Pregnancy and Abdominal Separation

Abdominal Separation

All pregnant women will have some amount of abdominal separation (diastasis recti). So it’s normal. In recent weeks at Health Moves Physiotherapy Edwardstown I have seen 2 women with this condition. And the abnormally wide distance that can be present at 8 weeks after delivery is likely to still be there at 1 year. This in itself may not be a problem. Studies suggest that the width of the split may not be important. But the ability to develop tension across it is important for normal function.


There is no standard recommendation for exercises for these women. With the traditional view being to not over stress the abdominals during pregnancy, ie avoid crunches, but stay active and keep exercising as long as it’s comfortable, and on the advice of the Doctor. After the birth, and again as long as it’s comfortable, we have traditionally recommended drawing in the abdominals as a starting point.


Abdominal Exercises After Giving Birth

Being able to activate the deep transversus abdominis muscle prior to performing activity that will stress the abdominal area is recommended. It appears to put tension on the linea alba. And this seems to be the key in regaining full normal function. While it may not have a role in decreasing the size of the split, it puts tension across it. Tuning in to this muscle with conscious effort will help develop the timing and recruitment of it so that eventually it comes on when you need it without any thinking. The recruitment of your other abdominal muscles, and gluteal muscles may also need to be worked on. The pelvic floor muscles should also not be forgotten.


One year post pregnancy a women should have been able to progress her exercise routine, be pain free with her activities, and have regained urinary continence. An assessment of your abdominal muscle activation, and a program of guided exercises is available from physiotherapy Mawson Lakes, Health Moves, and physiotherapy Edwardstown, Health Moves.


Andrew Scott


Physiotherapy Edwardstown Health Moves

Physiotherapy Mawson Lakes Health Moves