It is no secret that pregnancy takes quite a toll on your body. While not necessarily normal, it is common for expecting mothers to experience musculoskeletal aches and pains, as well as a common condition that occurs called diastasis recti.
As your uterus continues to expand throughout your pregnancy, stress is put on your “rectus abdominal” muscles. This muscle constitutes two muscles that run parallel from the rib cage to the pubic bone connected down the middle with connective tissue. Without specific muscle training and with the continued expansion of the uterus, it is possible for these muscles to separate along the center seam, causing diastasis recti. Common symptoms of this condition include:
- The noticeable bulge in the middle of the stomach
- Lower back pain
- Rib pain
- Urinary leakage
- Development of a hernia
Fortunately, physical therapy treatments can help repair and relieve your diastasis recti symptoms so you can get back to comfortably doing what matters most – preparing and caring for your new bundle of joy.
Treating diastasis recti:
It is most common for diastasis recti to develop later into a woman’s pregnancy or during/after giving birth. In fact, the muscles affected by diastasis recti can remain separated for up to one year after a woman gives birth. Therapeutic interventions can significantly reduce this time frame, allowing healing in as little as a few weeks for some women.
Some factors that can heighten the risk of developing diastasis recti during or after pregnancy include:
- Being over the age of 35
- Being pregnant with multiple babies
- Having given birth in the past
- Giving birth to a baby with a high birth weight
- Sedentary lifestyle prior to pregnancy
- Fitness lifestyle that involves crunches, sit-ups or v-sits
- Chronic slouched posture, rounded shoulders
At Redefining Health Physical Therapy, we offer and excel in prenatal and perinatal physical therapy treatments for pregnancy-related conditions, such as those of diastasis recti. At your initial appointment, one of our experienced and dedicated physical therapists will perform a physical evaluation in order to assess the nature of your symptoms.
Your medical history and any health risks will also be discussed and taken into account prior to creating a treatment plan. After your evaluation, our physical therapist will put together an individualized treatment plan for you, aimed at reducing your diastasis, providing relief for your symptoms, training for the marathon of delivery and allowing for a smoother pregnancy and delivery.
For cases of diastasis recti, condition-specific treatments will be designed to correct the condition and symptoms. Diastasis recti can interfere with the strengthening of the abdomen muscles and cause the belly to “pooch” (aka mommy pooch). Our highly-trained physical therapists use their unique skills to identify and treat this condition, based on its severity and your personal needs.
Find relief today:
It is common for treatment plans for prenatal and perinatal care to typically involve stage-specific therapeutic exercises, stretches, and manual therapy. These are all done in order to relieve pain, strengthen your core muscles, improve posture, and prepare or recover from birthing.
Our Portland physical therapists may also suggest additional methods and modalities, such as massage or ice and heat therapies, in order to provide additional relief and optimum function as deemed necessary.
If you have been diagnosed with diastasis recti, or you think you may be experiencing symptoms from it, contact Redefining Health Physical Therapy today to request an in-home physical therapy appointment with one of our experienced Portland physical therapists. We’ll create the best treatment plan for your needs, so you can provide the best care for your baby and for yourself. Also, watch out “How to Check for Diastasis Recti at Home – Postpartum” video on this page.