This depends on a range of different factors including genetics, general health and nutrition, how much damage has occurred to the connective tissue and exercise activities. You can certainly use abdominal supports and specific exercises to regain your most optimal function.
Can it get worse?
The short answer is yes. If you have not learnt to control the abdominals effectively during high intensity activities, this can place further strain through the linea alba. You can usually check this yourself by placing your hand on your tummy and checking for any doming through the midline of the abdominal wall. Common exercises that place high strain through the abdominals include: running, jumping, full sit-ups, planks, burpees and some traditional Pilates and Yoga exercises including the jack-knife, double leg lowers and torso twist positions.
How can I improve my abdominal separation?
The earlier you begin gentle abdominal rehabilitation, the better the outcome. This includes, but is not limited to – exercises focusing on posture, breathing, pelvic floor, abdominals and pelvic and lower back stabilisers. Belly bands, compression shorts and following a healthy nutrition plan can also aid in recovery. Remember that strengthening your core isn’t limited to abdominal exercises!
What will happen if I do nothing?
In some cases, your abdominals may heal themselves within the first year following child birth. If you have separation greater than 2cm, you have an increased risk of developing a hernia and developing lower back pain. Studies have also shown a greater percentage of abdominal separation in women with urinary incontinence and pelvic organ prolapse, however we do not know which one effects the other!
If you have a separation greater than 2cm, or you notice doming through the linea alba, it is best to have an assessment before commencing any group exercise. You may need to find a specialised class suitable for post-natal women, such as our postnatal pilates or reformer classes!
If you're unsure how you're recovering after birth, or think abdominal separation may be an issue, book an appointment with Rhyannon now!