Updated: Jan 26
What Is Diastasis Recti?
Diastasis recti occurs when the uterus stretches the muscles in the abdomen. This can cause the two large parallel bands of muscles that meet in the middle of the abdomen to separate. Diastasis can be connected to lower back pain, abdominal pain, and even pelvic problems. It happens due to sustained stretching of the abdomen and additional pressure from the baby. Add in the hormonal changes that lead to a softening of connective tissues so this stretching can occur and abdominal separation can present itself.
Who gets diastasis?
98+% of women have a diastasis after delivery. It is more likely to happen when: ● The more pregnancies someone has had
● Multiple pregnancies (twins/triplets)
● Possibly larger babies (there is conflicting evidence on this)
It is also important to note that while abdominal wall separation more commonly occurs in pregnant women, pregnancy is not the only cause. Men and children can suffer from a separation as well due to unusual internal abdominal pressure, such as after a surgery or injury. Most diastasis that I see in the clinic improve rapidly when the correct advice and treatment plan is put in place – even when they are many years old.
What to avoid if you suspect you have a diastasis
Doing a standard crunch or sit-up is generally not recommended for women postnatally, especially when we know a diastasis recti is present. This is because a crunch is activating your most superficial abdominal muscles and not the deep ones – this will therefore either do nothing to the gap and sometimes can actually maintain its presence.
What should I do?
If you suspect you have a diastasis – don’t panic! In most cases they are easily improved and rectified. Seek advice with a women’s health practitioner – The Mummy MOT https://www.themummymot.com/ have a good resource for finding experienced people who have further training. Having a thorough assessment and personalised exercise programme prescribed for you will quickly get you back onto the road to recovery and lifting your little one with no problems at all!
Blog written by A.Corset D.O MOst Pgcert SPOP (Mummy MOT practitioner)
Sources: Boissonnault JS, Blaschak MJ. Incidence of diastasis rectiabdominis during the childbearing year. Phys Ther. 1988;68(7):1082-6. Michalska A, Rokita W, Wolder D, Pogorzelska J, Kaczmarczyk K. Diastasis recti abdominis – a review of treatment methods. Ginekol Pol. 2018;89(2):97-101. Sperstad, J. B., Tennfjord, M. K., Hilde, G., Ellström-Engh, M., & Bø, K. (2016). Diastasis recti abdominis during pregnancy and 12?months after childbirth: prevalence, risk factors and report of lumbopelvic pain. British journal of sports medicine, 50(17), 1092–1096. doi:10.1136/bjsports-2016-