This is Episode 124 of the Juna Women Podcast, Exploring Diastasis Recti with Katie Hunter.
The Juna Women Podcast is a weekly discussion where Juna Founder, Sarah Kuhn, talks to Moms about their health, work, parenting, and all the different ways they’re keeping it together.
In this episode, Sarah talks with Katie Hunter, a pelvic floor specialist from Southern California. They explore all things related to Diastasis Recti.
What is Diastasis Recti?
Diastasis recti is the separation of one or more of the abdominal muscles called the rectus abdominis. it’s a a stretching of the fascia that sits in between the muscle bellies, which is called the Linea Alba.
Diastasis recti is completely normal. It expected to happen, especially in pregnancy. The linea alba is supposed to stretch to accommodate for a growing belly.
Research shows that 100% of women by 40 weeks pregnant are going to have some form.
Who is at risk for diastasis recti?
In the first week postpartum 100% of women are going to have diastasis recti.
People who are at most risk are:
- Pregnancies with multiples: twins, triplets, etc.
- A pregnancy where the maternal age is 35 or greater
- A higher than average weight gain
- Having a larger than normal belly
- Those who do not exercise during pregnancy
What are the degrees of diastasis recti?
Around 40% of women are going to still have symptoms around 6 months. In the first 12 weeks it’s normal and expected. If your symptoms go on past 12 weeks, you may want to seek help for a professional.
- • 2-3 cm is considered dysfunctional. This is a mild case. It’s enough to seek treatment.
- • 3-5 cm is considered moderate
- • Anything over 5 cm is considered severe.
How To Identify Diastasis Recti?
Watch the video above to measure and identify the severity of your diastasis recti.
What exercises should I avoid or will make diastasis recti worse?
Avoid any exercises where you see coning or bulging that can further separate the gap or the stretch on the Linea Alba.
Things like sit-ups, planks and inverted positions, like a downward dog can be troublesome for diastasis recti.
The last thing are exercises where your legs are doing separate things, like a lunge or single leg exercises.
If you’re doing an exercise and you see coning or doming, try to modify the exercise to make it easier. If that doesn’t work, skip the move altogether.
What are good exercises to help close the gap?
You need to “load the body”, meaning using weighted resistance to teach your body how to distribute the intra-abdominal pressure that puts stress on your deep core.
Learn how to do a kegel correctly, a transverse abdominis brace, which is pulling your belly button to your spine.
In the Juna App, we have demonstrations on all of these exercises and movements. You can download the app here and get started FREE.
Why is it important to treat diastasis recti?
Having the signs of diastasis means that your core is not working the way it’s supposed to work. The function of the core is to stabilize the back, stabilize the joints of the pelvis and protect the abdominal organs and pelvic organs.
The risks of living with diastasis recti include:
- • lower back pain
- • pelvic pain
- • leaking
- • pelvic pain associated with a tight pelvic floor
- • pain during sex
- • bladder and bowel dysfunctions, which includes things like prolapse
After having a baby your body is in the optimal time to heal. There are also aesthetic issues many women don’t like. Things like:
- • bulging belly
- • mommy pooch
- • constantly feeling bloated
- • poor posture
- • pants aren’t fitting right
Is there a time when surgery is necessary to repair Diastasis Recti?
Surgery is almost always for aesthetic reasons. It’s very rare for the muscles to be stretched out to the point they’re not going to work anymore. The main goal is to get a person’s strength to the point where they can exercise pain free. That will often take care of most issues surround diastasis recti.
For more on diastasis recti, please listen to the entire podcast episode with Katie and Sarah. They explore Diastasis Recti: What it is, who is at risk, and what you can do if it happens to you.
Get In Touch With Katie Hunter
Katie is a physical therapist specializing in pelvic floor muscle dysfunction.
Katie has gained clinical experience by working for a hospital-based pelvic health practice and two prominent pelvic health private practices in Southern California.
Katie specialized in pelvic health immediately after receiving her Doctor of Physical Therapy from Western University of Health Sciences.
She has received additional clinical training through direct mentorship and post-doctoral education through courses hosted by Herman and Wallace Pelvic Rehab Institute, Barral Institute, Institute of Physical Arts, and the APTA Academy of Pelvic Health Physical Therapy.
Katie’s true passion is combining the science of physical therapy with the art of patient care to help people improve their most essential functions.
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