For mommies who still look like they have a bulge on their stomach months after giving birth, the culprit behind this condition is diastasis recti. It is a postpartum abdominal condition that is common among women who gave birth.
If this is the first time you heard about dia recti, know that more than two-thirds of all the pregnant women in the world have this condition. The reason why you might not have heard of this before could be because no one openly and straightforwardly talks about it.
Diastasis Recti: What is it?
Aside from being a postpartum abdominal condition, diastasis recti are characterized by a gap between your left and right abdominal wall muscles. This gap results in a protruding round belly “pooch.”
According to experts, this condition is caused by the pregnant woman’s ever-expanding uterus and hormones. A pregnant woman’s connective tissue thins out during the gestational stage of pregnancy. The thinning of the linea alba is the body’s response to the changes in hormone levels of the mother to accommodate her expanding uterus. Through this, the baby inside the mother’s body is allowed to grow.
After you deliver the baby, your body’s hormone level resets and goes back to its pre-pregnancy level. It happens as the linea alba’s thinning also improves. In most cases, however, the tissues get extremely stretched to the point that it loses its elasticity. As a result, it even loses its ability to retract and return to its original position. Think of it like an overstretched rubber band.
Who is more vulnerable to such a condition?
While any pregnant woman can develop such condition, the following classes of women are more susceptible to developing dia recti:
- Petite women
- Women who carried more than one baby at a time
- Women who got pregnant more than once
- Women who got pregnant later in life
- Those with poor muscle tone
- Women with swayback posture
One’s medical history can also be a factor. If you had diastasis recti in the past, you are more likely to experience such conditions again. Also, women who had a ventral hernia or umbilical hernia in the past are at a higher risk of developing diastasis recti.
Can this be prevented?
The answer to this question is yes. If you want to prevent diastasis recti, you can start by protecting your abdomen. Through this, you can stop your muscle walls from separating. Also, while you are pregnant, it would help if you can do a log roll maneuver as you get up from bed, floor, or couch. This means you have to roll to one side of your body first, with your head and torso aligned. After that, use your arms to move yourself to sit.
Aside from these, there are also exercises you can do while you are pregnant. You can do exercises that will strengthen your abdominals. Also, you can try activities that will strengthen and get your body ready for labor, giving birth, and postpartum recovery.
Motherhood is a gift and blessing that you should cherish. The changes in your body are not something you should be ashamed of. Remember, your body nurtured, housed, and breathed life into a tiny human being. The protruding belly, stretch marks, and breast enlargements are all proof of your bittersweet journey to motherhood.
If you want to get on track and be in shape after pregnancy, there are always ways to do it. Many resources can help you achieve your post-pregnancy goals. If not, then know that you are beautiful and wonderful just as you are.