What Is Abdominal Separation? (Diastasis Recti)
What Is Abdominal Separation?
Abdominal separation (Diastasis Recti) refers to a condition of pregnancy and port-birth where the left and right halves of Rectus Abdominis muscle spread apart at the body’s midline fascia – the linea alba. This condition is fairly common among many women.
The thinning and widening of the mid-line tissue take place in response to the force of the Uterus pushing alongside the abdominal wall. It also occurs in conjunction with the pregnancy hormones that work to soften the connective tissue that as to ease the passage of the newborn.
Any midline that is more than 2 to 2 ½ finger-widths (two centimeters) are considered problematic. Abdominal separation can take place anytime in the last four and a half months of pregnancy. Although, it is mostly seen after pregnancy, a time when the abdominal wall is lax and also the thinner midline no longer offers adequate support for the internal organs and the torso.
A very small widening of the midline normally happens in all pregnancies – it is a normal occurrence. Although, abdominal separation occurs in about 30% of all pregnancies around the world. Some of the postnatal women’s midlines close to less than 2 centimeters-widths naturally, but for many in the 30% category remain too wide thereby causing problems
Women expecting twins or more than one baby, and petite women are at greater risks of getting abdominal separation. This condition also applies to those women with poor abdominal muscle tone and those with a pronounced sway back. In some instances, genetics plays a bigger role during an instance of abdominal separation. A separation in a previous pregnancy also raised the chances and severity of the condition in any subsequent pregnancy.
Abdominal separation reduces the functional strength and integrity of the abdominal wall, and can hasten lower back pain and pelvic muscles instability. Diastasis recti (abdominal separation) can also be present in adults with excessive abdominal visceral fat and infants.
Signs of Abdominal Separation/Diastasis Recti:
- A gap of over 2-centimeters-width when the rectus abdominis has contracted fully.
- The gap doesn’t shrink as you try to contract your abdominal wall.
- There is a small visible mound that is protruding along the length of your midline.
Abdominal Separation/Diastasis Recti Test:
This simple self-test will help you determine whether you have abdominal separation:
- Consider lying on your back with your knees bent – let the soles of your feet be on the floor.
- Proceed by placing one hand behind your head, and the other on your abdomen. The fingers of the hand in your abdomen should cross your midline-parallel with your waistline. Let the fingers go across the level of your belly button.
- With your abdominal wall at a relaxed position, gently press your fingertips into your abdomen. Proceed by rolling your upper body off the floor into a “crunch,” ensuring that your ribcage moves closer to your pelvis.
- Move your fingertips forth and back across your midline, ensuring that you are feeling the left and right sides of your rectus abdominis muscle. You can now test for separation above, and below your belly button.