Rectus Abdominus Diastasis (RAD or Abdominal Separation) is MORE than just a cosmetic issue.
Yes, it's true that aesthetically having a separation can reduce the tension in your abdomen and make you self conscious (particularly when the abdominals are stretched post pregnancy). But RAD can affect you even when you are really fit.
- Reduce the ability to rotate your trunk
- Reduce ability to crunch forward or perform a sit up
- Reduce your overall exercise involvement
- Increase fatigue
- Be associated with poor respiratory patterns, over-activity of the anterior neck muscles and stiffness in the thoracic spine
Melissa has just attended a training session, getting updated on the current research and management of RAD for our patients. The good news is, that the research still supports that guided Physiotherapy input can help to:
- Improve muscle endurance and tension in the anterior abdominal wall
- Over time, improve the aesthetics or 'look' of the abdomen
- Guide you back to moderate or high level exercise
Our Post Natal Check Up is a great way for us to assess you and give you the right rehabilitation for you.
When you are pregnant, a hormone called 'relaxin' softens the ligaments in your body. Ligaments attach from one bone to another at a joint line to help the muscles maintain stability at your joints. This allows baby to grow and also your pelvis to stretch wide enough for the delivery of your baby.
As a result, your muscles have to work harder to support stability around your joints. Add this to the increasing daily weight of baby, placenta and fluid and the change in your body's centre of gravity, this makes you more at risk of muscle spasm and injury.
There are a few things you can do to avoid issues:
- Take plyometric training out of your regime. It's not functional and puts you at risk of injury
- Stretch regularly to ease muscle spasm
- Heat your muscles (combined with stretching after) to relieve tension ie warm bath (not too hot that you overheat)
- Have a massage or acupuncture if you feel yourself getting 'tight'
- Listen to your body, it tends to give you signs when it's time to taper off the intensity of your exercise
- DO PILATES! This can really help to keep your core muscles strong, stretch out the problem areas and improve the position of baby all at the same time.