Abdominal Separation is known as DRAM, or Diastasis Recti. It refers to the stretching of the line of tissue (the linea alba) that runs down the centre of the rectus abdominis muscles (the ‘6 pack’ part of our stomachs).
It’s fairly common as the belly grows during pregnancy for this to happen, as the muscles need to ‘slacken off’ in order to make room for the baby. It doesn’t always create a problem – but the severity of the gap can vary - and this is the main difference. Like anything it can be made worse or better by the things that we do in our daily life – so it’s important to know what those things are.
The answer is absolutely YES. The key is to measure the separation, along with feeling the integrity along that linea alba (does it feel jelly like, or have some tone?).
Figure out where along the linea alba the gap is most prominent, and then do segmental rehabilitation exercises that progress in difficulty as the gap decreases.
If you rehab it properly before you launch into the hard core exercise (no pun intended) you will build enough intergrity to be withstand the pressure of harder exercises.
When we don’t do that, either from a lack of patience or a lack of proper support in knowing how to, it leaves an unstable section. The body will always ‘break’ at the weakest link in the chain, which is when women get recurring pain, or injuries that keep coming back.
For a full program that rehabilitates the core from the deepest layer out, check out The Core and Pelvic Floor Program.
Kristy Ahale is an Exercise Scientist who specialises in injury, rehabilitation and postpartum conditions.