Diastasis recti is a condition in which the abdominal muscles split down the middle leaving a gap that is larger than two finger widths between them. It is very common during pregnancy and though some cases will heal on their own, others will continually get worse unless you incorporate the right types of exercises or training program.
A diastasis recti diagnosis can be hard to make during your pregnancy if you’re only looking at the symptoms that are present. Diastasis recti symptoms are often hard discern from normal pregnancy symptoms because many of them can be present in a milder form whether a pregnant woman has diastasis recti or not.
If the symptoms are extreme and/or persist a couple months after the baby is born and don’t seem to be improving, it is likely that diastasis recti is present.
Diastasis Recti Symptoms
- Bladder Leakage
- Weak Pelvic Floor Muscles
- Lower Back Pain
- Poor Posture
- Visible (palpable) separation of abdominal muscles resulting in dome-like protrusion of your stomach.
Diastasis Recti Diagnosis
Diastasis Recti can be diagnosed by a doctor if you wish, but you can also test yourself for it on your own. Checking for it takes just a few simple steps
- Lie on the floor in the position you’d lie in if you were going to do a crunch or sit up (with your back on the floor and your knees bent with your feet flat on the floor).
- Place one hand behind your neck and with the other, place your fingertips into the center of your stomach right along the line that separates the abdominal muscles.
- Raise your head up slowly the way you would do as you perform a crunch but don’t let your chin sink into your neck. Instead, raise your head as if there were an apple beneath your chin and slowly feel along the separation between your stomach muscles.
- Move your fingertips from the top of your abdominal muscles all the way down to the bottom. (Generally, with diastasis recti, the separation is worse in the middle of the stomach.) If there is a clear separation between these muscles, place your fingers into it to see how many finger widths it is.
- If the separation is more than two finger widths and does not decrease to less than two finger widths in size as you raise your head to perform a crunch, than you have diastasis recti.
In my case, the gap between these muscles was about three-four finger widths! (To see a video demonstrating how to test yourself, click here). I could feel around the edges of my abdominal muscles on either side but in the middle there was nothing, just a gap that created a dome-like shape anytime I engaged my core.
There are mild cases that, in just a few short weeks, should heal on their own; however, many don’t heal without you taking action to repair it. You must exercise caution though when you are trying to recover; the wrong types of exercises will only serve to make the condition worse. I saw this with my own body when I struggled to get back into shape and the dome on my stomach continually got worse.
If you’re looking for a good training program to guide you through the process of repairing diastasis recti or one that you can use during your pregnancy to prevent it I have a great option here!
Thank you all for reading! Please post any comments or questions you have and I’ll answer them 🙂
If you want to know more about the symptoms of diastasis recti, how to repair diastasis recti, or how to prevent diastasis recti during pregnancy, you can see any of the following: