Diastasis Recti and Safe Postpartum Recovery

Studio 512 met with Christina McGee PT, DPT, a pelvic floor physical therapist with Sullivan Physical Therapy to discuss safe recovery following childbirth. She talked to us about the importance of not rushing back to activity or exercise to allow organs and tissues to heal. Internationally, a referral to a pelvic floor physical therapist is standard postpartum and can be crucial in identifying problems and assisting healing.

Common complaints that can be addressed with pelvic floor physical therapy include:

  • urinary, fecal , or gas incontinence
  • bladder frequency and urgency
  • abdominal or pelvic pain
  • scar pain
  • pain with intercourse
  • back, pelvic, or hip pain
  • diastasis recti

The first weeks postpartum should be spent:

  • Week 1 postpartum: IN the bed- laying down. You may get up to go to the bathroom. All baby care can be performed in the bed or at bedside. Others should be responsible for cooking, housework, running after additional children. Do not be entertaining visitors. Sleep as much as your baby will allow and eat nutrient rich foods to replenish your energy stores and healing capabilities.
  • Week 2 postpartum: ON the bed. You are still mostly sedentary, but can now sit up to interact with baby, nurse, take slightly longer showers, sit in the bath. You are not doing chores or running errands.
  • Week 3 postpartum: NEAR the bed. Get up and combine some quick ingredients for a snack or walk around the house without lifting anything heavier than baby. Your day is still mostly comprised of rest and baby care, but you are not going grocery shopping and are not going out to exercise.

In the realm of exercise, gentle walking is the best way to start getting back around week 4.

Christina demonstrated how to assess for diastasis recti,a separation in the abdominal musculature- this is oftentimes present following pregnancy, but can also occur with heavy lifting or straining in men or women. A diastasis recti puts you at higher risk for spinal instability or hernia and can sometimes be painful. Sit ups and crunches should not be performed, nor should planks, deep twists, or backbending exercises.

To measure for diastasis, lay down on your back and place 2 fingers vertically at midline of abdomen. Raise your head and feel for a cleft in the middle of the abdominals as they contract. If you feel a separation, seek consultation from your practitioner. If your separation is 2 fingerwidths or greater, a physical therapy assessment is highly recommended. Recovering from delivery is a much more complex process than magazine covers make it look. A pelvic floor physical therapist can assess muscles and tissues and help you get back to painfree and safe activities and exercise.

Postpartum recovery should be handled with care and plenty of time. Christina McGee is a physical therapist at Sullivan Physical Therapy. She recommended that you be on the bed, in the bed or near the bed. Don't start exercising or doing heavy housework right off the bat. Give yourself three weeks before returning to normal activities. Potential symptoms of Diastasis Recti-- a painful pulling sensation. Not all symptoms cause pain. Another common symptom is a pooching out sensation. The team at Sullivan Physical Therapy is here for you.

Sullivan Physical Therapy

Sullivan Physical Therapy specializes in women's and men's health. Women's and Men's Health physical therapy is defined as diagnoses and treatments which address impairments of the low back, pelvis and pelvic floor. The goal of Sullivan Physical Therapy is to provide comprehensive care that encompasses strategies and interventions to promote and advance the health in women and men of all ages. Sullivan Physical Therapy has nine physical therapists who have received their doctorate in physical therapy and advance training to treat the pelvic floor. Sullivan Physical Therapy is sensitive care for sensitive diagnoses. We provide high quality and personalized health care to each patient and their family. Their approach is gentle and respectful.

Sullivan Physical Therapy is located in Northwest Austin

12411 Hymeadow Drive Building 3 Suite 3B, Austin, Texas 78750

Phone: (512) 335-9300

Website: www.sullivanphysicaltherapy.com

Twitter: @SPTClinic


Sponsored by Sullivan Physical Therapy. Opinions expressed by guests on this program are solely those of the guest(s) and are not endorsed by this television station.

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