During a prenatal yoga class last week, another yogi asked a question that alarms all pregnant women- she said she had been in a Pilates class, and the instructor told her (from looking at her from across the room) that her abs had split and she needed to be careful with ab work. This is alarming for several reasons, but mainly- 1) a fitness instructor can give advice or information to his or her clients, but can’t diagnose an issue. Only a doctor can diagnose a body issue. 2) It is normal for a woman during pregnancy to form a Diastasis Recti, where the Rectus Abdominis/ab column separates into left and right halves, creating room for the growing baby. The abs have not “split” in a technical sense.
A Diastasis is necessary for the baby’s growth, and most pregnant women get them. With proper ab work after your doctor has given permission to resume normal activities, a Diastasis will close and the abs will return to their natural state. It takes time and effort, but presents no health issues or long-term effects.
Want to know if you have a Diastasis?
Ask your doctor or health care professional to check you. Most Pilates instructors can check as well, but again, keep in mind to be objective about advice you receive.
Checking for a Diastasis
When lying on your back and crunching into a crunch exercise, check for a separation or opening between your ab column above your belly button. It can be difficult to detect, so have a healthcare professional check for an official diagnosis.
Once your doctor has green-lit exercise, incorporate ab work into your daily regimen. Know how to check your Diastasis yourself and check it weekly for progress.
A Diastasis is a natural part of bringing a baby into the world. Keep in mind this is all part of the process, and look to concentrate on exercise and healthy eating during and after pregnancy. And for your own sanity, don’t Google Diastasis Recti (or any body fears for that matter)- it only makes those fears worse.
Make today count,