Pregnancy is a life-changing experience for any woman, and most if not all of them wish to have a healthy experience. However, what do you do when your body faces challenges after delivery? There are a few life and non-life-threatening issues a woman may face after giving birth. Let’s talk about a non-life-threatening, yet debilitating issue called diastasis recti that many women face after giving birth.
What is Diastasis Recti?
Diastasis rectus is an abdominal separation that occurs during or after pregnancy. It is one of many common issues women can face after giving birth. It can also affect newborns and other people, but it’s more common in women after delivery. Most times, there is no abdominal separation in the midline muscles. However, congenital weakness, pregnancy stress, or underlying condition may cause it.
Who Can Diagnose Diastasis Recti?
If you are keen, you will notice the tell-tale signs that you have it. You will see that your stomach area bulges out more than usual and if your case is a serious one, the shape of your baby will be visible due to muscle separation. Simple tests will help you in determining whether abdominal separation is taking place.
You can conduct a quick home examination by following the below steps
- Lie down
- Face the ceiling
- Bend your knees in a comfortable position
- Your feet should be firm on the floor
- Support your head with one hand behind it
- Push yourself down
- You will be able to feel the rectus muscles on either side of the navel
If you have the condition, you will feel an inch or more gap in between the abdominal muscles after following the above steps. An obstetrician can also quickly diagnose it.
Signs You Need a Diastasis Recti Test
Like any other medical condition, the symptoms you experience will act as your guide on whether it’s time to visit the obstetrician for a diastasis recti test. If you have the below symptoms, then it’s time to schedule an appointment with the obstetrician.
1. Pooch or Bulge in Your Stomach
Having a bulge isn’t always a sign that you have diastasis recti; however, the position of the bulge can guide you in predicting whether or not you have it. Remember that the swelling can range on where it appears, below, on, or above the belly button. It will be cone-shaped and located close to your belly button.
2. Low Back Pain
There are a lot of things that can contribute to you having back pain. However, if your back is aching, then it means you are not entirely using the rest of your body to support yourself. Your back is overwhelmed. The separation of abdominal muscles may be a key factor as to why your spinal column isn’t being properly supported. It’s important to strengthen your core with post-partum workout routines to ensure proper core support of your spinal column.
3. Painful Shoulders
If all of a sudden your shoulders appear rounded and your neck feels strained and like it’s jutting out, then there is a problem with your core muscles. Breastfeeding will also be very uncomfortable since your shoulders are hurting. You will notice they are constantly aching even when you are just going about your regular life routines.
4. Pain During Sex
You have been enjoying sex, and suddenly you don’t look forward to it anymore because of pain; that’s a red flag. Painful sex can be frustrating and take a toll on your relationship. The pain may be due to a shift of your organs because of abs separation or pelvic floor prolapse. Nevertheless, this is not something you can put off or ignore. You will need to get a test done right away.
5. Feeling a Wide and Deep Gap Between Your Muscles
Suppose you notice a hollow spot between your right and left side when your abs are separated and a line in the middle of your stomach; diastasis recti might be the cause. The middle line becomes more visible when you lie on your back as opposed to when you stand. You will even be able to feel the gap between your abdominals.
If you are experiencing any of the above-listed signs, you will need to undergo a diastasis recti test. The earlier you seek help, the higher the chances of it being rectified.
Like any other issue, early detection will help make a difference and ensure that you quickly return to your pre-pregnancy state. There is a wide variety of appropriate exercises that you will incorporate into your life to help your healing process. You can seek the services of a fitness instructor who will ensure that you are doing the exercises correctly.
Unless your case is severe, exercises are the best treatment options. Surgery can be an option in extreme cases, and these cases will generally be conducted as a tummy tuck.
Many women are afraid to undergo surgery because of the risks involved. However, by adequately preparing for surgery, these fears can be alleviated. By familiarizing yourself with the risks involved, the costs associated with surgery, and the recovery time you can expect, surgery can become a practical option for women experiencing diastasis recti.
Taylor Haskings is a freelance writer born in Denver, Colorado. She graduated with a bachelor’s in English from the University of Colorado, Denver. She enjoys hiking in the Colorado Rockies and loves the fine arts, such as playing the violin. Her true strengths include networking with others, and expressing herself through the written word.