- With Mayo Clinic obstetrician and medical editor-in-chief
Roger W. Harms, M.D.read biographyclose window
Roger W. Harms, M.D.Roger W. Harms, M.D.
"Nothing helps people stay healthy more than the power of real knowledge about health." — Dr. Roger Harms
As medical director of content, Dr. Roger Harms is excited about the potential for Mayo Clinic's health information site to help educate people about their health and provide them the tools and information to live healthier lives.
The Auburn, Neb., native has been with Mayo Clinic since 1981 and is board certified in obstetrics and gynecology. Dr. Harms is a practicing physician and associate professor of obstetrics and gynecology, and his specialty areas include office gynecology, high-risk obstetrics and obstetrical ultrasound.
From 2002 to 2007, Dr. Harms was director for education at Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn. Dr. Harms was the 1988 Mayo Medical School Teacher of the Year and served as associate dean for student affairs and academic affairs. He is the co-author of the "Mayo Clinic Model of Education." In 2008, Dr. Harms was presented the Distinguished Educator Award, Mayo Clinic, Rochester.
Dr. Harms is vice chair of the Department of Obstetrics & Gynecology and medical editor of the Pregnancy section on this website. In addition, Dr. Harms is editor-in-chief of the "Mayo Clinic Guide to a Healthy Pregnancy" book, a month-by-month guide to everything a woman needs to know about having a baby.
"My medical education experience has grown out of a love of teaching, and that is what this site is about," Dr. Harms says. "If any visitor to this site makes a more informed and thus more comfortable decision about his or her health because of the information we provide, we are successful."
Healthy pregnancy (18)
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First trimester (3)
- Implantation bleeding: Normal in early pregnancy?
- Birth control pills: Harmful in early pregnancy?
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Second trimester (1)
- Fundal height: An accurate sign of fetal growth?
Third trimester (1)
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Pregnancy problems (9)
- Low amniotic fluid: How is it treated?
- Diastasis recti: How does pregnancy affect stomach muscles?
- Cervical length: Why does it matter during pregnancy?
- see all in Pregnancy problems
Diastasis recti: How does pregnancy affect stomach muscles?
Why do abdominal muscles sometimes separate during pregnancy?
from Roger W. Harms, M.D.
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|Separation of the abdominal muscles during pregnancy|
During pregnancy, the growing uterus stretches the muscles in the abdomen. This can cause a condition called diastasis recti or diastasis recti abdominis, in which the two large parallel bands of muscles that meet in the middle of the abdomen separate. Diastasis recti might cause a bulge in the middle of the abdomen where the two muscles separate. The condition might be noticeable only when the abdominal muscles are tense.
Diastasis recti is most likely in the second or third trimester of pregnancy. The muscle separation often lessens in the months after childbirth. However, some degree of separation might remain up to a year after childbirth and beyond. Diastasis recti can weaken the abdominal muscles, causing lower back pain and making it difficult to lift objects or do other routine daily activities.
You might be more likely to develop diastasis recti as a result of pregnancy if you:
- Are older than 35
- Have a multiple pregnancy
- Deliver a baby who has a high birth weight
- Have repeated pregnancies
During pregnancy, aggressive abdominal exercises after the first trimester also might contribute to the development of diastasis recti.
If you think you have diastasis recti, consult your health care provider. After childbirth, certain exercises can help you regain abdominal strength. A physical therapist can help determine which exercises would be right for you. If abdominal muscle weakness associated with diastasis recti is interfering with your daily activities, surgery might be recommended to repair the muscle separation. If you're bothered by the bulge in your abdomen, you might also consider surgery for cosmetic reasons.Next question
Cervical length: Why does it matter during pregnancy?
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