What is Abdominal Muscle Separation?
Abdominal separation is a common occurrence during pregnancy where the connective tissue joining the long abdominal muscles widens and separates.
This occurs in two out of three women and is known as Diastasis of the Rectus Abdominal Muscle (DRAM).
The deep abdominal muscles have an important role in supporting your back and pelvis. These muscles act like a natural corset and are probably one of the most important muscles to exercise after you give birth.
There are often multiple reasons why the abdominal muscles separate during pregnancy and these include:
- Excessive weight gain during pregnancy
- Hormone changes that soften the connective tissues between your stomach muscles
- A genetic predisposition
- Stretching of the abdominal muscles as the baby grows
- Multiple pregnancies
- Subsequent pregnancies
Following the birth of your baby a physiotherapist may access your abdominal muscles to determine if a separation has occurred.
Treatment may include:
- Specific exercises to strengthen the deep abdominal muscles taught by a physiotherapist
- Suitable abdominal support garments including SRC shorts
- Minimizing lifting anything heavier than your baby or anything that causes your abdominal muscles to bulge with strain
- Avoid sit-ups or abdominal crunches until the separation resolves
- Roll when getting out of bed
It is essential to try and repair these separated muscles after pregnancy as women who suffer from abdominal separation are more likely to experience backache, pelvic girdle pain and pelvic floor dysfunction.