems (no, you shouldn't pee when you sneeze!)
  • You might also experience pain in your pelvis.
  • You might have poorer posture, which can cause problems in the short and long term. For example, tension or pain in your back or shoulders.
  • It can also contribute to less-than-stellar foetal positioning (which in turn affects their descent and the progress of your labour). This might be more noticeable if this isn't your first baby. Remember that a well-positioned baby is usually more likely to slip out more easily (which is what we want!)

How can we address it?

Supporting these muscles in pregnancy with specific, gentle movements can help to prevent them separating too much, or too early. This is important, because it can help you be more comfortable. We should not, in my opinion, take it for granted that pregnancy is an uncomfortable business!

Preventing or alleviating diastasis recti will mean that your body will have an easier time returning to normal after your baby is born.

Being pro-active about supporting these muscles helps you bring balance and symmetry to your body in pregnancy, which helps you to improve your baby's position.

A good position for your baby means your pregnancy can progress more comfortably. It can also have a positive effect on your labour. Of course, a straightforward birth is another factor that helps set you up for an easier recovery.

How can I help you?

I teach antenatal classes in Shrewsbury that include gentle movements to help you address diastasis recti, as well as offering a host of other benefits. If you are not local to me, I may be able to signpost you to a similar class near you, or I may be able to offer online classes.

In conclusion

It's good to be proactive in supporting your abdominal muscles during pregnancy. They are under more strain than usual! This approach has a positive impact on your pregnancy, labour, birth, and postnatal experience. Even if you are not experiencing diastasis recti, the benefits of gentle movement in pregnancy are well-documented and still worthwhile.

Thank you for reading!

I welcome discussion on these topics, so please do leave a comment if you can. Was this helpful to you? Is there anything you would add? If you aren't a Vocal member, come and find me on Facebook.

If you are currently pregnant, congratulations! How are you feeling so far? Do you have any questions? I hope your pregnancy continues smoothly. Have a wonderful birth!

Book antenatal classes in Shrewsbury

Recommended reading:

Diastasis Recti: The Whole Body Solution to Abdominal Weakness and Separation (Katy Bowman)


About the Creator

Sam The Doula (Blooming Miracle)

Childbirth Eductator since 2011

Building a resource for mothers-to-be to feel informed and confident about their choices

You can find me on Facebook or book classes with me

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    Sam The Doula (Blooming Miracle)Written by Sam The Doula (Blooming Miracle)

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