Physiotherapy for DRA
The first thing that we need to establish is whether or not you have a DRA. If your tummy muscles separated during your pregnancy, it does not mean you have DRA for life…we know from the research that up to 2 in 3 pregnant women have DRA by the end of the pregnancy so this is not abnormal.
What we do, or don’t do, in the first few weeks post-natal is important to allow the tummy muscles to return as close as possible to their prenatal shape. Some advice:
1) Be careful to avoid heavy lifting. Your baby and his or her light paraphernalia should be enough..take all the help you can with your toddler, car seat, buggy etc
2) Sit and stand well. Don’t let your posture slip in the first few weeks post-natally. Sit up well and use pillows to support yourself when you are feeding etc. This will encourage your tummy muscles to resume their proper activity.
3) Do your pelvic floor exercises and your pelvic tilting as advised by your Chartered Physiotherapists in the Maternity Hospital.
If after 6-8 weeks you are in a position to avail of post-natal classes, DVD’s, Pilates or anything similar, go for it! These exercise sessions will be specific to your needs and may often include your baby so you don’t need to look for a babysitter at this early stage.
If you have a DRA that demands specific attention, a class might be too hard on your tummy muscles at the beginning, this is when individual attention may be required. Physiotherapy treatment will focus on any weakness or muscle imbalance found on assessment. This will involve assessing your whole core and coming up with an exercise program that will suit your needs at this time.