Abdominal Muscle Separation, also known as Diastasis of the Rectus Abdominus Muscle (DRAM)
What is it?
DRAM is the separation of the connective tissue along the midline of the abdominal muscles. In some cases, this separation can also be evident on effort or exertion where a bulging can be seen along the mid-line.
What causes it?
A study has found that 100% of women experience some form of DRAM during pregnancy (Mota et al , 2015) due to the following factors:Weight gain & increase size of tummyHormonal ChangesAbdominal weakness
What happens after pregnancy?
Abdominal separation is a natural mechanism of pregnancy to accommodate for the growing foetus.
The separation itself is not a medical emergency, however, the impaired abdominal wall function & weakened deep core muscles can result in back pain, pelvic pain, constipation and in rare cases a hernia. In addition, this condition can be associated feelings of negative body image & reduced self-confidence
This separation generally resolves within 6-8 weeks post-partum. In some cases, this laxity remains and varying levels of separation can result.
Those women that may be at greater risk of persistent post-natal separation:
- Aged > 35years
- Increase in weight or size of baby/babies
- Previous pregnancies (>3 especially)
- Pre-existing separation
Further risk factors for DRA include:
- Heavy or poor lifting techniques
- Chronic straining (constipation, cough etc)
- Excessive abdominal loading (i.e. exercise)
Coming soon Part 2 How to check and manage a DRAM……
If you suspect you have an abdominal separation and need further advise or guidance contact us via email on firstname.lastname@example.org or make a booking HERE
By Sarah Henderson
Sarah has completed post-graduate study in women’s health & manual therapy of the pelvic floor, gaining experience in conditions relating to the pelvic region including pregnancy-related pain, postnatal rehabilitation, urinary incontinence, pelvic organ prolapse, diastasis rectus abdominus, as well as pre & post-surgical recovery of the pelvic region.