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What is Diastasis Recti?

Diastasis Recti is the NATURAL separation of the abdominal muscles that occur during pregnancy. If it's normal, then why don't we talk about it more often?

I had always wondered this during my pregnancy. Why doesn't my doctor talk about and prepare me for the body changes I need to manage post-baby? I loved my doctor, but it's about the baby and not the mother once pregnant. This is CRAZY THINKING. I felt that the more informed I was before the baby, the better I could be after the baby.

I found some of these facts AFTER having my son. I want to share them with you so you can possibly have them BEFORE you have your baby.

Here are some of these facts about Diastasis Recti, before and after birth.

4 facts about Diastasis Recti:

  1. Almost 100% of women develop diastasis recti by the 3rd trimester, with nearly all women having at least 16 mm by weeks 35-39 of pregnancy.

  2. Diastasis recti has been historically called "the gap," AKA the Linea Alba or the distance between the two sides of the rectus abdominis.

  3. As research and evidence progress, there are few limitations on the types of exercises women with diastasis recti can do. AKA women can do MORE than previously thought without worsening symptoms.

  4. Every woman's postpartum healing is different. Some women's Diastasis recti will "heal" with no extra attention (assuming no additional stress or aggravation of the diastasis recti exists). More than half still have a wide separation 8 weeks post-delivery, and although some "recovery" by 6 months, many haven't "recovered" at 1 year.

What Diastasis Recti IS NOT

  1. Something that can be prevented

  2. Something to be ashamed of

  3. A sign that your client's body is "broken" or wrong

How do you know if you have Diastasis Recti? Every mother who has been pregnant will have a degree of diastasis recti. Even young women athletes will have a degree of diastasis recti. Do not freak over the gap! Let me repeat that again, Do NOT freak over the gap. Your gap is a sign of giving life (in most cases). THAT IS AMAZING!! You are amazing. But if you want to know how to find your own gap, here is a step-by-step guide in self-assessment.

  1. Lay in your back, knees bent, so feet are flat against the floor

  2. Taking a few relaxed breaths, place the flat pads of 3 fingers below your belly button

  3. Inhale a breath

  4. Lift up your head (just shoulders off the ground)

  5. Exhale slowly, feeling your stomach contract (a tiny crunch but DO NOT move your back more)

  6. You should feel your lower stomach contract; this is when you can feel the distance between the muscles and the depth. This should NOT be painful.

(if you don't feel the lower stomach contract. Try minor coughs or a laugh to activate the muscles.)

Curious about the benefits of seeing a physical therapist postpartum for diastasis recti? Read on.

You will SAFELY strengthen your core under the care of a physical therapist, and if any red flags occur, she can refer you back to your MD. You will have the ease of having direct supervision from a professional and a customized program that fits your needs and goals. You can get back the confidence you want and the empowerment of knowledge to back it up.


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