So, when it comes to testing for abdominal separation, (formally known as diastasis recti), whilst it’s not mandatory that you check every new mummy client who comes through your doors, I’d say it certainly adds another string to your bow as a Pre/Postnatal Specialist.
Abdominal separation is quite common with 35-62% of women suffering with the condition after birth.
To improve your confidence, technique or just to brush up your skills for testing new mums for separation, here are my top tips:
CUT YOUR NAILS
I know that might sound ridiculous, but it’s important. I tend to use the old-fashioned method of testing where you literally poke or push down into the client’s tummy with two fingers and then wiggle about from left to right a bit. The tips of your fingers need to be able to palpate your client’s linea alba and if you’re fashioning a set of fancy acrylics, two things will happen:
a) You won’t be able to test your client’s tummy accurately, and
b) You’ll leave two finger nail dents in your patient’s abs – slightly embarrassing.
So, you’ve got your client on their back with their legs bent, your fingers are in position, and before you know it, your client’s done a sit up, without you really being prepared. So, I always say: “Right, I’m going to give you some instructions – DON’T do the movement yet, just listen”. And then, once I’ve listed what I’m asking them to do, I give them the cue: “Ok, I’m ready”. You don’t really want your client doing too many sit up-type movements – maximum of 5 or so in one go should give you all the information you need to test at various sites along the linea alba, so get your client prepared first, before she takes you by surprise.
Diastasis recti can appear above and below the navel, and actually on the navel site itself, so, nowadays, I test twice above, twice below (just moving my fingers up/down a few millimetres in between sit ups) and then do a final check of the navel site itself. It makes sense that the belly button site is the weakest point of whole chain of events, doesn’t it? So, checking above, below and on the navel itself will give you the best information to work with.
And there you have it!
A few tips on testing postnatal clients for abdominal separation.
Please tell me you’d never test a pregnant client for this, would you? That would just be silly.
If you’ve found the information useful, why not share this post with a fellow FitPro or other Pre/Postnatal Specialists you know?