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Br J Sports Med. 2016 Sep;50(17):1092-6. doi: 10.1136/bjsports-2016-096065. Epub 2016 Jun 20.

Diastasis recti abdominis during pregnancy and 12 months after childbirth: prevalence, risk factors and report of lumbopelvic pain.

Author information

1
Department of Sports Medicine, Norwegian School of Sports Sciences, Oslo, Norway.
2
Department of Sports Medicine, Norwegian School of Sports Sciences, Oslo, Norway Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, Akershus University Hospital, Lørenskog, Norway.
3
Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, Akershus University Hospital, Lørenskog, Norway.
4
Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, Akershus University Hospital, Lørenskog, Norway Institute of Clinical Medicine, University of Oslo, Oslo, Norway.

Abstract

BACKGROUND/AIM:

Diastasis recti abdominis (DRA) is defined as a separation of the 2 muscle bellies of rectus abdominis. To date there is scant knowledge on prevalence, risk factors, and consequences of the condition. The present study aimed to investigate the prevalence of DRA during pregnancy and post partum, presence of possible risk factors, and the occurrence of lumbopelvic pain among women with and without DRA.

METHODS:

This prospective cohort study followed 300 first-time pregnant women from pregnancy till 12 months post partum. Data were collected by electronic questionnaire and clinical examinations. DRA was defined as a palpated separation of ≥2 fingerbreadths either 4.5 cm above, at or 4.5 cm below the umbilicus. Women with and without DRA were compared with independent samples Student's t-test and χ(2)/Fisher exact test, and OR with significance level >0.05.

RESULTS:

Prevalence of DRA was 33.1%, 60.0%, 45.4%, and 32.6% at gestation week 21, 6 weeks, 6 months and 12 months post partum, respectively. No difference in risk factors was found when comparing women with and without DRA. OR showed a greater likelihood for DRA among women reporting heavy lifting ≥20 times weekly (OR 2.18 95% CI 1.05 to 4.52). There was no difference in reported lumbopelvic pain (p=0.10) in women with and without DRA.

CONCLUSIONS:

Prevalence of mild DRA was high both during pregnancy and after childbirth. Women with and without DRA reported the same amount of lumbopelvic pain 12 months post partum.

KEYWORDS:

Abdomen; Lower back; Pelvic; Pregnancy; Risk factor

PMID:
27324871
PMCID:
PMC5013086
DOI:
10.1136/bjsports-2016-096065
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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