Find out what diastasis is, why it occurs and how to deal with it correctly in order to get rid of this problem once and for all. After giving birth, it is not so easy to return the tummy to its previous shape. First of all, for this you need to eat right, regularly use moderate physical activity. As a result, the arms become stronger, the hips and buttocks are tightened, but the tummy may remain in its former unpresentable form.
If a long time has passed after the birth of the baby, but this part of the body does not change its appearance, you may have diastasis of the abdominal muscles. There is nothing to be surprised at, because during pregnancy it is on the abdominal muscles that the main load falls. However, do not despair, because there are effective exercises for diastasis of the rectus abdominis muscles.
Diastasis: what is it?
Diastasis is the divergence of the rectus abdominis muscles and, according to statistics, this phenomenon occurs in almost a third of women after childbirth. Most often, diastasis is diagnosed with polyhydramnios, repeated births or multiple pregnancies. Recall that the straight abdominal muscles just form those cubes on the stomach that all athletes seek to pump up.
The right and left muscles are held together by connective tissues. During pregnancy, she is exposed to great stress, because the internal pressure increases as the fetus develops. Often everything returns to normal by itself after the birth of a baby, but not always. It is in that case that exercises for diastasis of the rectus abdominis muscles will help solve the problem.
The reasons for the development of diastasis
The main reasons for the development of diastasis are pregnancy and childbirth. The more often a woman gives birth, the higher the risk of diastasis. With the development of the fetus, the pressure on the anterior wall of the peritoneum increases and this leads to overstretching and divergence of the muscles. Also, during pregnancy, the female body synthesizes the hormonal substance relaxin. It is necessary to soften the tendons of the abdomen, while increasing their elasticity.
In theory, after childbirth, everything should return to normal, but, unfortunately, this does not always happen. The risk group includes women who had a very large belly during pregnancy. We have already talked about three cases in which this is possible. As a result, the abdominal muscles are stretched much more than normal. If, before pregnancy, the young mother was not overweight and actively trained her abs, then she is not in danger of diastasis.
How is diastasis diagnosed?
If a woman has developed diastasis, then the skin looks flabby and no cosmetic products can help get rid of it. To diagnose the presence or absence of diastasis, you will need to spend a few minutes and go through a simple test. Moreover, you can do this at home and you do not need to consult a specialist. You need to follow these steps:
- Take a supine position with your knees bent and your feet next to each other.
- Place one hand behind your head. Then, lift your shoulders and head up as if you want to do a crunch for your abdominal muscles.
- Divide your tummy mentally into two halves along the navel. In this place is the connective tissue that holds the rectus abdominis muscles together. Place three fingers of your free hand on the navel and begin to feel the lower abdomen in the direction of the pubis. Then follow the same steps towards the chest. Note that when palpating, the fingers should be positioned across the tummy.
- If, while performing all these manipulations, your fingers fall through more than three centimeters, then the likelihood of diastasis is high. You can be sure of the accuracy of your diagnosis after visiting the surgeon.
Remember that if the fingers fall a short distance, then this is just connective tissue and there is no diastasis. Depending on the size of the discrepancies, we can also talk about the degree of complexity of the problem:
- The discrepancy is between 5 and 7 centimeters - a slight degree.
- The deepening is 7 to 10 centimeters - medium.
- The discrepancy was more than 10 centimeters - a severe degree.
In the latter case, it is worth contacting a plastic surgeon. In such a situation, the dietary nutrition program and exercises for diastasis of the rectus abdominis muscles will be ineffective. To return to its former shape, a plastic operation is required, which is called abdominoplasty.
Is diastasis a danger to the body?
Most often, this problem is purely aesthetic - a woman makes a lot of efforts to eliminate the formed abdomen, but cannot achieve her goal. At the same time, there are situations when diastasis is uncomfortable. In rare cases, health problems may appear.
With diastasis, pain in the abdomen and lower back is possible, and when lifting weights, they increase. The greatest threat is fraught with diastasis of the third degree, in which the discrepancy between the muscles of the press is more than 10 centimeters. This is due to the weakening of the muscles, which increases the risk of herniation and prolapse of internal organs.
What precautions should be taken with diastasis?
If, after childbirth, a woman has developed diastasis, then first of all it is necessary to avoid any actions that can lead to an increase in intra-abdominal pressure. Learning how to properly lift and carry the baby is imperative. Moreover, in such a situation, it is necessary to control how you get out of bed or chair and even monitor your cough. Here are the precautions to be taken with diastasis:
- When coughing, place your palms on your tummy and press lightly. This will prevent the belly from swelling too much.
- Control your posture, because now you cannot slouch or bend strongly in the lumbar region.
- Do not lift heavy objects that weigh more than five or six pounds. When lifting lighter weights, extend your arms, bending them at the elbow joints.
- If your baby only calms down after picking him up, we recommend using a postpartum bandage or simply swaddling his tummy.
- When you lie down or get out of bed, first assume a lying position on your side. When lifting from a chair, it is necessary to transfer the body weight to one buttock, draw in the tummy and make a semicircle of the bodies in the direction of the supporting leg. Try to get up solely with the strength of your leg muscles.
- Avoid sleeping on your stomach as this puts more pressure on the muscles and tendons. As a result, they stretch even more and the situation is aggravated.
The best exercises for diastasis of the rectus abdominis muscles
Before telling you about the most effective exercises for diastasis of the rectus abdominis muscles, a few caveats should be made. It must be remembered that excessive stress on the abdominal muscles after childbirth can bring serious trouble. If you actively train this part of the body, then the problem will become even more difficult. High loads will only provoke an even more significant stretching of the midline of the tummy. After giving birth, it is worth waiting alone, or better a month and a half and not training during this period.
You should not perform twisting with diastasis, since the problem is likely to only get worse. Also, push-ups and plank exercises are prohibited.The best option is static exercises performed at a calm pace. Pilates can be an excellent choice as it offers a safe movement that pulls your abs well. Now let's look at the best exercises for diastasis of the rectus abdominis muscles.
- Exercise number 1 - retraction of the abdomen. This is the simplest and most effective movement. It can be performed in any conditions, even at the moment when you are walking with your baby. Just suck in your tummy and stay in this position for several accounts. Throughout the day, it is worth doing several sets of 30 repetitions each. After about a month, you will see that your abdominal muscles have strengthened significantly.
- Exercise number 2 - "kitty". Take a standing position on your knees and rest your hands on the ground at shoulder level. Make sure the limbs are at a 90 degree angle. Pull in your tummy by tilting your head down and arching your back. After that, bend in the lower back, keeping the abdominal muscles in constant tension. The movement is performed 7 to 8 times.
- Exercise number 3 - lifting the buttocks. Take a supine position with your arms extended along your body. With your legs bent at the knee joints, set them at shoulder level. As you exhale, lift your hips, contracting the abdominal muscles. This movement involves not only the abdominal muscles, but also the hips and buttocks. You need to do 15 repetitions.
- Exercise number 4 - head lifts. Take a position similar to the previous movement. Begin to slowly raise your head and pause at the upper end point of the trajectory. At the same time, the abdominal muscles should be in tension. The number of repetitions is 15.
- Exercise number 5 - straightening of the knee joints. The starting position is the same as in the previous exercise, but you need to raise your legs above the pelvis. As always, the abdominal muscles should be tense. Keeping your feet in the air, slowly level one of them and lower it to the ground. After that, return to the starting position and perform the movement with the other leg. 10 repetitions are enough for each limb.
- Exercise number 6 - touching the ground with the heels. The starting position is similar to the previous movement, but the legs are raised up and bent at the knee joints at an angle of 90 degrees. As you exhale, lower one leg down with your heel touching the ground. After returning to the starting position, perform a similar movement with the other leg. The number of repetitions is similar to exercise number 5.
- Exercise number 7 - with elastic band. Take a supine position with your legs bent at the knee joints and spreading them to shoulder level. Keep your shoulders and back firmly on the ground. Tie an elastic band around your knees. As you exhale, start spreading your legs as wide as possible, and while inhaling, return to the starting position. Performing this movement, it is necessary to feel the work of the transverse abdominal muscle.
- Exercise number 8 - with a ball. To perform the movement, you can use a regular children's ball or fitball. Take the starting position similar to the previous exercise, holding the sports equipment between the knee joints. As you exhale, begin to bring your legs together, using only the transverse abdominal muscle. Return to the starting position while inhaling.
What exercises to perform with diastasis, see below: