Abdominal separation is a stretch of connective tissue called Linea Alba - a fibrotic structure made mainly of collagen (the most common protein in the body and makes up 25-30% of all proteins in the body).
During pregnancy, as a result of the changes that apply to the body, weight gain, the expansion of the uterus and the growing abdomen, there is naturally a stretch of the above-mentioned tissue which connects the muscles on both sides of the abdomen (the "rectus abdominis" muscles). The stretch created during pregnancy causes For separation of the midline. From a medical point of view, abdominal separation is defined as a stretch of 2 cm or more.
It is important to know, abdominal separation does not pose a health risk.
How do we know to diagnose abdominal separation?
As part of a routine checkup after birth, a pelvic floor physiotherapist performs an abdominal separation test.
This is a short and simple test in which the degree of separation is assessed.
The test is done using the fingers about 3-4 cm above and below the navel (usually the most significant parting around the navel).
In the examination, three components are tested:
1. The width of the separation
2. The depth of the separation
3. The muscular tension in the area
Depending on the nature of the separation, an individual treatment plan will be determined for each patient.
How can it be treated?
Naturally, the woman's body usually heals spontaneously during the first months after giving birth.
But remember! There is a window of time to treat the separation! And if there is a significant separation, the therapeutic intervention should be up to four months after the birth. The treatment is carried out by a treatment plan of a pelvic floor physiotherapist After that, the effect of the treatment diminishes, so it is worthwhile and desirable to receive guidance already during pregnancy
to help the spontaneous recovery process immediately after birth.
Did you know? About 30% of women after giving birth still remain with a separation greater than 2 cm.
As far as is known, there is no clear risk factor for abdominal separation, but there are predictive factors such as:
Multiple pregnancies/births (over 3), crowded births, previous abdominal surgeries, collagen quality and the type of birth (51% in vaginal birth vs. 62% in caesarean section).
What else is important to know?
Abdominal separation cannot be prevented.
Even if you are fit and your abs are strong there is a chance of separation.
In any case, it is recommended to continue physical activity throughout all stages of pregnancy according to ability and of course you should consult with professionals who specialize in the field so that the work is of high quality and accurate.
The writer Hadas Gabbai Ashosh - certified physiotherapist Mpt, specialist in pelvic floor rehabilitation
Abdominal parting (Photo: ShutterStock)
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