FitPro’s: Questions to Consider When You Find Post Natal Rectus Diastasis

17 May
By Jenny Burrell BSc (Hons), Founder of Burrell Education, Specialist For Pregnancy and Post Natal Fitness & Therapy, London, UK. www.burrelleducation.com

As a health and fitness professional serving Post Natal clients, there are (in my opinion) 5 major confounding issues that the client presents with when employing the service of a specialist fitpro….in no particular order:
1.  A wobbly stomach with stretched skin and poor muscular tension/tone and a general feeling of disconnect to the abdominals.
2.  How to get rid of a C-Section tummy that overhangs her scar.
3.  A malfunctioning pelvic floor leading to at best urinary leakage, at worst faecal incontinence.
4.  A palpable gap at the midline of the abdominals, technical term: Rectus Diastasis or Distension and when/if it will close.
5.  How to get rid of ‘baby fat’!
This post relates to a few other factors to bear in mind when a client presents with a Distension (Diastasis) beyond simply measuring the gap and deciding what type of programming is suitable for her present state.
1.  How old is the clients’ ‘baby’?  – The older the Distension, the less likely that it will close completely ie., a 6 month PN client is in a much likelier position than a 2 year PN client.
2.  How old is the client?  – A younger mother (under 30) is generally in a better position regarding Collagen and Elastin production compared to an older mom (sorry!).
3.  What is the condition of the midline?  Papery/slack and offering very little resistance or can gap be felt but midline has good tension that can withstand pressure?  – Having a distension (gap between the bellies of the Rectus Abdominis) doesn’t necessarily mean that you are doomed to a life of poor core strength, incontinence and back pain.  For example, many fitness professionals who returned to work early to teach classes and exercised inappropriately often have fantastic looking midsections and fully-functioning core’s with a a Distension.  Their Rectus bellies can be separated but their midline is strong on palpation and more than able to do its job of withstanding intra-abdominal pressure when required to.
3.  If the client had a previous birth, what were the conditions of the abdominals before and after the previous baby?Previously separated abdominals are less like to return to a fully closed position after a second and third pregnancy and birth.
4.  Was there a short space of time between two pregnancies? – Connective tissue needs time to heal, short time-frames between pregnancies is less ideal and mothers with short gaps between pregnancies are more likely to experience poorer tissue resoration post birth compared to those who have had a longer ‘healing period’ between births.
5.  What kind of abdominal work/sport has the client been performing post birth and prior to coming to see you the Trainer.  What’s her occupation and daily activity levels? – I once assessed a fitness professional with a Distension to find that she taught 2 Spin Classes, 4 Body Pumps and led a running club.  She had a two year old distension that probably would remain as her work activities and full schedule did not allow for modification to the quantity of stress placed on her abdominal muscles – incidentally, she had a firm midline and didn’t experience any back pain or incontinence!

6.  Does the client experience any back pain or pain during her activities of daily life (ADL’s)? Especially in the case of a longstanding Distension with a firm mid-line, if the client has good continence and no back pain and is happy with her tummy…..who are we try to ‘fix’ her.
 
Answers to all of the above questions will give you a much fuller picture of your clients’ true core strength and capabilities and help you create a more realistic core strength programme suitable for the demands of her life.

www.burrelleducation.com – Passionate About Pregnancy & Post Natal Health & Fitness Education FOREVER! 

Visit the SITE and FACEBOOK PAGE for BRILLIANT CPD COURSES IN THE UK


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3 Responses to “FitPro’s: Questions to Consider When You Find Post Natal Rectus Diastasis”

  1. wendy powell (@mutusystem) October 26, 2011 at 11:55 am #

    Great stuff as always Jenny – frank, realistic & sound advice! 🙂

  2. Lidia Romero May 23, 2012 at 9:20 pm #

    Fantastic reflexions!!! Thanks Jenny!!!=o)

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