This blog post will take you through one easy way to help limit the pressure on your abs, to help prevent diastasis recti.
From the the moment you learn your are expecting, it is a good idea to get into the habit of rolling onto your side and then push yourself up using your arms. This is purely to help engrain the movement pattern in your brain for when it becomes super important during later stages of pregnancy.
Why is this important?
Because the muscles in your arms are not affected by pregnancy the way your abs are. Their strength does not become non existent like your abs. So start using your arms more. Not only will you end up with more toned arms but they will also be a lot stronger. That extra strength will come in handy when you are constantly carrying your ever growing bundle of joy around.
Diastases Recti: The separation of the muscles of your abdominal wall. It is caused by increased pressure within your belly (intra-abdominal pressure), which your abdominal wall (abs) can not cope very well with. This causes a separation in the connective tissue between your abdominal muscles, known as the linea alba. Many pregnant women understandably freak out about developing this. Although pregnancy is a risk factor of developing diastases recti, the condition is not only exclusive to pregnant women. It can be caused by excessively lifting heavy weights, training abs incorrectly (particularly in the post-natal period), weight gain, and more.
What is increased intra-abdominal pressure??
Put one hand on your tummy and cough… that’s it! Notice how your tummy bulges a little, that is due to a sudden increase of pressure inside you. Your abs automatically tighten to stop things bulging too far (and exploding..only joking!).
As your pregnancy progresses, your abs and other muscles of your core become less effective at doing this job. That pressure is not controlled so well, therefore overloading the linea alba. This is why trying the best you can to help limit exposing your abdominal wall to lots of increased pressure during pregnancy is important.
Sit-ups are a great way of increasing intra- abdominal pressure...
And a great way of overloading your linea alba!
You may think you don’t actually do sit-ups, but in reality we all do several sit-ups everyday without realising. When you get out of bed, when you get up from lying on the sofa, changing positions during exercise even turning in bed… the list goes on. Anything that involves lifting your torso straight up from laying on your back, is a sit up.
So one way to shift some points from your ‘Potential Diastasis Rectic Jar’ into your ‘Healthy Postnatal Abdominal Wall Jar’.. learning to Roll & Push-up instead of Sit-up.
OK so you are laying on your back a you need to get up..
1. Bend your knees up and shimmy onto your side using your arms and legs to help you.
2. When you are in a side lying position, place your top arm in front of your body and push yourself up using both hands.
3. If you are on the edge of your bed or on the sofa, it will make it a lot easier if you drop your legs of the side, to help create some momentum.
That’s it, no straining, no stress on your body, no risk of wetting yourself, or trumping, no sit-up! Just a simple gentle way of getting up from laying down.
Really, we should all get up like this particularly first thing in the morning when your body is not stretched out and warmed up. It is a lot healthier for your spine. So get practicing, it will soon become second nature if you start making a conscious effort.
For some more quality information on diastsis recti and how you can heal your abs post pregnancy, check out his post by Lorraine Scapens, founder of the website Pregnancy Exercise.