07:00 AM

New Study Aimed at Correcting the 'Mommy Pooch'

NY1 reports on a common postpartum issue, diastasis recti, also known as DRA, which is often dismissed as merely a cosmetic concern. Reporter Erin Billups interviews HSS patient Sharon Phillips who explains how after giving birth, she was unable to participate in a Pilates class since she couldn't even do a sit-up. 

DRA occurs when the abdominal walls separated during pregnancy fail to return back to normal.

Ellen Casey, MD, physiatrist at HSS, had confirmed that Sharon indeed did have DRA and noted that up to 60-70 percent of postpartum women have this condition. Symptoms can include: tenting of abs, back pain, constipation, incontinence and even hernias.

"The core, as we know, is so key for stabilizing our spine, letting us do sports activities, maintaining continence and all those things. So if it separates, you lose the integrity of the core which is so important," said Dr. Casey.

Dr. Casey has launched the first randomized controlled clinical trial on this topic, teaming up with personal trainer Leah Keller, in order to find out how exercises can close the gap in the abdominal wall without surgery.

"So it might be that any core exercise is helpful, or it might be that specific core exercises are helpful, that's what we want to figure out so there can be evidence-based strategies," said Dr. Casey.

Phillips explains how she was seeing quick results after physical therapy. The trial is currently still enrolling patients.

View the segment at NY1.com. It first aired during the October 17, 2018 broadcast.