DRAM (a.k.a. DRA/RAD) stands for Diastasis of the Rectus Abdominus Muscles and is not tearing but actually the stretching and thinning of the connective tissue called the Linea Alba between the two muscle bellies of Rectus Abdominus (RA). DRAM is very common in pregnancy. In fact, one study found that at 35 weeks pregnant 100% of women in their study had a separation! DRAM is generally assessed by measuring any gap between the Rectus Abdominus muscles along the Linea Alba both at rest and on abdominal exertion.
So why is it so important?
The abdominal wall functions in posture, pelvic floor stability, trunk movement/stability and support of the internal organs. Therefore, when the abdominal wall is not functioning well it can leave women more susceptible to pelvic and lumbar injury. For some women, DRAM will spontaneously resolve within the first 8-12 weeks, however, for many others it will require some more effort!
Sometimes, when there is an increase in the pressure inside the abdomen (during exercise or other activities) a bulge can become visible through the midline of the abdomen. This is commonly referred to as ‘doming’ and is a sign that the activity may be putting too much strain through the abdominal wall. If this is the case for you, it is important to seek help from a health professional to assist with your recovery. Management of DRAM involves finding appropriate abdominal exercises that focus on tightening the Linea Alba as you gradually build up the load through the core.
Specific, postnatal exercises classes can be a great way to start or seek the help of a qualified health professional to guide you to correct management.