Phys Ther. 2022 Jul 31:pzac086. doi: 10.1093/ptj/pzac086. Online ahead of print.
OBJECTIVE: The purpose of this study was to determine the acute effect of an abdominal hypopressive exercise (AHE) on linea alba morphology among women who are primiparous and to compare this effect to that of other common abdominal exercise modalities.
METHODS: A cross-sectional study of 46 women 3 months after first delivery was conducted. B-mode ultrasound imaging of interrectus distance (IRD) and linea alba distortion was performed 2 cm below (I-point) and above (S-point) the umbilicus and at the mid-point between the umbilicus and xiphoid process (X-point). Images were recorded at rest, during an AHE performed in a supine position, during a semi curl-up (SCU), an abdominal drawing-in maneuver (ADIM) and a SCU performed after an initial ADIM (ADIM+SCU).
RESULTS: The SCU exercise narrows IRD at X- and S-point. Compared with SCU, AHE and ADIM widened IRD at S- and X-point. No significant differences were found when comparing IRD at rest, during AHE and ADIM, but AHE tends to narrow I-point IRD more than ADIM but to widen S-point IRD more than ADIM+SCU. No participant showed linea alba distortion during the AHE or ADIM. When compared, SCU increased the occurrence of distortion with respect to AHE and ADIM. The isolated hypopressive posture did not change IRD or linea alba distortion.
CONCLUSIONS: Among women who were postpartum, AHE seemed to narrow IRD below the umbilicus compared with ADIM, without either of these 2 modalities generating linea alba distortion, as SCU or ADIM+SCU do. Thus, although no significant differences were found when comparing IRD at rest and during AHE, the AHE could improve the tensile response of the linea alba without increasing the IRD.