Preventing Diastasis Recti During Pregnancy

Pregnancy is a time when the body will change every day from the first to the last. There are days when the changes will be quite apparent. Others may not even make those expecting blink. And while it would be expected that the majority of the changes would have occurred well before the end of the pregnancy, this is not the case. One of those is the separation of abdominal muscles. But there may be ways to prevent diastasis recti from occurring during pregnancy if women follow a few helpful hints.


Hearing that the abdominal muscles separate during pregnancy would make anyone think that the process is painful. However, according to the Cleveland Clinic, this is not true. Most women will not even notice that this has occurred until everyday tasks become more difficult or even uncomfortable to do. When this happens, the first signs of diastasis recti are present. And women will have to work to get their core muscles strong again after their babies are born.

RELATED: Healing From Diastasis Recti And Symphysis Pubis Dysfunction

Here are ways to prevent diastasis recti during pregnancy.

What Diastasis Recti Is

Diastasis recti occurs when the abdominal muscles have separated and there is a wide gap between them. According to WebMD when this happens, a “pooch” will form in the midsection.

Per the publication, nearly two-thirds of pregnant women will get this condition. When diastasis recti occurs, it is because the ever-expanding uterus is putting pressure on not only the abdomen but other organs in the body as well. With all the internal pressure, there is only so long that the abdominal muscles can keep their shape. And when the pressure gets to be too great, according to WebMDthe abdominals can separate.

For some women, the abdominal wall will go back to how it was after healing from pregnancy. But for others, it is a condition that may require toning exercises or even surgery to return the abdominals to their pre-pregnancy condition.

Symptoms Of Diastasis Recti

It may not be clear that pregnant women are suffering from diastasis recti until an associated symptom appears. That is when some movements that were not previously painful can be uncomfortable to perform.

According to Healthlinesymptoms of diastasis recti include:

  • Pain in the lower back
  • Slouched posture
  • Belly bloat
  • Constipation
  • Bulge around the belly button
  • Weak core

While any and all of these symptoms can just be pregnancy-related when associated with the mid-section bulge and weak core, women many have diastasis recti. And when this happens, a healthcare professional should be consulted to determine the best approach for postpartum treatment.

Ways To Prevent Diastasis Recti During Pregnancy

The best way to prevent diastasis recti during pregnancy, according to Postpartum Trainer, MDis to have a routine of core-strengthening exercise both before and during pregnancy. This coupled with a healthy diet and the recommended weight gain while expecting can help to lower the risk of diastasis recti occurring.

Per the publication, women who started with and continued to have a strong core during pregnancy were 35 percent less likely to suffer from diastasis recti. As such, incorporating approved core exercises during pregnancy in conjunction with the recommended weekly exercise will help to diminish the chances of the abdominals separating further than they should during pregnancy.

Risks Of Diastasis Recti

While diastasis recti can cause some women to be unhappy with how their body looks as a result of the abdominals separating, for most, there are not any health risks involved.

Those physical changes that occur, according to New Orleans Plastic Surgery include:

  • Pooch of the belly
  • Pain in the back
  • Weak pelvic floor
  • Incontinence
  • Hernia
  • Bloating

While there are no risks associated with these symptoms, it can also be hard to live with diastasis recti. As such, it is normal to go through a course of treatment to help alleviate pain and discomfort. And if those remedies do not work, more aggressive treatment may need to be sought.

Treating Diastasis Recti During Pregnancy

Sometimes, no matter how strong the core is, pregnancy causes diastasis recti to occur. And when that happens, treatment will not begin during pregnancy. Instead, women will receive treatment for diastasis recti postpartum. But there are things that can be done to stop the condition from getting worse while expecting.

According to Restore Your Coresome of the things that mothers-to-be can do to keep diastasis recti from getting worse include:

  • Stretching
  • Working on correct posture
  • Avoiding lifting anything that strains the core
  • Do not do any exercises that cause the core muscles to be under more tension
  • Exercises that cause the abdominal muscles to bulge

When this is done, the hope is that the separation of the abdominals will not get any larger after the initial diagnosis of diastasis recti. And after babies are born and some rest is had, the process of rebuilding core muscles to where they once were can begin.

Source: Cleveland Clinic, WebMD, Healthline, Postpartum Trainer, MD, New Orleans Plastic Surgery, Restore Your Core

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