The role of your abdominals is to support and protect your spine and organs. During pregnancy, your abs take on another valuable role: protecting and properly positioning a precious, growing life. If your abdominal integrity is damaged by a severe diastasis recti, your baby doesn’t have as much protection from the outside world and he or she also isn’t held in the optimal position for safe, timely delivery.
How Diastasis Recti Affects Optimal Fetal Position
The best position for a baby to be delivered is a Cephalic position. This is with baby’s head down and its back facing towards the belly button. This is also often referred to as Optimal fetal position (OFP) or Vertex.
If baby is not in OFP then the chances of medical interventions during labour and birth are increased. Non optimal positions are:
- Breech (Bum Down)
- Transverse (lying across)
- Posterior (back to back with mum)
Those non-optimal fetal positions during pregnancy may also cause unnecessary discomfort to the mother.
The following video I made just for this ecourse will show you what each position is and further discuss how having a diastasis recti can adversely affect pregnancy and delivery of a baby.
As I show you in the video, a core with a large gapping hole at the front is not going to offer the best support for baby. If your baby finds it difficult to adopt the best position for birth as the abdominal wall is just too weak to support it, this could result in requiring a c-section or a very long and traumatic labour.
It’s important for your abs to support baby in OFP. There are many things that you can do during your pregnancy to prevent a large diastasis and therefore improve baby’s position:
- Address poor posture,
- Improve core and glute strength,
- Change the way you sit, stand and relax,
- Enjoy specific pregnancy exercises such as my Fit2BirthMum program here.
Can you turn your baby by strengthening your core?
I was asked the above question by Beth, and it’s an interesting one as a strong core can help reduce diastasis and help to position baby optimally, but a core that is too strong can cause positioning issues.
Which positions should you avoid if baby isn’t in OFP?
If baby is not in OFP then there are exercises that you need to avoid such as squats as these encourage baby to descend, and you don’t want to push a breech baby’s bum further down, thats for sure!
Also, if you are overly tight in the pelvic area then this will not help baby to position well. Constantly pulling in your abdominals, frequent heavy weight training and too much stress can lead to core and pelvic muscles that are over-facilitated and can’t relax.
From 30 weeks on, it’s important that you are aware of your baby’s position especially if exercising. Some women may have to take a week off exercise and concentrate on stretching and relaxing!
A specific stretch and exercise program like mine at turningbaby.com should be followed to help turn baby if he or she isn’t OFP.
If your caregiver determines that your baby is not in an optimal position for birth, then have a look at my 14 day Turn Your baby Program and please reach out to me with any questions.
Note From Beth at Fit2B: Two other tried and true techniques are manual versions and spinning babies. I love Lorraine’s program because it’s very diastasis aware. When baby is malpositioned, turning the little one becomes more important than a wider DR, of course. We know how to help you recover from a wider gap, but if you end up needing a c-section due to poor presentation, that compounds your recovery time even more!
As you continue to go through this course with all these wonderful experts, keep in mind that each one could write a whole book on their topic, and some of them have! We all know you want to know more, and we’re trying to give you the most important, ground-level information in bite-size pieces. So don’t hesitate to dig deeper with the pro who resonates with you!