Abdominal diastasis: how to solve it?

January 8, 2024

In today’s article, we discuss a rather disabling problem that few people know about, abdominal diastasis. It is little talked about, partly because we often shut ourselves in a shell of clothes and uncertainties that undermine our relationships and our self-esteem.

We look in the mirror and see a different, unrecognizable body we do not feel is ours.

Pregnancy brings with it many good things, but behind it, it leaves marks that could change a woman’s life forever.
Other problems, on the other hand, are invisible, but just as present such as postpartum depression. Today we talk about diastasis, a sneaky enemy that few people know.

What are the symptoms of abdominal diastasis?

Abdominal Diastasis is a separation of the rectus abdominis muscles.
It is a normal condition that occurs during pregnancy, but it becomes a complication when, a few months after delivery, the muscles do not return to their original position.

The abdominal muscles can no longer work as they did before and cannot contain the part of the abdomen within them.

When this happens, we tend to blame ourselves for our physical appearance, we look at ourselves in the mirror judging our shape as necessarily our fault, poor physical activity, improper nutrition, and our inability to get in shape after pregnancy.

This great tension inevitably falls on the lives of those around us, on our family and children, it is difficult to enjoy the first moments of our baby’s life, to rejoice in the small daily moments and sharing.

But Abdominal Diastasis is a pathology and not a fault. How does it appear?

What causes abdominal diastasis?

More than six months after giving birth, does the belly remain swollen enough to look like a new pregnancy? Despite diet and exercise, does your belly not decrease, if at all, tend to bulge after meals?

In these cases, you may be suffering from abdominal diastasis.

The most common issues related to this condition are:

  • back pain
  • instability of the pelvis
  • pain in the hips
  • difficulty with digestion
  • difficulty evacuating
  • incontinence
  • nausea
  • poor posture

There is an initial self-diagnosis that can be done at home. However, afterward, it is advisable to contact the nearest specialist for an ultrasound, surgical examination, preoperative examinations and, if necessary, surgery.
The intervention is determined by the specialist based on the results of the examinations. There is no one type of surgery, but it is tailored to the patient.

Who to turn to?

In Italy, there is the ODV Italian Diastasis Association that deals with just that. Through the Association you get in touch with mothers who share the same problem, mothers who have overcome the difficulty, and give support to those still facing the surgery.

Sharing is crucial, as is support.

The Association took a petition to the Ministry of Health to point out the difficulties women face in getting support from the state.

Those who want to get support through the SSN (National Health Service) have to put themselves in long waiting lines, which go as long as a year before they can access the intervention.

If you are facing this difficulty, know that you are not alone.
At the bottom of the article, you will find direct links to get in touch with the Association.

There might be equivalent associations in your country, make sure you do some research to find the closest one, as it can be of real help in your situation.

What can I do to prevent abdominal diastasis?

Abdominal Diastasis affects 1 in 3 women. The cause is not entirely clear, unfortunately. It is more common, however, in some cases:

  • the advanced age of the mother-to-be (over 35 years old)
  • a fetus with a high weight
  • a twin pregnancy
  • previous pregnancies
  • muscle weakening
  • excessive physical activity
  • chronic cough
  • obesity

To prevent it, during pregnancy, it would be advisable to:

  • pay attention to posture when walking
  • sit or bend in the right way
  • be followed by a physical therapist
  • do exercises to strengthen the pelvic floor muscles
  • avoid full hypopressive gymnastics during pregnancy

Although the condition is common to many mothers, there are many different interventions depending on the specific case.

Abdominal Diastasis in Men

Yes, Abdominal Diastasis also affects men, clearly not as a result of pregnancy, but for other reasons:

  • excessive weight
  • repeated efforts in physically demanding work
  • overly intense workouts
  • genetics

The Association, again, also gives support to men facing the same problem.

Unity is strength, dialogue helps to share, and support is essential.

We are with you.

At Parentalife, we understand how hard this condition can be to accept and we support you throughout the parenting journey. We do this with our guides, classes and targeted counseling.

Remember, during this journey you will never be alone, we are with you.

Fonti

1. Jessen ML, Öberg S, Rosenberg J. Treatment Options for Abdominal Rectus Diastasis. Front Surg. 2019 Nov 19;6:65. doi: 10.3389/fsurg.2019.00065. PMID: 31803753; PMCID: PMC6877697.
2. https://www.diastasiaddominale.com/
Articolo aggiornato il 21 Novembre 2023