INTRODUCTION: Prenatal training has been shown to prevent diastasis recti. The purpose of this study was to see if women who started an exercise program after delivery had a comparable reduction in diastasis recti as those who started the program during their pregnancy.
METHODS: A retrospective analysis was done of 63 women who trained prenatally or postnatally, engaging in isometric contractions of the transverse abdominis, resistance training, and cardiovascular exercise, with the same certified prenatal trainer. Diastasis recti measurements were obtained prospectively in a standard fashion by the trainer at the start and completion of the training.
RESULTS: Both prenatal (n=34) and postnatal groups (n=29) were similar in ethnicity, socioeconomic status, full-term deliveries (82% compared with 93%), height (160 cm, interquartile range [IQR] 157.5-167.5; 160 cm, IQR 155-165) and maternal age (34 years, IQR 32-37; 36 years, IQR 32-38; P=nonsignificant). Both the prenatal and postnatal groups showed significant improvement (P<.05) in the reduction of postnatal rectus abdominis muscle separation. There was no significant difference in the final absolute separation measurement of the two groups (1 cm; IQR prenatal 1-1.5; IQR postnatal 1-1.25 cm; P=nonsignificant).
CONCLUSIONS: Women who started after delivery an exercise program aimed at reducing diastasis recti achieved the same reduction in diastasis recti as those who started the program during pregnancy.
(C) 2014 by The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists.