Abdominal muscles may be both morphologically and functionally affected by pregnancy. Dysfunction of the muscles can lead to persistent postpartum low back pain. The recovery process of the abdominal muscles following childbirth is not well understood. This study aimed to demonstrate the changes in the thickness and contractile function of abdominal muscles during the first six months postpartum. Nine perinatal and 15 nulliparous females participated. The thicknesses and contraction/relaxation thickness ratios of the rectus abdominis (RA), external abdominal oblique (EO), internal abdominal oblique (IO), and transverse abdominis (TrA) were measured using ultrasound images from 36–39 weeks’ gestation until six months postpartum. The RA, IO, and TrA muscles were thinner in perinatal females than controls at 36–39 weeks of gestation (4.8 vs. 9.47 mm (RA), 5.45 vs. 7.73 mm (IO), 2.56 vs. 3.38 mm (TrA), respectively). The thinner IO muscle persisted for six months after delivery. The decreased TrA thickness ratio persisted until four months post-delivery. Abdominal muscle thickness and contractile function decreased in the postpartum period. Therefore, abdominal muscle exercises might help prevent postpartum symptoms; however, because deterioration of muscle function is significant in the first four months, careful attention should be paid to exercise intensity. The study limitation was a relatively small sample size, thus future studies should involve more participants.
|ジャーナル||International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health|
|出版ステータス||Published - 2021 2 2|
ASJC Scopus subject areas