Diastasis Recti: Symptoms & How To Treat

Did you just give birth? You may have diastasis recti and not even know it!

Diastasis recti is a separation of the abdominal muscles that can occur during pregnancy. It's not necessarily harmful, but exists in many women and can often affect a woman's body image. In this blog post, we will discuss the symptoms of diastasis recti and how to treat them.

If you're looking to overcome the separation of the rectus abdominis, look no further! This article will answer many of your questions and provide you with useful information.

diastasis recti abdominis graphic explanation
Diastasis Recti abdominis graphic explanation

What Causes Diastasis Recti?

Diastasis Recti can be caused by a variety of factors. Pregnancy is the most prevalent, although it can also happen to individuals who are overweight or have a persistent cough. The pressure of a developing baby, aided by the pregnancy hormone Relaxin, which softens body tissue, may force your ab muscles that are connected by a connective tissue called Linea Alba to be stretched and separated.

How Would You Know If You Have Diastasis Recti?

If you're experiencing a bulge in your stomach area, back pain, urinary incontinence, or hernias, you may have diastasis recti. To confirm the diagnosis, see your doctor. They will be able to recommend a treatment plan.

If you're pregnant with a twin (or more) or had multiple pregnancies, your risk of diastasis recti increases. If you are over the age of 35 and deliver a baby weighing >5 pounds, you have an increased probability of developing diastasis recti.

How To Check For Diastasis Recti?

Diastasis Recti occurs in 3 areas: above, bellow or at the belly button.

Self-testing is simple.

  1. Lie flat on your back with your knees bent
  2. Place your fingers on your belly button, with your fingers on the midline of your belly button. Then, gently press down.
  3. Lift your head up a little while keeping your shoulders on the ground. You will look like you're in a crunch position.
  4. Feel the gap between your muscles to see how far they've separated. If the gap is wider than ~2 fingers, it could be diastasis recti.

Checking diastasis recti abdominis with finger widths between abdominal muscles (How to check for diastasis recti)
Checking diastasis recti abdominis with finger widths between abdominal muscles (How to check for diastasis recti)

How Worried Should You Be?

Diastasis recti is a common condition, but it's not something you have to live with forever. With the right treatment, you can improve your symptoms and get back to living your life. 

If you have a greater than the two-finger gap between your abs or experiencing discomfort, consult your doctor for an evaluation. They may recommend seeing a physical therapist or pelvic floor expert to help build up your abdominal muscles.

How Can You Get Rid Of Diastasis Recti?

Diastasis recti repair is rarely required. Physical therapy or at-home exercises will be advised before surgical procedures to assist cure diastasis. Surgery may be used in cases of hernia (when an organ pushes through the linea alba), when the abdominal separation is severe or when a woman wants diastasis recti surgery.

Exercise Daily To Cure Diastasis Recti

Yes, You heard us right most of the people suffering from Diastasis Recti have been cured just by exercising in the comfort of their house.

Here Are 3 Exercises Proven To Cure Diastasis Recti:

1) Diaphragmatic Breathing

Begin by laying flat on the floor, knees bent, feet flat and place your hands over your lower ribcage. Inhale as you do so. “Feel the diaphragm expand the lower ribs, particularly out to the sides,”

Concentrate on drawing in your diaphragm as you breathe out this is called the Corset effect. Once you have started breathing into your diaphragm go to the next exercise.

Exercise for Diastasis recti caused commonly during pregnancy
Exercise for Diastasis recti caused commonly during pregnancy

2) Standing Pushups

Stand with your arms at a distance of about a wall's width apart. Inhale as you place your palms against the wall. “Encourage the breath to flow deeply into the lungs,” says the Therapists. On the exhale, tuck in your belly tightly toward your spine. Lean forward into the wall on your next inhalation by allowing your arms to bend. On the exhale, push away from the wall and return to standing upright.

Exercise for Diastasis Recti (ab separation)
Exercise for Diastasis Recti (ab separation)

3) Bridge Pose

A more advanced healing exercise is a common yoga position, the Bridge pose. To start the Bridge pose, lie on your back with your spine gently pressed into the floor. Your feet flat and your knees bent. Lay your arms at your sides with your palms facing down. Inhale slowly, using your diaphragmatic breathing.

On the exhale, tilt your pelvic region toward the ceiling until your body is level and your legs are at a 90-degree angle. Inhale as you hold the posture and exhale as you slowly roll your spine back onto the floor.

Exercise for Diastasis recti (Postpartum women) cure after pregnancy
Exercise for Diastasis recti (Postpartum women) cure after pregnancy

The Most Popular Option: Tummy Binding

Wrap a cloth or thin band tightly around your abdominal area. It aids in the creation of support and stability for your abdomen. This is called Tummy Binding and this process can help keep the muscles together and heal diastasis recti.

Tummy Binding to heal diastasis recti after pregnancy
Tummy Binding to heal diastasis recti after pregnancy

Surgery Is Also An Option To Heal Diastasis Recti

As diastasis recti is the separation of abdomen muscles, it can occur on either side of the body, and it is subdivided depending on severity. Some women will have mild diastasis recti, while others will have severe cases. Surgery may be considered for ladies with abdominal muscle weakness who are unable to perform normal activities as a result of their gap. Other than that, surgery is not recommended for women with mild diastasis recti as they can go through exercise program or treatments to treat it.

Surgery to heal diastasis recti
Surgery to heal diastasis recti

Heal Diastasis Through EMS Treatment

Diastasis recti is a condition in which the abdominal muscles separate after birth. Surgery is not the only way to repair this problem. Surgery might result in a significant amount of downtime whereas EMS treatments offer a non-invasive solution.

The popular EMS machines are EmShape and Tesla Former, which we write about in our article "EmShape, Tesla Former and Other Brands - What’s The Difference?"

Or if you are more of an experiential person that prefers to try it instead of reading about it, we sometimes have 2x free trials available here.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is Diastasis Serious?

For most, diastasis recti is not a dangerous or harmful condition. However, many people experiencing diastasis recti have frustrating side effects as they can be either cosmetic, emotional, functional, or all 3. Some of the side effects includes Belly pooch.

Is Divarication Of Recti A Hernia?

No. Divarication of recti is the separation of your rectus abdominis. Hernia is the protrusion of internal organs through the muscle wall. For extreme cases of diastasis recti, complications may include umbilical hernia.

Various stages of abdomen separation seen in patients
Various stages of abdomen separation seen in patients

What Causes Diastasis?

In some people, excess pressure causes diastasis recti. When pregnancy is over, the abdominals and connective tissue stretch. Women get Relaxin hormone to which the muscle gets softened and widened which allows the connective tissue to stretch and separate much easier.

What Happens If Diastasis Recti Goes Untreated?

Until treatment has begun, diastasis recti can cause pelvic floor dysfunction, back, poor posture and pelvic pain. If diastasis recti is left untreated it may also cause umbilical hernia.

What Is Diastasis Recti Caused By?

Diastasis recti occur when a muscle in the abdomen has been separated by excessive stress. In many instances, pregnancy or heavy lifting can cause Diastasis recti. It will typically heal itself or physiotherapists and EMS treatments are available as an option to treat this.

What Causes Diastasis Recti In Males?

Diastasis recti are commonly seen in women post pregnancy but can also be seen in men due to improper exercise and weight lifting.

Can Diastasis Recti Affect Men?

Yes, Diastasis recti can affect anyone including men, but in men, diastasis recti can be due to improper exercise and can lead to a lot of other serious problems like erectile dysfunction.

Diastasis recti in men
Diastasis recti in men

Can You Do Anything About Diastasis Recti While Pregnant?

The majority of women have this problem while pregnancy occurs. The condition can be improved by removing and strengthening the deep core muscles and abdominal wall with the help of several abdominal exercises. Moms into fitness show us how!

Do I Have Diastasis Recti Or Am I Just Fat?

When you think you are suffering abdominal injuries from pregnancy it is possible that it may be caused by a torn abdominal muscle in the abdomen. Usually, when you put a couple of fingers pressed around your navel area, and you feel the gap of ~2 fingers between the abs muscle, it may be diastasis recti.

How Common Is Diastasis Recti During Pregnancy?

Diastasis recti mean your belly is stretched as a result of the left-right-sided muscle expansion. This is a widespread problem among ladies during pregnancy. It affects almost half of pregnant females.

rectus abdominis muscles during pregnancy
Rectus Abdominis muscles during pregnancy

How Do I Know If I Have Diastasis Recti?

Place your hand on your belly button with your fingers pressing down the midline of your belly button. Check if there are gaps (~ 2 fingers or more) around the abdominal wall muscles

How Do You Fix Diastasis Recti Hernia?

Diastasis recti may be treated with physical therapy, at home exercises or EMS treatments. For severe cases, it may be repaired using invasive surgery such as abdominal tucks. Surgery is performed when cases of hernia happens.