Abdominal separation in pregnancy

I’ve finally hit my third trimester and at 28 weeks am on the home stretch. I can’t believe I made it this far in one piece! Definitely at the stage where I’m already wishing this baby out of me. My pregnant belly is not as big as I thought it would be at this point in time, in fact people keep commenting on how “small” I am. Of course every woman is different. Just like we all come in different shapes and sizes before we fell pregnant, so too do our growing protruding bellies. Although, having said that, I still feel like I’m being stretched beyond belief!

Lately I’ve really been suffering from ligament/muscle pain in the sides of my stomach – especially under my rib cage. Some days I get pain down just the one side of my belly, running from my rib cage all the way down to my pelvis. The sensation I get is as if the muscles are desperately trying to stretch to accommodate my growing baby, but my body just won’t surrender. Previous to falling pregnant I was at the gym regularlyabsep (loved working on my abs) and also attended yoga at least once a week. So I feel that due to the outward pressure my expanding uterus is internally placing on my abdominal muscles, it has caused the two sides of my ‘six pack’ to separate, rather than stretch like they’re supposed to. I have come to learn this is known as ‘abdominal separation’ or ‘diastasis recti’.

It’s believed a high percentage of woman experience some form of abdominal separation in pregnancy, particularly in the third trimester. When assessed correctly, abdominal separation is defined by being able to fit more than 2 to 3 fingers in-between your separated muscles – my ‘gap’ has been measured at 8 centimeters or around 3 to 4 fingers wide (depends on how slender your fingers are). There are also factors such as being in my mid 30’s, this being my second pregnancy and having an anterior pelvic tilt, that means I’m more susceptible to abdominal separation. Back in my first pregnancy (when I was much younger) I was not aware of such a thing, but also did not suffer from it, so didn’t have to be. 

Apparently a little abdominal separation is unavoidable. That actually even after birth and recovery, the two sides of your abdominal muscles never really come back together as they did prior to pregnancy. In fact, woman are more than likely to at least have a 1cm gap remain postpartum. For most woman who are affected by ‘abdominal separation’ it’s nothing to worry about and they’re stomach muscles will eventually return to normal (well almost). Although some will unfortunately need to follow a postnatal exercise program to rehabilitate the muscles – as I will. 

Before I go, I’d like to briefly mention a serious issue that many a Mumma-to-be have to tackle and that I have recently discovered myself…. loosing the ability to put your own bloody shoes on. The struggle is real peeps! It’s an annoying battle between your preggy-belly-bulge and being able to bend over. I’m slowly loosing this usually basic ability and it’s becoming a nuisance. All I can say is “Hooray” for flip-flips. 

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