Exercises for pregnant and postpartum women with diastasis recti abdominis – literature review
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Introduction Diastasis recti abdominis is a pathological condition at the linea alba in which rectus abdominis muscles separate. It occurs mainly in pregnant and postpartum women. Changes in the linea alba area are caused by stress to the tissue and pregnancy induced hormonal changes which lead to the loosening of abdominal connective tissue. This pathological condition is not manifested with any pain symptoms but the effects which may develop as a result of diastasis recti abdominis may cause pain. This literature review study discusses the non-surgical methods of treating diastasis recti abdominis by reducing the distance between the two parts of the rectus abdominis muscle. Material and methods Scientific literature on physiotherapy, surgical treatment and diagnostics of diastasis recti abdominis in pregnant and postpartum women from the last 15 years was analysed. Such databases as Google Scholar, PubMed, ScienceDirect, Ebsco and MedLine were used in the analysis and 11 publications were considered. Results Having analysed the available literature, it was concluded that abdominal exercises can prevent or reduce diastasis recti abdominis. However, the analysis did not reveal which method of treatment was the most effective. Conclusions This review of the literature revealed that there is not currently a gold standard method of treating diastasis recti abdominis. However, abdominal exercises during pregnancy reduce the risk of this condition postpartum. Diastasis recti abdominis may be reduced even a few years after childbirth by implementing appropriate treatment including a special training programme focusing on strengthening anterior abdominal wall and learning to maintain a proper body posture during activities of daily living.
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