By Tui Benjamin
A mum has revealed how her intestines now pop out of her stomach like the movie Alien during exercise since she gave birth.
Women’s health physiotherapist Taryn Watson filmed herself doing leg raises to show how easily ‘doming’ – when abdominal contents bulge through a separation in the six pack muscles known as a diastasis – can occur.
While the dramatic visible result of the diastasis – which develops as the ab muscles are stretched apart during pregnancy – is not painful, it can result in a hernia.
Taryn wants women who have this common condition to know they are not broken and show them they can still exercise by engaging their core muscles in a different way.
The 32-year-old mum-of-one, from Perth, Western Australia, said: “It’s very normal for the ‘six pack’ muscle – or rectus abdominus muscle – to stretch apart from each other in the later stages of pregnancy and then to remain apart from each other after giving birth.
“In fact, it’s essential for this to occur to allow the baby to have room to grow.
“This is because it’s actually two muscles with a line of connective tissue down the middle – it is this which stretches, the abdominal muscles themselves do not ‘tear’ or ‘split’.
“Doming refers to the dome shape the abdominal wall creates, but what you can see coming through the gap is the abdominal contents.
“I can see how it could be compared to the movie Alien! But it’s actually essentially a pressure issue – the same as a hernia or a prolapse.
“A diastasis doesn’t mean you’re broken, or weak, or can’t exercise your abdominal muscles.
“It just means you have to monitor what your muscles are doing during loaded abdominal exercise to avoid hurting yourself, and learn how to use your core muscles in a way that prevents doming.”
Taryn, who gave birth to son Benji, 19 months, in October 2016 said her diastasis was caused due to her having a small frame and extra stretchy connective tissue.
In her video, the first half of the clip shows doming occurring while the second half shows her using her core muscles and engaging her pelvic floor to prevent this.
Taryn wants women to know after they are 16 to 20 weeks pregnant they should avoid any ab workouts which cause doming, such as crunches, planks, Russian twists and pull ups.
But daily movements such as getting up from the bed or couch can be modified by rolling onto your side to get up from a reclined position.
Taryn said women can get their diastasis checked by a physiotherapist after birth to find out how wide and deep their gap is compared to the norm.
Some women may need to wear an elasticated abdominal support to help their recovery and hold their six pack muscles in better alignment while they heal.
Taryn added: “In pregnancy, you should learn how to active the deep abdominal muscles.
“Automatic use of these to prevent doming can be taught.”
For more information: go to https://www.fitright.physio/