Defined as a gap of roughly 2.7cm or greater between the two sides of the rectus abdominis muscle that can result in a rounded, protruding belly sometimes referred to as "jelly belly" or "mummy tummy".
It’s important to understand and deal with diastasis recti beyond just the cosmetic reasons. “Looking good” is undoubtedly important as is feeling good about yourself, but it’s even more important because diastasis recti can lead to other health problems if left untreated.
“Diastasis Recti can affect the stability of the trunk and may contribute to pelvic floor dysfunction, back and pelvic pain and hernias. This may be a factor in persistent post-natal lumbar (lower back), pubic symphysis and sacroiliac joint pain and even incontinence due to the interaction of the pelvic floor and abdominal musculature as a stabilising unit" says Shira Kramer, Physiotherapist, founder of Be Active Physio and the Restore Your Core Program.
Because so many women suffer from diastasis recti the condition needs to be treated seriously.:
You can read more about the dangers of not treating diastasis recti here.
The wider the gap between the two sides of the rectus abdominis muscle, the more severe the condition, which in turn will cause more symptoms with greater severity.
One of the common pregnancy questions is about abdominal separation and whether anything can be done to prevent this from happening.
The fact is it’s very difficult to stop the forces of nature, and that also applies to preventing diastasis rectus abdominus (DRAM) or abdominal separation of your abdominal muscles during pregnancy. Every woman’s body is different, and anyone may develop abdominal separation and facts show that many do.
The degree of DRAM can be affected by:
Separation can increase as the baby grows. Women who are tall with long torsos and have a small baby may not develop separation but as we can’t control our height or the size of our baby, we need to focus on what we can do to heal any separation during the 4th trimester!
This is important not just for cosmetic reasons but also to maintain your overall core/trunk health, especially your back and pelvic floor muscles which are often affected due to this inherent weakness caused during pregnancy by separation of the abdominal muscles. The abdominal, back, pelvic floor and the diaphragm all work together to create a stabilising unit around your trunk.
Steps to closing the diastasis recti gap:
Because this is not always possible, this blog provides a comprehensive list of resources available:
Michelle Kenway is an Australian Pelvic Floor Physiotherapist and author of the international best-selling Inside Out series. Michelle lectures to health professionals and promotes community health through her writing, radio segments, online exercise videos and community presentations. She holds dual post graduate physiotherapy qualifications in women’s health and exercise.
If you can’t get to a physiotherapist or find it difficult to attend a number of sessions at a PT studio, then "The Restore Your Core" program may be your perfect solution. An 8-week online program to kick-start your recovery and fitness post-baby, it includes daily exercises, interviews and video resources designed to help you rebuild your core after pregnancy and beyond. Created by Shira Kramer, owner and director of BeActive Physio in Melbourne. Shira has 15+ years’ experience as a physio, helping over 5,000 women recover post-childbirth with safe and effective exercise, including restoring core muscle function and diastasis recti (DRAM) recovery.
Diastasis Recti: The Whole-body Solution to Abdominal Weakness and Separation
Mom's Guide to Diastasis Recti: A Program for Preventing and Healing Abdominal Separation Caused by Pregnancy
Diastasis Recti Secrets for New Mom: Proven Methods and Postpartum Exercises for Healing Core Weakness and Weight loss
Heal Your Postpartum Body: The Ultimate Guide to Pelvic Floor and Diastasis Recti - With a Full Exercise Plan
SRC Recovery Shorts, Research Laboratory analysis of functional effect Antonio I Cuesta-Vargas, Cátedra de Fisioterapia, Universidad de Málaga, Andalucía, Spain June 2017