Diastasis Recti 101: What Is It and What Can You Do About It?


Have you just given birth but still look pregnant? Do you feel pain whenever you lift heavy objects? If this is the case, then you may need to have a diastasis recti repair.

One of the most common problems that post-pregnant moms face is the dreaded mummy tummy or pooch. This condition is called Diastasis Recti, which means the separation of the abdominal muscles. Mothers who have postnatal pooches often opt to get a diastasis recti repair treatment.

What is Diastasis Recti?

Under normal conditions, your abdominal muscles should be located on either side of your midline and are held intact by a connective tissue known as linea alba. However, as your pregnancy progresses, the enlargement of your uterus area causes your abdominal muscles to move further away from your midline. When this happens, the linea alba may not be strong enough to hold your abdominal muscles in place and therefore causing them to separate, causing your abdominal walls to weaken.

Diastasis recti is a more common condition for mothers who had an extensive pregnancy. A study showed that up to sixty percent of women might experience diastasis recti during and after their pregnancies. Some mothers are fortunate to have connective tissues healthy enough to keep their abdominal muscles together throughout the pregnancy. However, some mothers may have developed diastasis recti after their pregnancy.

How to Tell if You Have Diastasis Recti

Medical standards have classified the diastasis recti is a condition when the gap between your left and right abdominal muscles are over 2.7 cm wide or more significant. You can check it out by feeling your midline and checking to see how far apart your abdominal muscles are away from each other. If you can fit two fingers within the gap, then you may have diastasis recti. A difference of four fingers indicates that the separation is severe.

Although you can see if you have diastasis recti by looking at the mirror and measuring finger gaps, the best way to positively be sure is through an ultrasound.

Diastasis Recti Repair Options

Diastasis recti is not a life-threatening condition, and most women can live without having this condition treated or repaired. However, having this condition will significantly affect how you go about your daily life, such as lifting or doing physical activities. There are two main options to have diastasis recti repair. The first option is to undergo corrective surgery for immediate repair. While this option is the ideal choice, having surgery is expensive and may lead to complications.

Another option is to go for diastasis recti repair through physical therapy, which will often consist of these four main steps.

  • Improving Posture.

Getting back to your healthy posture before pregnancy is one of the keys to repairing diastasis recti. It would help establish a position that focuses on lengthening your body and engaging your core muscles.

  • Deep Core Muscle Exercises.

Doing random exercises will not help. There are specific exercises designed to strengthen your deep core muscles and improve the integrity of your abdominal muscles and linea alba.

  • Wearing a Binder.

Wearing abdominal support and braces designed explicitly for diastasis recti repair will prevent further separation of the abdominal muscles while your body is regenerating connective tissues that will keep them intact.

Remember that not all exercises meant for abdominal muscles are suitable for repairing diastasis recti. Some of these exercises may make this condition worse. Enrolling in physical therapy sessions may help you identify the right exercises and movements that you must perform.

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