Pregnancy isn’t always as natural as we’re meant to think.  Whether you conceive through In Vitro Fertilization, had a medical complication that landed you on injections, or even on-set Gestational Diabetes – medicine and technology can play a common role.  However, all of the aforementioned conditions exist at the cellular level; the physical changes in a woman’s body can lead to more permanent physical damage.  One example of this Diastasis Recti or “DA.”  

DA is a medical condition in which your two abdominal muscles split apart during pregnancy due to the excessive amount of pressure on the abdominal wall.  This leaves a “pooch” in your tummy after birth that is very hard to fix without some degree of surgical intervention, though it can be fixed with therapy if your case is mild enough.

What are the signs of DA?

  • A doming or bulging right around the belly button.
  • A gap of two finger widths or more.

Who’s prone to DA?

  • Overweight individuals carrying most of their weight in their abdomen.
  • Those who perform exercises incorrectly or with bad posture.
  • Women who are pregnant.
  • Women who gain more than the recommended amount of weight during pregnancy.
  • Women with multiple pregnancies or whose pregnancies are spaced closer together.
  • Women who are pregnant with more than one fetus at once (twins, triplets, etc).
  • Women over the age of 35.

This simple self-test will help you determine if you have diastasis recti:

  1. Lie on your back with your knees bent upward, as if you are in the starting position for a crunch exercise.
  2. Place your fingers right above your belly button.
  3. Raise your head and shoulders off the floor as if you are performing a crunch exercise.
  4. If you can feel a gap or see a bulging, then you could have a diastasis.

Preventing DA is easy with these simple tricks:

Practice good technique with activities of daily living. Your posture is everything, people. This is honestly the main way to prevent DA from ever happening. Be careful with how you get out of bed in the morning. Instead of sitting straight up, try rolling to your side. When working out, be sure to use good form and to not do the moves carelessly. Speaking of working out, avoid any abdominal exercises that will put extra pressure on your abs as this is a one-way ticket to getting DA. When carrying your kids, be very careful – use your legs and not your core to lift!

Use kinesio taping! Lastly, you can try kinesio taping. This is a wonderful preventative measure that you can start doing halfway during pregnancy, but I would wait until the third trimester when your belly gets really big. By taping your abdomen in the way you see below, you are “helping” your muscles stay together. You want to cut the pre-cut tape strips in half and start taping from the top down at a criss-cross style pattern. You will pull the top of the tape as you tape across.

If you’re unsure if you have DA or feel the early effects, visit Dr. Fast (upon clearance from your OB GYN.)  He can properly evaluate your condition and provide natural treatment to keep you healthy and comfortable!