Have you noticed a little dome in your belly since giving birth?
Or do you feel like you can’t get rid of that “mummy tummy”?
If you answered yes to these questions, you might have Diastasis of the Rectus Abdominal Muscle (DRAM). Keep reading to learn more.
DRAM is a separation between the linea alba and the muscles that people commonly call the six-pack. A common misconception of this condition is that the two sides of the six-pack pull apart and actually separate. This however, is a myth. The linea alba is a strong piece of connective tissue called fascia. This structure is put under a significant stress when we are pregnant or you put on a heap of weight. Tension through the linea alba, along with hormone changes associated with pregnancy leads to the linea alba thinning. This affects the ability of this muscle to correctly contract and hold the tummy contents in. Voila! Mummy Tummy.
There is so much information out there saying that developing DRAM is a disaster. It has now become a scary thing to be diagnosed with because Dr. Google makes it sound like you will never recover. In reality, 97% of women will have a degree of DRAM by the end of their third trimester. The level and degree of separation is different for each person. What they don’t tell you is that the greatest recovery occurs between day one and eight weeks after birth.
So the real question is “does this really lead to as many issues as Dr. Google says”? Research around whether this contributes to musculoskeletal dysfunction is still out for debate. Some studies show that there is a link to pelvic/back pain, incontinence, pelvic organ prolapse and even painful sex. Other studies show there is no correlation to pain at all. Clinically we see a variation of symptoms depending on the size of the DRAM, previous medical history and so many more factors.
So what can you do about DRAM? Keep reading, these four tips might change your life!
- Wear a tubigrip or support shorts to help support the abdominals
- Perform deep abdominal and pelvic floor exercises
- Supervised Pilates sessions
This is something that physiotherapy can be very effective with treating. Women’s health physiotherapists have extensive training in how to teach you to active your core, breathing muscles and effectively “close the gap” of your separation. We do this by providing the perfect mix of hands on treatment to help the surrounding tissues/bones move better, proving you with effective advice to manage your condition and strengthening of the surrounding muscles to close the gap.
If this is something you would some help with, make sure you reach out. We would love to help.