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Effect of exercise on diastasis recti abdominis among the primiparous women: a quasi-experimental study

Mahalakshmi V., Sumathi G., Chitra TV, Ramamoorthy V..

Abstract
Background: Diastatis rectii abdominis (DRA) occurs most commonly in pregnant women owing to weakness of the abdominal musculature resulting from maternal hormone influences and increased stretch of the rectus abdominis induced by the expanding uterus. As there are musculoskeletal complications following DRA, there is a need to implement DRA corrective exercises in preventing or treating DRA following child birth. The objective of the study was to investigate the effects of Diastasis rectus abdominis corrective exercises in reducing DRA among the primiparous women.
Methods: Primiparous women who had DRA of more than 2 finger width at their umbilical level or a bulging rectus abdominis on contraction following a vaginal delivery (VD) or cesarean section (LSCS) were included as per the inclusion and exclusion criteria.
Results: Fifty four and forty two women in the VD and LSCS group respectively participated in the study. Among them only 12 and 9 women from each group respectively performed the DRA corrective exercises for 6 weeks. There was a significant improvement in the reduction of DRA within the groups at p < 0.01. Comparison of reduction in DRA between VD and LSCS did not show any significant difference at p > 0.05 which indicated that both the groups showed the same level of improvement.
Conclusions: DRA corrective exercises performed by the primiparous women with DRA in their postpartum period immediately following ND or a month after the LSCS for 6 weeks were found to be effective in reducing DRA.

Key words: Diastasis rectii, Finger width, Post natal, Transverse abdominis strengthening


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