Understanding diastasis recti – part 1

Mind the gap - understanding diastasis recti

There is so much pressure nowadays for mums to “bounce back” after having a baby. We are bombarded with unhelpful celebrity photos showing us A-listers back in their bikinis weeks after giving birth with seemingly no effect on their figures. Those of us living in the real world know that it’s not that simple, and as a physio with a special interest in pre/post natal exercise, I would urge you not to rush back into an exercise that your bodies are simply not yet ready for.

But yes, here at Hong Kong Sports Clinic, we do want to empower you to get back into exercise again, to help you understand your body after pregnancy and childbirth, and what exercises are helpful or unhelpful for you to do at each stage – this holds true whether you’re a few weeks into being a new mum, or whether you’re a few years down the line.

What is it:

Diastasis recti, otherwise known as abdominal separation, is common after pregnancy with 60% of women diagnosed with this condition at 6 weeks post-partum, and 30% still have it at 12 months post-partum. But what exactly is it and how do I know if I have it?
Diastasis recti is a condition where the two sides of the rectus abdominus muscle (the six-pack muscle) are abnormally separated from each other via stretching or thinning of the connective tissue in the midline (the linea alba).

During pregnancy, the body will naturally accommodate the growing baby and 100% of women will have some degree of abdominal separation at 37 weeks gestation. It is when the muscles remain apart after the baby is born, however, that it can become a concern. A 1-1.5 finger width separation between the muscle bellies is considered normal and anything greater than this is considered a diastasis. It is worth mentioning that diastasis recti is not solely a post-partum problem but can affect women who’ve never been pregnant, and also men.

How do I know if I have it:
The most common symptoms are: -  A persistent tummy bulge after giving birth - Doming or coning of the abdomen when trying to sit up - A feeling of weakness in your “core” and abdominal muscles - Pelvic floor dysfunction -Lower back, pelvic and hip pain

If you relate to any of the above and are concerned that you may have a diastasis then we would advise you to book an appointment with a physio as soon as possible. You can book in to see one of our specialist pre/postnatal physios where they will able to confirm whether or not you have a diastasis, give advice on what exercise you can return to, what you should avoid, and how to resolve the issue in the long term.
In part 2 of our diastasis recti series, we will discuss the impact of posture and alignment on this condition, common dos and don’ts, and how we would go about treating it.

Stay tuned!

Dereck Fu

Physiotherapist

 

Dereck completed his physiotherapy training at the Hong Kong Polytechnic University. After graduation, he started practicing in a public hospital where he had extensive experience in treating different musculoskeletal, orthopedics, and sports conditions. He recognizes the complex contribution to pain and musculoskeletal injuries and is keen on using a wide range of skill sets such as exercise therapy, manual therapy, and acupuncture tailored to individual conditions.

Before joining HKSC, Dereck completed his Master of Clinical Physiotherapy (Musculoskeletal Physiotherapy) and accreditation in Level 1 strength and conditioning coach under the Australian Strength and Conditioning Association (ASCA). These exposures enriched his practice, considering the psychosocial, biomechanical, and training load aspect of the clients’ story.

He has a particular interest in treating sports-related injuries and desk job conditions, assisting clients on their way back to function, and prevent recurring injuries.

Dereck has been a sports enthusiast since his teenage years. He is a keen football (soccer) and badminton player who treasures the enjoyment and satisfaction brought by both team and individual sports.

Icy Bo Lin

Head of Mobility

Icy has spent thousands of hours studying yoga, stretching and mobility through a broad range of in-depth courses. She has more than 7 years of experience teaching group and 1-on-1 classes to people ranging from athletes, pregnant ladies and new mums, children and especially the average Joe’s.

Icy is passionate about helping people move better, recover well and get pain free.

She believes it takes a combination of tools to help build a healthy body and has therefore spent substantial time practising strengthening and conditioning as well

Her passion for her craft is demonstrated through a focus and attention to detail with her clients.

Icy is a mother, experienced former banker and we are proud to have such an accomplished person on our team.

Below is a list of her completed training:

Leslie T. Evangelista

Head of Strength and Conditioning

Leslie’s athletic achievements speak for themselves. She is a true world class power lifter and continues to compete at the highest level. She has reached the pinnacle of her sport, medalling in a number of international powerlifting federation events. She has been Asia’s best lifter and holds a number of national records.

As impressive as it is, Leslie’s athletic resume pales in comparison to her passion, knowledge and dedication to the science of physical human performance. She is a student and expert of strength and conditioning, working in the industry as a coach and consultant for 10 years. We are very glad to have her on our team as her technical knowledge of compound movements and training methodology helps us bridge the gap between injury and a better you.

Leslie takes most pleasure in teaching the average person. Leslie’s deep knowledge and experience means she can build you from the bottom up or take you to a level beyond your expectations. Whether you are a mother or a mother to be, an office worker wanting to learn how to keep strong, or a youth wanting to learn the essentials of training, she is the expert for you.

Leslie is available as a consultant for long or short-term basis if you are serious about improving your health. She is an invaluable asset to have on anyone’s team.

Hideo “Harry” Loasby

Head Running Coach, Founder of BuffCo

Harry discovered running at 16, and quickly rose through the ranks in Hong Kong and became a national champion over 1500m when he was 17. He represented Hong Kong at the Asian Schools Championships and won several gold medals in cross country and track. Harry’s performances earned him a place on the Loyola Marymount University cross country and track team.

Towards the end of his university career, Harry became increasingly interested in studying various training methods and running philosophies. After moving back home, and knowing first hand the gap in grass roots development in Hong Kong, he set up Buffalo Running Company (BuffCo) in the hopes of changing that for the better. While coaching full time, Harry has remained competitive in the local scene, winning the 2020 China Coast Marathon by over 8 minutes. During the absence of races, he coached himself to personal bests in solo road time trials in the 10k and half marathon, running 31:38 and 70:30 respectively.

After running and now coaching in Hong Kong for the majority of his running career, Harry builds his coaching and training philosophy around the context of the city and what it means to be a runner here. He enjoys hunting for excellence in every level of runner, because he knows what Hong Kong’s running scene has to offer despite the tough conditions. From complete beginner to aspiring college athlete, on any surface over any distance, Harry is keen to help you with your running journey.

Harry is available as a consultant for any race you have on the calendar, but he is particularly passionate in developing runners over several years and building a sustainable relationship with all aspects of the sport, so that you can enjoy a lifetime of healthy, happy running.

May Lee
Sports Massage Therapist and Sports Scientist

May is an Internationally experienced Sports Massage Therapist, she focuses on deep tissue massaging to aid recovery, optimise performance but also general health and well-being. Throughout her years of training and watching others train, May has found that many people neglect the recovery process. The recovery process is fundamental for muscles to grow and develop and more importantly to reduce injury in the long term. Deep tissue massage helps to smooth out those little aches and pains you experience in normal day to day activities.

May has studied Sports Science at degree level and has completed her Level 4 Diploma in Sports Massage Therapy in the UK as well as being qualified in Dry Needling, Myofascial Release, Trigger point therapy and Pre-Hospital immediate care in sport.

She has previously worked a ski season in Niseko followed by working in clinical practice in Tokyo before deciding to move to Hong Kong to pursue her career further.

May has always had a keen interest in sports, training and exercise which has allowed her to pursue a successful career within sports and exercise rehabilitation.

Lizemari Marais
Physiotherapist and Pilates Instructor

Liz is a Physiotherapist and Pilates Instructor from South Africa. Her greatest passion is health education and empowerment, which is why she flourishes in the corporate wellness setting. She’s good at analysing corporate settings to determine risk factors to individual health as well as employee productivity. She will not just remind your employees to sit up straight – she will walk a path with your company to encourage healthy lifestyles and happy employees.

Liz’s approach to rehabilitation is grounded in the balance between mobility and foundation strength. She explores this in her calisthenics, yoga and pilates. She believes that with the right foundation and training, the human body can do anything.

Liz values independence and wishes to equip her patients with everything they would need to maximise their body’s potential, allowing them to pursue independent lives.

Want to chat with us directly?