Diastasis Recti Abdominus (DRA)
I had my baby; why does my belly still look pregnant?
A DRA is the laxity and subsequent splitting of connective tissue called the linea alba. It is what connects the two sides of the rectus abdominus muscle (6 pack muscle). When this occurs, it can give the appearance of abdominal pooch or something similar to still being pregnant.
Can it go back to the way it was?
Yes, with the right therapy, it can absolutely return to the way it was. Different parts of the body can contribute to a continuing DRA. For example, if the tissues around your back are tight, they can continue to pull the tissues of the abdomen apart and make it more difficult to heal.
Does it only happen to pregnant women?
Actually no, it does not only happen to pregnant women. Nor does it only happen to women. This can occur in all people: big and small, thin or heavy. However, the reasoning is the same: weakness in the core and/or an inability to use the core correctly.
When I get out of bed/off of the floor, I see this dome thing in my belly
Yes, that's the sign of a true Diastatis Recti. If you are doing a crunch like motion for any reason and you see a dome in your belly, you probably have a DRA. And truly if you see this, do not continue to do those motions. Continuing to provoke the DRA will only make it worse.
I do crunches everyday, how do I have a diastasis recti?
Crunches are not always a help when it comes to improving a DRA. If performed incorrectly, crunches can actually make your DRA worse. The goal is to understand how to utilize your core for stability, which is to rely less on your rectus abdominus and more on the other muscles of the abdomen that encircle the torso.
Wait...so should I or shouldn't I do crunches?
Though crunches aren't bad, it's best to have your core stability checked out prior to starting a crunching regimen. When your stability is set, crunches should not be a problem.
I know I have a DRA, but I'm not done having babies, should I just wait to have therapy?
The short answer is no. Please don't wait. As the DRA goes on, weakness gets worse and it can become more difficult for the muscles to return to a more normal 'position'. If you start right when you notice the issue arising, you can be more preventative, learn how to stabilize properly and stop the gap from widening further.
Time to stabilize!
When you start seeing signs of a DRA, it's time to go seek professional help to ensure proper healing. If you have that feeling or look like the pregnancy isn't over (even though it is) or you see a dome in the belly or even if you've started to realize that you can't 'crunch' out of bed like you used to, please contact us to help you regain your strength and stability.