After you had your baby, you knew it would take a bit to get your abs back in shape. While you knew you would not have a six-pack right after giving birth, split stomach muscles were probably not something you expected. The technical term for split stomach muscles is diastasis recti, and although it may sound alarming, it’s fairly common after pregnancy. About one-third of woman develop split stomach muscles during pregnancy.
If you’re wondering how your muscles could split, it’s helpful to understand a little anatomy. Your abdominal area consists of four layers of muscles. The top layer of muscle is called the rectus abdominis and it has two halves. During pregnancy, as your uterus grew, it may have pushed the two rectus abdominis muscles part creating the separation or split. Any pregnant woman can develop split stomach muscles, but it is more likely to happen if you had a large baby, twins or previous pregnancies.
Although split stomach muscles most commonly develop during the last trimester, most new moms don’t notice it until after delivery. There are a couple of ways to tell if you have split stomach muscles. For example, you may notice a bulge below or above your belly button. The widened space between your left and right rectus abdominis muscles may cause your stomach to pooch out a bit, creating the bulge.
You may also be able to feel the separation. Lie on your back, with your knees slightly bent and your feet flat on the floor. Take three fingers and place them on your belly button pointing downward. Push down into your stomach and lift your head off the ground.
If you feel a gap greater than two to three finger widths, you may have split stomach muscles. But the best way to determine if you have diastasis recti is through an exam by your healthcare provider.
Depending on the size of the separation, the gap between the muscles may lessen a few months after giving birth. But in some cases, the separation can remain even a year after giving birth. Although not all women have problems associated with split stomach muscles, it can lead to back pain, weakened pelvic floor muscles and a stubborn post-pregnancy pooch.
If you do have diastasis recti, talk to your doctor before doing any abdominal exercises. Your healthcare provider may give you special instructions or teach you certain exercises that may strengthen your abs and help repair split stomach muscles. In severe cases you may need surgery, when the rectus abdominis muscle separates more than 2.7 cm
Written by MaryAnn DePietro @ writerlady34
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a trained medical doctor. Health & Parenting Ltd disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information, which is provided to you on a general information basis only and not as a substitute for personalized medical advice. All contents copyright © Health & Parenting Ltd 2016. All rights reserved.