**Disclaimer: Nothing in this post is to be seen as a replacement for medical advice. Please only use this information in conjunction with consulting with your care provider**
Welcome to the first installment of our Ask the Doulas Event! We are excited to be able to answer some common, but frequently unasked questions. The first question that we received is:
“ I have diastasis recti and have been “thinking” about getting pregnant with my second. Are there any concerns that I should think about with carrying another potentially 8 lbs baby in my weakened abs?”
Diastasis recti is a condition that can occur during pregnancy as a result of the pressure of the growing uterus on the abdominal muscles. The connective tissue in the abdomen can separate, causing back pain, bulging in the abdomen (AKA the mom pooch), and possibly pelvic instability. Depending on the severity, this can certainly make it hard to do many activities in your daily life, such as lifting your child, and bending to do work or household jobs. I can certainly understand why you would wonder if/how this may affect future pregnancies.
Diastasis recti often resolves itself within one year after childbirth, but when it doesn’t there are some things that you can try to improve the situation. I would recommend checking in with your care provider regarding any impacts that this may have on your future pregnancy, and postpartum recovery. You may discuss the option of seeing a physical therapist to get some ideas of exercises that strengthen your deep abdominal muscles (your transverse abdominis). Your care provider or physical therapist will also be able to tell you what activities you should avoid so that the separation does not worsen. You can certainly band-aid the situation by using a belly support of some kind, but this will not have a lasting impact unless your deep abdominal muscles are strengthened. Once you have strengthened your transverse abdominis, you can begin to work on supporting your core with a wrap or support of some kind.
Carol Gamboa of PTX Therapy recommends “starting physical therapy as soon as you can, and working hard within your therapists instructions to prevent further separation and additional musculoskeletal pain”.
Because every individual is different, we highly recommend consulting your physician who will be familiar with your personal history.
See you back here for our second installment of Ask the Doulas!
About the author:
Shawna is Co-Founder, Birth Doula, and Childbirth Educator at Third Coast Birth. She loves joining the support community of her clients, and having the privilege of walking with people as their families grow and change.
Her favorite thing about being a doula is bearing witness to new life at each birth she attends. Every birth is so different, but watching a woman bring life into the world is consistently awe inspiring.