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Every Pregnant Women Should Be Aware of Diastasis Recti After Giving Birth!

Every Pregnant Women Should Be Aware of Diastasis Recti After Giving Birth!

Every mother will agree that giving birth and becoming a mother is the most beautiful thing in the world. It is probably the bravest and most generous role one can accept. Mothers take on the biggest responsibility – giving birth and taking care of another human being. Quite often, this role completely overtakes their life, in a sense that their health and wellbeing becomes of secondary importance. This is why at most mums gatherings, children health and wellbeing are the only topics discussed. Even though there is sometimes not enough time to discuss the topics of post-pregnancy health, it is an important issue that deserves more awareness and attention since it affects a great number of new mums.

One of such post-pregnancy health issues is diastasis recti – a widening of the gap between the two sections of (Rectus Abdominis) abdominal muscle located at the front of the abdomen due to the growth of the uterus. The condition usually develops in the late pregnancy and is most noticeable after delivery. In some cases, the separation of the tissue can lessen in a couple of months after the childbirth, while in some cases the condition may last up to a year or longer.

Aside from health concerns that include weakened muscles and lower back pain, women going through diastasis recti experience a series of other difficulties, such as not being able to wear their usual jeans, as they simply don’t fit, even when they weigh the same as they did before pregnancy; or being frustrated with the fact that they have been able to shed all of the baby weight and still to have to carry a tummy that looks like they are pregnant.

What causes diastasis recti?

Even though it is most common in pregnant women, pregnancy doesn’t actually cause diastasis recti. It is quite possible that a great majority of people struggle with this since 98+ women have diastasis after delivery .

Diastasis recti is in fact, caused by intense intra-abdominal pressure or loading which is heightened by pregnancy, yet can be caused by an injury or surgery, therefore, men and children can also suffer from it.

Similarly to other pelvic and abdominal problems – hernia and prolapse, diastasis recti is directly caused by unsupported intra-abdominal pressure. The reason why most pregnant women face the condition is the weight of the baby that puts additional pressure on the connective abdominal tissue.

Who is more likely to have it?

Even though, as previously mentioned, children and men can suffer from diastasis recti as well, it is most common in women, especially pregnant women. Women are more likely to develop diastasis recti

  • If they have a petite physique
  • If they have had multiple pregnancies
  • If they became pregnant later in life – later than 35
  • If they deliver a baby who has a high birth weight
  • If they have poor muscle tone
  • If they have a sway back posture

How Do You Check If You Have It?

Bear in mind that you should always consult your doctor for a professional medical diagnosis and advice. That being said, there a couple of ways for you to check at home, before consulting a doctor.

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Lie on your back. Bend your knees with your feet flat on the floor.

  1. Lift your head and neck slightly off the floor, and press your fingers above you belly button.
  2. Repeat by pressing over the belly button and below it.
  3. If the gap between the muscles is bigger than 1-2 finger wide, you should consult your doctor about the possible diastasis recti symptoms.

Additionally, pay close attention to the tension in the gap. In the cases of diastasis recti, the tension in the midline is weak to non-existent, which could be one of the symptoms of the condition.

Watch the two videos for more detailed explanation of the self-examination process.

If You Have Diastasis recti, What Are The Do’s and Don’ts

What You Need To Do:

There are a great number of advice on how to treat diastasis recti, and many facts to be aware of if you have been diagnosed with the condition.

Be careful with exercise

Some types of exercises like planks, push-ups, sit-ups, crunches, some yoga poses (downward dog) and swimming can make matters even worse.

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Consult your doctor

Before starting any type of abdominal exercise, before or after pregnancy, make sure to ask your doctor first on how it will affect the possible development of the diastasis.

Treat the condition

Make sure to consult your doctor and find the best solution for you. There are some treatments and exercise programs that have been quite helpful in a majority of cases of diastasis recti. Some of them include the MuTu System, the Tupler technique, Fit2b, and The Tummy Team. Pilates is an other great way to strengthen the core muscles, before or during pregnancy, but make sure to choose a professional trainer who understands diastasis recti so that they can tailor the exercise to meet your specific needs.

What You Shouldn’t Do:

Even though traditional ab exercises can help to keep the abdominal muscles strong and prevent the diastasis recti, once the condition is determined it is suggested not to involve in any type of traditional ab workout.

No crunches

Helene Byrne, a prenatal and postpartum health and fitness expert suggests avoiding crunches, oblique curls, reverse curls, and roll-ups, since, at this point, it is not good for the recovery to involve in exercises that involve twisting the spine or work the abdominal wall against the force of gravity.

Don’t strain

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Any type of activity that involves straining the mid-line, such as sit-ups, planks, or heavy lifting is strictly forbidden since it can strain the connective tissue and make the separation between muscles even bigger, explains Kevin Brenner, M.D., F.A.C.S., a board certified plastic and reconstructive surgeon based in Beverly Hills.

Backbends are off limits

According to Ben Butts, P.T., director of rehabilitation services and Performance Therapy at Providence Saint John’s Health Center in Santa Monica, California, any type of exercises that involve spinal extension movements can put additional pressure on the abdominal tissue and should, therefore be avoided during the healing process.

Can You prevent Diastasis Recti?

Even though so many of us are prone to developing diastasis recti, it is possible to lessen or completely prevent the condition from developing.

Before pregnancy

Health and fitness experts suggest taking care of your body long before planning pregnancy, with special attention to strengthening your core abdominal muscles. This will lessen the chances for the separation of the muscles later during pregnancy.

During pregnancy

Preventive measures you can do during pregnancy include more subtle, yet important actions. One of those includes the log roll maneuver as Ben Butts, P.T., director of rehabilitation services and Performance Therapy at Providence Saint John’s Health Center in Santa Monica, California suggests. The maneuver requires getting out of bed by rolling onto one side, keeping your head and torso aligned, and then using your arms to push yourself up. In this way, you are protecting your muscles from separating.

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There are plenty of workout programs that specifically target the postpartum recovery and women dealing with diastasis recti, one of which is The Dia Method that provides effective exercise plan to help you regain your pre-baby belly and weight.

Do postpartum splints or corset binders really help?

Splinting is considered as a part of postpartum tradition around the world, as a means for women to heal faster and lose the baby tummy sooner. Yet, nowadays there are two opposing views concerning postpartum splinting, both providing facts in their favor.

The pro binding facts include it being great addition to mild and focused exercises, with researches and users showing its effectiveness on healing the diastasis recti problem.

On the other hand, the opposing view suggests that splinting is not only ineffective in resolving diastasis , but it can also be counter-effective and prevent body from healing.

Even though both views are strongly defended, many patients have actually found that the combined approach worked best, as best results were achieved by using the splint to protect the abdominal muscles and to become aware of the muscle they are using, and then doing mild exercises suggested by specialists’ programs.

Exercises you can do after giving birth

There are great post baby workouts you can do at home when you want to get rid of baby belly or to heal the tissue separation caused by diastasis, yet you need to make sure to always consult your doctor for professional advice before starting any workout program. Here are some of the best exercises to do at home after delivery.

Featured photo credit: Pixabay via pixabay.com

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Published on September 21, 2020

The Danger of Overscheduling Your Kids

The Danger of Overscheduling Your Kids

I am a parent of three children aged 8, 6, and 6. Like many parents, I struggle with knowing the right balance of activities for them. I don’t want my kids to miss out on opportunities to play sports and participate in activities that will enhance their lives and help them grow as individuals. However, I also don’t want them to become overscheduled kids, to the extent that they get worn out and stressed out.

There is a balance in providing activities for our children and overscheduling them. The tendency for the latter is prevalent these days. Our lives — and the lives of our kids — are increasingly overscheduled and overworked. Thus, we need to understand the dangers of having overscheduled kids and how to prevent this from happening in our own families.

What’s Wrong with Overscheduling Your Kids?

1. Overscheduling Can Burn Out Our Kids

When our kids are on the go and scheduled to the max from a young age, their potential to get burned out before reaching high school is quite high. The New York Times reported some research on burnout and found that burnout with kids relates to their workload, along with their parents’ propensity to experience it.[1] This means that overworked children are more likely to get burned out than others. Similarly, overscheduled parents tend to have overscheduled kids more often than not.

Burnout

When a person is burned out, they feel overwhelmed and exhausted by what others expect them to get done daily. Children who are involved in too many activities with little to no downtime have a high chance of experiencing burnout. When parents place too many expectations on their kids, they also have an increased potential to burn out.

If you get the sense that your child is feeling overworked or overwhelmed by their daily activities, you need to know which ones can be cut back. If they have too many activities outside of school work, for instance, then that is one area that likely needs to be downsized.

An overworked child will present various symptoms like moodiness, irritability, crankiness, despondency, anger, stomach aches, headaches, rebellion, etc. Cutting back their activities will help to relieve their stress and reduce the said burnout signs. If your kid has severe burnout symptoms, though, then professional help from a pediatrician or therapist for children should be sought.

Downtime

Downtime is key to helping relieve burnout. If children don’t have free time during the day to have any rest, they are more likely to become burned out than others. Downtime means unorganized free time to do what they enjoy or relax. Cut back your kids’ extra-curricular activities if they don’t have downtime in their schedule.

Here are more tips on creating downtime for the children: How to Create Downtime for Kids.

2. Overscheduling Kills Playtime and Creativity

Kids need time to be kids. When their schedules are filled every day with activities like organized ballet, soccer, and music lessons, and they only take a break for dinner and bedtime, then they are overscheduled. They need to have free time after school to relax and play. When they don’t have that and proceed from one scheduled activity to the next, they are missing out on playtime.

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Playtime is crucial to child development. If they cannot get enough time to play, then their ability to develop their creativity decreases. The Genius of Play explains that there are six major developmental benefits that children get from playtime:[2]

  • Creativity
  • Social skill development
  • Cognitive development
  • Physical development (i.e., balance, coordination)
  • Communication skills
  • Emotional development

If children don’t have time to play because they are always on-the-go, then they are missing out on the developmental benefits of play.

Children need downtime after school so that they can unwind, play, and decompress. Research from the Journal of Early Childhood Development and Care showed that kids need to play to deal with anxiety, stress, and worry.[3] Playtime provides an outlet for them to manage these emotions in a healthy manner and helps with the development of their creativity.

Children need free time to play every day. Fifteen minutes at recess is not enough. They need time for it after school, at home, outside of the constraints of scheduled activities.

Solution

Ensure that your child has time to play after school. This is especially important for young children who greatly benefit from playing. Limit organized activities so that your child is not scheduled every day and can play after school. If they have an activity every hour, then it doesn’t allow for playtime.

3. Overscheduling Causes Stress and Pressure

When kids are overscheduled because their parents are so intent on having high-performing children, then they will feel stressed. Parental pressure upon a child to do well in academics, music, multiple sports, and religious studies is a reality for many kids. The children scheduled in all of these activities can often feel stress and pressure, especially when they are expected to succeed in all of them.

It is hard enough for kids to be good or succeed at a single activity. For a parent to overschedule their child and expect superior performance in various activities, that is a recipe for a stressed-out child.

Solution

Parents should not schedule kids in multiple activities with the expectation of superior performance in all. They should also consider the child’s interests. If the child is not interested in one activity, then they are likely to feel stressed and pressured to do it.

For example, if Suzy has been taking piano lessons for four years, and she no longer enjoys learning the instrument, then perhaps it is time to take a break. If Suzy is forced to continue with the lessons and daily practices, then she may feel pressured to continue performing simply because her mom wants her to do so. This can lead Suzy to resent her mother for forcing her to keep on doing something that she doesn’t like anymore.

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Let your child help in selecting the activities that they get involved in. Also, put a cap on the number of activities they are doing. If they have a different activity every weekday, then they are likely overscheduled.

Kids need downtime and time to play, too. If they need to do a new activity every day, that downtime is diminished, considering the time at home or outside of the scheduled activities is limited. This limited time is then filled with homework, mealtime, and bedtime prep. Eliminating activities several days a week will allow the child to have some time to play freely. The younger the kid is, the more time they need playtime. As they get older, they can take on more activities; however, under the age of 13, playing daily is a must for children.

4. Healthy Eating Falls by the Wayside

Any parent who’s busy chauffeuring multiple kids to different activities after school knows how tempting fast food can become. Fast food, however, leads to less healthy food choices. French fries and hamburgers — the staple combo in most fast-food joints — cannot help your child thrive nutritionally.

When families are overscheduled, they tend to go for easy and quick meals. When rushed, many of us make poor food choices because we aren’t taking the time to think about a meal’s nutritional value and a balanced diet for our children.

5. Family Mealtimes Become a Thing of the Past

When we are taking our kids to sports and other extra-curricular activities that fall during dinnertime, the family often misses out on sharing a meal at home.

This is true in our own home. There are certain nights of the week that we have practices, and so we either eat together early (if possible) or eat separately, depending on what our schedules allow.

There is so much value in having family dinners. It provides an opportunity for family members to discuss their day, including their work and school activities. It is a time when technology is set aside so that everyone can truly focus on communicating with one another and catching up on what is happening in each other’s lives. When a kid’s activities are scheduled every evening, then that family time at the dining table gets lost. Dinnertime becomes a thing of the past as we overschedule kids and ourselves.

Try learning more about family time here: How to Maximize Family Time? 13 Simple Ways You Can Try Immediately.

Solution

Assess our schedule during the week to ensure that there’s always time for dinner with the family. Make it a point to establish a dinnertime schedule for the evenings that you do not have prior engagements scheduled. Remember: the time that you have with your kids under your roof is fleeting. Before long, they will be grownups and start living on their own. You need not dismiss or minimize the opportunity to bond with your children over meals.

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Having family mealtimes also allows you to make excellent food choices. This way, parents can create balanced and healthy meals and teach their children about the importance of eating good food for their bodies.

How to Turn Things Around?

1. Fix the Displaced Ambitions

Parents with overscheduled kids often mean well. They want their children to succeed, so they give them every chance to make it happen. They sign them up for various lessons, sports, and activities that may help the kids find success in life.

In other cases, the parent probably didn’t get such opportunities when they were young and felt that they missed out on many things. Hence, they provide those missed opportunities to their kids during their own childhood.

Carla is an example of such a parent. Carla always wanted to take dance and ballet classes as a child. She heard her friends talk about dance classes and performances, and they would even bring recital photos to school, showing their beautiful, detailed costumes. Carla wanted to be in those dance classes and learn ballet and have the opportunity to perform in a beautiful costume in front of an audience. Unfortunately, her family could not afford to give her that opportunity.

When Carla gave birth to a baby girl, she had visions of her little one growing big enough to take dance, ballet, and even tap classes someday. She was looking forward to dressing her daughter in dance costumes and watching her take lessons and eventually performing in recitals. When Carla’s daughter Anna was old enough to enroll at a dance class at four years old, she was thrilled. However, after a few months, it became clear that Anna was not enjoying these classes. She would cry before every lesson, begging Carla to let her stay home and not go to class. Her daughter had no interest in learning to dance.

In truth, it happens to many parents. They would enroll their kid in an activity that they wanted to do as a child but never got to try. Unfortunately, a parent’s interest is not always the same as that of their kids’. The child may humor mom or dad for some time and do the activity out of compliance. But if the child does not enjoy it anymore, they will eventually make things clear to their parents.

Parents should listen to their children. If the activity is something that they do not enjoy doing, ask the children what they think they would like to do, and then eliminate activities that they are not into. Similarly, teach them commitment by finishing a program, but don’t enroll them again in the same class if they absolutely do not want to do it.

Let the kids try different activities at a young age. Sometimes they don’t know if they like something until they try it out.

2. Try Clinics of Camps Before Committing

Don’t enroll your child in three sports at the same time to see which one they like or excel at. Doing so will make your kid overscheduled. Instead, you can use the summer break or preseason camps or clinics to try a variety of activities they are interested in.

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As an example, all three of my children said that they wanted to do lacrosse. We had already tried soccer, and it was not successful for two out of three of them. They would rather chase butterflies down the field or play tag than actually participate in their games. Therefore, before committing to lacrosse and spending a great deal of money on their gear, I signed them up for a sample clinic. It was a one-day program that intended to expose children to the sport and see if they would perhaps enjoy playing it. I was surprised to find that the three kids enjoyed lacrosse, so we signed up for the season. It was nice to be able to see them try out the sport in a clinic before committing to an entire season.

Most towns and cities have parks and recreation department. This is often a good place to check for clinics and camps for various activities. Our local department even offers art and dance classes. Most of them meet between two and four times total, so the children can get some exposure to the activity before signing them up at a private facility for a more long-term commitment.

3. Take an Inventory of Your Weekly Activities

Often, we do an activity without reflecting on how much we are already committed to doing each week. Before we commit to any more activities, we must be willing to look at everything that each family member does. Every child’s commitment is another responsibility for the parent as well. Parents must take children to and from each practice, so you need to consider the drive time for any activity.

For instance, if each of my three kids signed up for three different activities each week, I would be running myself ragged. Three activities for three kids means taking them to nine activities during the week. That doesn’t include the games that will likely be scheduled on the weekends. Three activities for every child, therefore, is too much for our family.

If some practices overlap on the schedule, then you need two parents or responsible adults to transport the children to different locations. Before you sign them up for multiple activities, you need to factor downtime, stress levels, and your ability to take them to each activity in the equation.

Consider the following before your kids can commit to various activities:

  • What is the time commitment for the child each week? Do they have enough energy and stamina for the activities? Do they get enough downtime daily to prevent burnout?
  • Is practice time required outside of their scheduled team practices and games?
  • How long is the travel time for you as a parent, along with wait time during practices? Do you have time allowances for these activities in your own schedule?
  • Does the activity time conflict with other activities on the schedule? Will it eliminate family dinners on a regular basis?
  • Does the child really want to do the activity?
  • What is the motivation for signing up for the activity?
  • Is this activity or commitment going to cause a great deal of stress on the child or other family members?

Check out these time-management tips for parents: 10 Time Management Tips Every Busy Parent Needs to Know.

Get The Kids Active and Involved!

Despite everything, it does not mean that you shouldn’t sign your child up for different activities like sports, music, dance, karate, etc. They are all great activities that can help children develop a variety of valuable life skills. The goal is to enroll them in things that they genuinely enjoy and avoid overscheduling kids by not letting them sign up for too many activities at a time.

More Tips for Scheduling Kids’ Activities

Featured photo credit: Kelly Sikkema via unsplash.com

Reference

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