Abdominal diastasis: how to identify and treat it

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The diastasis of the rectus abdominis muscle, or simply the abdominal diastasis Can be congenital or acquired. It is the separation of the abdominal muscles and connective tissue, giving the appearance of a flabby belly, with excess skin and fat accumulation.

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Major risk factors for abdominal diastasis

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Pregnancy is one of the main risk factors for the development of diastasis, which can occur during the second or third trimester of pregnancy or during labor, due to the physical effort required to expel the fetus.

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Although common, this can be a problem if it persists for eight weeks after the baby is born&13 ;

Typically, abdominal diastasis appears 4.5 cm above the umbilical scar (supra-umbilical) or at the level of the scar (umbilical). More rarely, it appears 4.5 cm below the umbilical scar (infra-umbilical).

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This situation is more frequent in :

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  • Women of childbearing age, 19-40 years;
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  • Multiparous ;
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  • Multigestas;
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  • Women who have had normal deliveries with short intervals between them or heavier babies (over 4 kg).
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To prevent or treat this complication, it is important to recommend adequate physical activity during pregnancy as well as in the puerperium.

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What is abdominal diastasis and what are its main causes?

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Abdominal diastasis is related to several changes, including hormonal changes, that occur in the body during pregnancy. Throughout pregnancy, hormonal action takes place on the connective tissues, which is related to biomechanical changes that allow the growth of the uterus.

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All these changes lead to a separation of the abdominal muscles, which may continue after delivery. If this separation is greater than 2 cm, it is called abdominal diastasis.

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Abdominal diastasis can adversely affect:

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  • Abdominal muscle stabilization;
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  • Trunk movement;
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  • Functions such as posture, delivery, defecation and visceral containment.
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Consequences

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Abdominal diastasis makes organs, such as the uterus or intestines, less protected. This situation can therefore have negative consequences, namely:

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  • Lower back pain;
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  • Difficulty breathing;
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  • Difficulty getting around;
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  • Involuntary urine loss;
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  • Constipation;
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  • Hernias.
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Treatment and aftermath of childbirth

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First of all, it is important to say that abdominal diastasis must be properly diagnosed by the physician and/or physical therapist and all exercises to be performed must be recommended and evaluated by a specialist.

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The main way to prevent and combat abdominal diastasis is to exercise during pregnancy and the puerperal period. Physical activity is beneficial for different systems in our body, especially for the abdominal muscles.

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Fighting flabby muscles helps prevent abdominal fat accumulation and intestinal problems such as constipation or hemorrhoidal pathology.

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During the postpartum period, physical therapy can also help improve abdominal and pelvic muscle tone.

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Benefits of exercise for the puerperal woman

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The benefits of exercise for the puerperal woman are as follows:

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  • Improved lung function;
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  • Improved sexual function and libido;
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  • Postural rehabilitation;
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  • Pelvic floor recovery;
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  • Pressure management (muscle pre-activation);
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  • Waistline decrease;
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  • Toning of the abdomino-perineal muscles;
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  • Improved self-esteem and self-confidence.
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Exercises to treat abdominal diastasis

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There are exercises that are more appropriate for abdominal diastasis. You should seek advice from your doctor on the type of physical activity that is most appropriate for you, as well as physical therapy programs that may be beneficial in your case.

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Postpartum abdominal exercises

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The following eight exercises are suitable for the postpartum phase and for women with abdominal diastasis.

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For the first two weeks, you can start by doing two sets of these eight exercises, then you can increase the duration of each exercise.

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1. Belly board

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  1. Get on your stomach.
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  3. Raise your body to a static position and support yourself on your forearms and the balls of your feet.
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  5. Stay in this position for 30 seconds.
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2. Buttock bridge

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  1. Get on your stomach.
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  3. Raise your hips and stay in this position for 30 seconds.
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  5. Meanwhile, contract your abdominal muscles 10 times, relaxing between each contraction.
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3. Abdominals with Pilates ball

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  1. Place yourself on your stomach with your hips, spine and head resting on the floor.
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  3. Position both legs bent and elevated at 90 degrees, while squeezing the Pilates ball with your legs.
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  5. Stay in this position for 30 seconds.
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4. Lower abdomen

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  1. Get on your stomach.
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  3. Align the lower back, shoulders and head with the floor.
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  5. Stretch your arms along your body.
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  7. Bring the knee toward the head, raising the hip and then slowly lowering it.
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5. Side panel

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  1. Stand on your side with your legs straight and together.
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  3. Place your elbow and forearm on the floor, while placing your other hand on your waist.
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  5. Begin to slowly lift your hips, holding this position for 30 seconds, while contracting your abdomen.
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6. Scissors

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  1. Lie on the floor, supporting your lower back, shoulders and head.
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  3. Start by raising your legs, while keeping your knees bent at a 90 degree angle.
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  5. Contract your abdomen and slowly lower one leg at a time.
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7. Alternating hip

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  1. Lie on the floor, supporting your lower back, shoulders and head and bending your knees to a 90-degree angle.
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  3. At this point, rotate your knees to the left and right, keeping them together.
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  5. Make slow movements, while contracting the abdomen.
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8. Raised footbridge

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  1. Lie on the floor, supporting your lower back, shoulders and head.
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  3. Now raise your hips and contract your buttocks and abdomen.
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  5. Meanwhile, remove one leg from the floor, keeping it straight and lifting it up.
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  7. Then repeat the procedure with the other leg.
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Hypopressive method

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It is one of the most recommended methods for the postpartum recovery phase. Its exercises are designed to :

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  1. Reducing pelvic congestion
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  3. Repositioning of organs
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  5. Improve body posture
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This is while the uterus is returning to its normal size (which takes at least 40 days to happen).

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The hypopressive method consists of inhaling and exhaling air all the way out, until your abdomen begins to contract on its own. You should then shrink your belly, “pulling” on your abdominal muscles “until your belly button touches your back”.

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Exercises to avoid

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In case of abdominal diastasis, there are exercises to be avoided, namely push-ups and squats, as they can aggravate this condition. Sports such as swimming and yoga are also not recommended in these circumstances.

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During this time, you should also avoid lifting weights and doing any activity that involves excessive strain on the abdominal muscles.

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Once the muscle pullout is gone, you can try activities like Pilates, which will help you strengthen the abdominal wall and the transverse abdominal muscle.

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Abdominal diastasis
What is it? Where does it manifest itself? What are the causes? How to treat? How to prevent?
Removal of abdominal muscles of more than 2 cm. This is a problem that usually appears 4.5 cm above the umbilical (supra-umbilical) scar or at the level of the (umbilical) scar. Hormonal changes, especially those that occur during pregnancy. The main way to combat abdominal diastasis is through proper exercise and physical therapy. Engaging in appropriate physical activity during pregnancy and the puerperal period.

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Abdominal, Airborne diseases, common diseases, diastasis, identify, illness vs disease, treat

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