Women with diastasis recti abdominis might have weaker abdominal muscles and more abdominal pain, but no higher prevalence of pelvic floor disorders, low back and pelvic girdle pain than women without diastasis recti abdominis.

Affiliation

Gluppe S(1), Ellström Engh M(2), Kari B(3).
Author information:
(1)Department of Sports Medicine, Norwegian School of Sports Sciences, Sognsveien 220, 0806 Oslo, Norway. Electronic address: [Email]
(2)Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, Akershus University Hospital, Sykehusveien 25, 1478 Lørenskog, Norway; Faculty of Medicine, University of Oslo, Oslo, Norway. Electronic address: [Email]
(3)Department of Sports Medicine, Norwegian School of Sports Sciences, Sognsveien 220, 0806 Oslo, Norway; Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, Akershus University Hospital, Sykehusveien 25, 1478 Lørenskog, Norway; Faculty of Medicine, University of Oslo, Oslo, Norway. Electronic address: [Email]

Abstract

OBJECTIVE: To investigate whether women with diastasis recti abdominis (DRA) have weaker abdominal muscles and higher prevalence of pelvic floor disorders (PFD), low back, pelvic girdle and abdominal pain than women without DRA. DESIGN: Cross sectional study of women with and without DRA. SETTING: University study. PARTICIPANTS: Seventy-two parity and age matched women with and without DRA. MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: Maximal abdominal muscle strength and endurance were assessed with a dynamometer and with a curl-up test. Women reported whether they experienced PFD, low back pain, pelvic girdle pain or abdominal pain. Those experiencing PFD or pain completed the Pelvic Floor Distress Inventory-short form 20 (PFDI-20), the Oswestry Disability Index (ODI), the Pelvic Girdle Questionnaire (PGQ) or questions about abdominal pain, respectively. RESULTS: Maximal abdominal strength standing with 30° hip flexion was significantly lower in women with DRA (mean difference -12.9Nm, 95%CI: -24.4 to -1.5; P=0.028), but adjusted analyses showed no significant difference (mean difference -11.9Nm, 95%CI: -26.5 to 2.6; P=0.106). Adjusted analyses showed significant higher prevalence of abdominal pain in women with DRA (OR: 0.02, 95%CI: 0.00 to 0.61, P=0.026). There was no difference between the groups in PFD, low back and pelvic girdle pain. CONCLUSION: Women with DRA tend to have weaker abdominal muscles and higher prevalence of abdominal pain, but no higher prevalence of PFD, low back or pelvic girdle pain than women without DRA.