Are you doing these 6 things that make abdominal separation worse (without knowing)?
Post natal abdominal separation (also called DRAM – diastasis of the rectus abdominis muscle) is fairly common post birth.
Most often, it’s healed quickly and easily – as long as these 2 things are at play –
1- You know what to do to heal it effectively (the right exercises, plus compression if needed)
2 – You don’t inadvertently do anything to make it worse
This second reason for abdominal separation (particularly prolonged separation that has lead to other issues), I see A LOT. It’s confusing post birth – most women aren’t told what to do – let alone what things to avoid.
Post natal exercise is very different from conventional exercise. Our physiology is different. Going beyond these parameters too early or too quickly usually leads to pain and injury (the old 2 steps forward, 2 steps back scenario).
Here are the top reasons I see for increased separation/weakened core (that can easily be avoided once you know what they are)
- Doing a full sit up in order to get up from lying on your back (roll onto your side and then come up instead)
- Lifting a weight that forces you to brace through your abdomen. The inner unit of the TVA and pelvic floor should be able to work well and easily when you lift any load. If you need to brace through your rectus abdominis or hold your breath in order to lift, you raise intra abdominal pressure and this can increase separation.
- Doing planks before separation has healed properly
- Doing abdominal exercises that flex the rectus abdominus under load – crunches, bicycles, double/single leg ab raises, V sits – a lot of this is featured in pilates so if you are doing a class be mindful modify
- Push ups from the plank position (keep the knees under the hips and increase the volume until the tissue has healed)
- Too much stretch or rotation through the torso – so avoid laying back over a ball, stretching up from the floor (upward dog style) or rotating excessively when lying down in order to stretch the upper back – pulling the rectus taut can exacerbate the separation – a lot of this is featured in yoga, so if you are doing a class be mindful to modify
For more info on the physiology of abdominal separation you can go to this link here