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A Complete Guide On Diastasis Recti Made For Every Woman

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When it comes to diastasis recti, just hear me out. Have you ever been congratulated on your pregnancy when you haven’t been pregnant for a long time or have you been asked, when are you due? or how many months gone are you? when you are not even pregnant.

 If you have ever been through this uncomfortable, awkward experience, then, there is a probability you most likely have this condition or are just big-bodied.

What Is Diastasis Recti?

You know that separation you feel when you touch your abdomen, yes, That’s it. It is the gap or separation in between the rectus abdominis muscles (six-pack muscles). This happens especially in pregnant women. When a woman conceives, as the baby grows, the abdominal muscles stretch and widen to accommodate the growing baby.

diastasis recti
images from babycenter

What Is The Cause Of Diastasis Recti?

It is caused by abdominal separation due to an internal or external force that forces the abdominal muscles to stretch. It is not only found in women; babies also experience it and men do too.

Lifting weights with improper form or doing excessive abdominal exercises the wrong way can also cause this condition to occur. Pushing during delivery can lead to diastasis recti

What Are The Symptoms Of Diastasis Recti?

The most obvious symptom of this condition is a pouch under your belly when you try to flex or tighten your abdominal muscles. It is extra flesh drooping or hanging out when you stand straight.

Other symptoms include

  • Backpain
  • Pain during sex
  • Bloating
  • Some difficulty when bending down or trying to lift objects
  • Softness around the abdominal area even when you tighten your muscles
  • Small urine drops when your cough or squeeze your abdominal and pelvic muscles.
  • Shoulder pain when you breastfeed

Who Is A Candidate For Diastasis Recti?

  • Women: it has been stated that around 60% of pregnant women will develop this condition. It usually develops by the third trimester. This is because more abdominal pressure is exerted in the uterus due to the growth and size of the baby.
  • Newborn babies: they can be born with diastasis recti, especially if they are born premature. This is because their abdominal muscles are not yet developed. It is not permanent, as the condition corrects itself with time.
  • Men

What Is The Best Way To Determine Whether You Suffer From Diastasis Recti?

Risk Factors For Diastasis Recti Include

  • Multiple pregnancies
  • Having twins or triplets
  • Age (over 35)
  • Previous badly done abdominal surgery or fat transfer
  • Being Short or under 5ft and below
  • Normal Vaginal Delivery

Types Of Diastasis Recti

There are 5 types of diastasis recti

  • No separation
  • Separation below the navel
  • Separation around the navel
  • Separation above the navel
  • Open diastasis/complete separation
types of diastasis recti

How To Diagnose Diastasis Recti?

This is typically done by your doctor. After delivery, when you resume postpartum checkups. If you have or show any symptoms relating to diastasis recti, your doctor can examine you and tell you where it is located.

Some doctors can use the finger method i.e. using two or three fingers to determine how wide the separation is. They can also use an ultrasound scan or a measuring device called a caliper. A caliper gives an accurate measurement of how severe your diastasis recti could be.


How Can I Self-Diagnose Diastasis Recti?

You can test yourself for diastasis recti:

  • Lie on your back with your knees bent and feet flat on the floor.
  • Lift your shoulders slightly off the ground, keeping one hand behind your head for support. Almost like you are doing a sit-up. Look down at your belly.
  • Move your other hand above your belly button area, palms down and fingers towards your toes.
  • Use your fingers to feel for a gap between the abs. See how many fingers can fit in the gap between your right and left abdominals.

How To Fix Diastasis Recti?

One of the best and preferred methods of treatment is through physical therapy or exercise and dieting

In order to fix your condition

  • Hire a professional trainer who has proven experience working with people who have this condition.
  • Avoid movements that will make you strain your abdominal muscles
  • Eat a healthy diet. More protein and vegetable-focused, moderate carbohydrates. Sweet potatoes are a wonderful source of macro carbs.
  • When coming up from bed, roll to your side and use your hands to push yourself up.
  • Do not lift any weights heavier than your baby.

A lot of people also recommend the MUTU system which stands for (MUMMY TUMMY SYSTEM). This is a proven medical system that has helped a lot of women heal from this condition.

Can Surgery Fix Diastasis Recti?

Yes, it can but it is rarely done or advised. Doctors would most likely recommend slow-paced exercises that do not involve stressing your abdominal muscles. They would also advocate a meal plan for you done by a nutritionist.

 The surgery involved is called an abdominoplasty or tummy tuck. The surgeon makes cuts on both ends of the protruding flesh, cuts off the excess flesh, and proceeds to suture the two ends back together.

Although yoga is a good way to ease into diastasis recti repair, some poses like downward dog and some other yoga poses may actually worsen it.

What Kind Of Movements Should I Avoid If I Have Diastasis Recti?

The list below are some of the exercises that you should avoid if you have this condition

  • Crunches or sit-ups of any kind.
  • Planks or push-ups (unless using modifications).
  • Downward dog, boat pose and other yoga poses.
  • Double leg lifts, scissors, and other Pilates moves.
  • Any exercise that causes your abdominals to bulge, cone or dome.
  • Mountain climbers
  • Tuck jumps
  • Medicine ball squats or heavy barbell squats

What Exercises Are Best For Diastasis Recti?

First of all, you have to realize that you should start your exercise when is best suited for you. Every individual is free to make their own decisions as regards their body, but if you experience any of the symptoms. It’s better to start sooner than later.

The recommended time to start postpartum diastasis recti exercises is six weeks after delivery.

Also, the best overall time to start core training or strengthening is before you get pregnant, that is if you have not developed this condition already.

Find a list of diastasis recti exercises here.

It is important to note that waist trainers cannot heal people that have this condition, however wearing a belly band or waist splint when working out can help keep the connective tissues together.

When the connective tissue has healed, then you can now focus on deeper core-engaged exercises to firm up your abdomen.

When Is My Diastasis Recti Considered Severe?

‘Having this condition can be considered severe when

  • You have recurrent lower back pain
  • When you don’t have to laugh hard or squeeze before you feel urine drop
  • If you have to wear a pad because of urinary incontinence
  • When you feel o constant heaviness on your pelvic floor

Complications Of Diastasis Recti

In extreme cases of diastasis recti or when untreated, complications could include:

  • Umbilical hernia.
  • Back pain worsens.
  • Painful intercourse
  • Urinary incontinence
  • Hip and pelvic discomfort
  • Vaginal and/or rectal prolapse


Diastasis recti is a condition that most women don’t even know they have. The health risks if left untreated can pose a serious threat to the pregnant or just delivered new mother, especially if left untreated.

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