Diastasis Recti: What it is & How to Prevent It

Diastasis Recti: What it is & How to prevent it

(Check out my YouTube Video Where I shared all the deets!)

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Today in my post I want to share all the knowledge of what exactly Diastasis Recti is; how to prevent it and/or heal it and how to check and see if you have it.

I personally suffered from D.R after my first was born; but I didn’t know I HAD it! And I continued to do exercises that were harmful and after my third was born, I was REALLY suffering. My hope is that this post will help you prevent all those things!

What is diastasis recti (DR)?

Diastasis Recti, or Diastasis Recti Abdominus or abdominal separation is the separation of the rectus muscles. The majority of cases present from women who have given birth to a child however you do not have to have had a baby to suffer from DR.

Research states that 66% of childbearing women will have an abdominal separation that does not heal after the initial 8 week postpartum period.

Research also states that 100% of all childbearing women will present with a abdominal separation after childbirth. It is after the 8 week period, that if the gap has not healed on it is own, one must begin a specific healing process in order to retain a functional core unit.

Normal rectus vs a rectus present with a separation

How do you fix a separated stomach muscle?

Two things to fix a separated stomach muscle is to understand that just ‘fixing’ the separation will not work. You will have to fix many things in your everyday movements,  breathing and posture in order to start repairing the separation. The separation did not appear overnight; unfortunately it will not be an overnight fix.

The first step in fixing your diastasis is to love up on your core! You need to find, feel and re-connect with your core unit and pelvic floor.

You need to engage the muscles in gentle, rehabbing/restoration type movements.

2. Once your mind/body connection is there and restoration is feeling strong you want to work on restrengthening. It is extremely important to avoid any sort of sit-up, crunch or plank variation of movement during this time.

3.  You want to focus on your posture. Stand, sit and walk in alignment, keeping a neutral pelvis in order to reduce intra-abdominal pressure and don’t tuck your butt or push out your chest!

4. You want to be sure you are breathing correctly via your diaphragm! Not through your chest or shoulders. Access your FREE Core Connections HERE

Can Diastasis Recti be corrected?

YES! Diastasis CAN be corrected, and it does not HAVE to be surgery. Each case is so different but the first thing to understand is that D.R. is a whole body issue. If you suffer from Diastasis review the 3 steps I discussed above in ways to start healing your separation.

Various degree of separation

How to check if I have a Diastasis?

You can check your DR by yourself; or you can go see a women’s  physical therapist to check for you. Or you could do both.

If you are checking it yourself here are the simple steps!

  1. Lie down on your back, raise up your knees, feet flat on floor.  
  2. As you go into a small crunch use your one hand to feel with your index, middle and ring finger down the middle of your abdomen. Start from your belly button and go up.
  3. Repeat but go from belly button down towards your pelvis.
  4. Your muscles will close in..how many fingers-width is ‘the gap?”

You may feel the largest separation around your belly button and that is common. If you have more than 2.5 to a 3 finger width you have a Diastasis that needs focused support. Here is a video to support your self test!

Having a 2/2.5 finger gab up to 8 weeks postpartum is considered normal. It is what happens after this 8 week period that we want to be mindful of.

How can I prevent diastasis recti?

Diastasis Recti can be prevented by breathing through your diaphragm and controlling your intra-abdominal pressure.

I always say that postpartum healing begins during pregnancy! During pregnancy it is extremely beneficial to learn how to use your core unit to control your intra-abdominal pressure so that your changes of having a large separation are minimal. Of course, in order to allow for baby to grow every pregnant woman will experience some degree of separation. What it comes down to is how toned your core unit is; how connected you are to your core unit and how strong the fascia is down the middle of your rectus. The strength of fascia is all dependent on how strong and connected you are to your core unit. It all begins with a knowledge of how to breathe, understanding how to control your intra-abdominal pressure and understanding what your body likes and does not like.

In order to prevent a larger than normal diastasis one must be aware of their everyday posture, along with proper functional movements.

Can you heal Diastasis Recti while pregnant?

This ties in with the question above. It is dependent if you went into your current pregnancy with a separation and how large it was.

The big picture to look at in healing a Diastasis during pregnancy is to again, control your intra-abdominal pressure and focus on proper functional movements and posture. If you are conscious of how to this and not contort your body into inappropriate positions your body will maintain a strong core connection and continue to build strong fascia.

In Conclusion:

Diastasis Recti, or Diastasis Recti Abdominus or abdominal separation is the separation of the rectus muscles. The majority of cases present from women who have given birth to a child however you do not have to have had a baby to suffer from DR.

In order to prevent and heal your Diastasis one must understand how to connect to your deep core and create mind+muscle+body connections.

Gain access to my Free Core Basics Course so you can start making that mind+muscle connection in your deep core!


Cheering for you Momma!

Related Posts:

Exercise During Pregnancy

Postpartum Recovery

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