Diastasis of the rectus abdominis muscles is a separation of the linea alba, a connective tissue that acts like straps joining the muscles in the middle of the abdomen. This is mostly common in pregnant women, as the tissue attachments widen and split to accommodate the growing fetus. In severe cases the split may affect the ability to recruit the rectus abdominis and may result in pain and dysfunction of the abdominals, back and pelvis. The abdominals are protruding and it is often called mommy tummy
How to check for separation:
Every pregnant student starting week 20 onwards and all post natal students should be checked for rectus separation.
Student is in supine with knees bent and feet flat on the floor, hip width apart. Place three middle fingers across, 2-4 cm above the students navel. Ask her to keep her abdominals relaxed and lift her head.
Can you feel the two halves of the muscle coming together? Can you fit fingers in that space? How deep can they go?
If there is a separation
Two halves wont come together significantly
More than 2 fingers can fit in
You can get the finger quite deep into the separation
What to do in case of separation?
Make sure her caregiver is aware of it.
It is wildly thought that a lot of sit-ups will flatten the stomach, but in fact, there are far more effective exercises. Focus on isometric contractions (while keeping the spine flat) will encourage the abdominals muscles to move in and up as opposed to flexion exercises that can promoted a bulging of the abdominals.