Diastasis Rectus Abdominis Muscles or DRAM is a common condition affecting women (particularly mothers) during childbearing months and postpartum. It is a condition in which the central muscle of the abdomen (the “six-pack” muscle) tears along its midline attachment. It is not a muscle tear or strain, but rather a connective tissue or “fascial” separation – a splitting longitudinally of the tough “gristly” tissue that these muscles are connected to. It usually occurs during pregnancy.
DRAM can lead to a saggy appearance of the abdomen that persists beyond the time usually expected after childbirth. Such scenario means that an important part of the trunk and spinal support mechanism is compromised. It is essential to restore tone to the abdominal wall after pregnancy in order to keep the spine strong and pain-free, and to limit pressure on the pelvic floor, which can promote prolapse and incontinence.
Symptoms of DRAM include the abdomen “rising to a point” when the head is lifted off the ground and when lying on your back (i.e. a “sit-up” action). It is very important that this action is avoided for the first few months after childbirth if you have a DRAM. It goes without saying that abdominal crunches and leg-lifts are out of the question.