What is Diastasis Recti?
Diastasis Recti and pelvic floor health seem to be buzz words in my niche lately. But you may be asking yourself “What is Diastasis Recti and why is it important?”
Diastasis Recti (aka DR) is the separation of the abdominal muscles at the midline (the center of the abdomen). Many postpartum women experience this “gap” after having children. However, diastasis recti is not caused from pregnancy.
The root problem of DR is excessive intra-abdominal pressure, which is common in the later stages of pregnancy – particularly second and subsequent pregnancies. Intra-abdominal pressure can also effect the pelvic floor and lead to other abdominal and pelvic floor issues such as hernia and prolapse.
For these reasons, it is imperative to approach diastasis recti with an integrated program that teaches you how to re-align, re-connect, and then strengthen the entire core. The sole focus should not be on ‘closing the gap’ using isolated exercises or by avoiding specific exercises.
There are multiple layers of muscle tissue that make up the abdomen. Rectus abdominis, the most superficial muscle layer (closest to the skin) is known as the ‘six pack’ muscle and is connected down the midline (linea alba) by connective tissue. When this connective tissue is stretched and weakened it leaves the abdomen unstable and unsupported. The other abdominal muscle layers; the interior and exterior obliques, and the deepest layer, transverse abdominis are now compromised and left weakened, which in turn effects the pelvic floor muscles as well.
In order to counteract this weakened and unsupportive state, we need to focus on realignment. I’m talking about full body alignment – starting at the feet and stacking your body up to align properly. This allows for optimal body function.
It’s important to reconnect with your body postpartum. Many times we want to ignore our abdomen because it looks and feels different. When healing diastasis recti, we need to learn to engage our abdominal muscles again. This takes time, patience, and constant practice. It’s easier to accomplish with the right techniques and breath patterns.
Once we have learned proper alignment and re-connected with our muscles, its time to strengthen. And I’m not talking about crunches and sit-ups. Full body strengthening will help support that alignment you’ve been working so hard on. You’ll also experience pain relief as well as confidence.
I have found that the MuTu System takes into consideration all of the above and more. Their approach is wholistic and supportive of nutrition, alignment, breath, specific muscle engagement as well as synergistic muscle movement. The 12 week program is gentle enough to start soon after childbirth (or even decades after childbirth) and allows you to move at your own pace into more intense strengthening exercises that will encourage the narrowing of diastasis recti and support proper alignment.
To learn more about diastasis recti, the MuTu System, and ‘what your doctor didn’t tell you’ click here