Diastasis recti is the widening of the gap between the 2 sides of the Rectus Abdominis muscle. The split occurs at the Linea Alba, the mid-line collagen structures of connective tissue at the front of your abdomen.
AKA: DR, diastasis, ‘Divarication of the Recti’, DRA or ‘Rectus Divarication’. Frequently called: Mommy tummy, mum tum, baby bulge, baby belly.
What Does Diastasis Recti Look Like?
If you have diastasis recti your tummy might still “look” pregnant, many months or even years post-baby. A DR can present itself as a ‘doming’ of your tummy, exacerbated when performing crunch type movements or sitting up from a lying position on your back.
In an NHS Hospital clinical trial, 94% of women reported an improvement in signs and symptoms of diastasis recti or separation of the stomach muscles.*
Why Does Diastasis Recti Matter?
Diastasis Recti doesn’t just affect the way your tummy looks. The separation isn’t the problem in itself, it’s a symptom of a weak core (and pelvic floor). This can lead to a lack of strength and stability in the entire pelvic region and midsection.
You may also experience pain in your back, pelvic region or tummy when doing every day movements or exercise.
A diastasis recti is a sign of excessive and uncontained intra-abdominal pressure or loading. It is common in the later stages of pregnancy, particularly second or subsequent pregnancies.
A diastasis happens due to the increase in load and the inevitable shift in alignment throughout your pregnancy, which cause excessive and ‘un-contained’ intra abdominal pressure.
The Rectus Abdominis is only 1 of 4 layers of abdominal muscles: the Transverse Abdominis (deepest muscle layer) the Interior and Exterior Obliques (next 2 layers) that form your waist, and then the Rectus Abdominis is on the outside.
When the 2 parts of the muscle separate or come apart, the connective mid-line is stretched and weakened as it takes all other muscular and fascial support structures along with it. This may leave the front of the abdomen unsupported and unstable. This seam of connective tissue is designed to be taut, at full length and aligned in a vertical (breastbone to pubic bone) plane. But it cannot perform or function optimally when alignment is ‘out’. So it’s alignment we need to address to address a diastasis!
Very gently draw your lower belly inwards as you slowly exhale through pursed lips
Drop and relax your chest and shoulders
Don’t suck-in forcefully, or hold your breath, just softly draw in your lower abs
Fully relax your abdominal muscles as you inhale and release
Make sure you don’t tuck your pelvis under, your bum should stay out and proud!
Inhale, relax and prepare, then exhale, engage and lift.
This is ‘engaging your core’ and is how you stabilise your trunk and protect your back when lifting heavy loads like
small humans, car seats or groceries.
Diastasis Recti and your posture
- Try not to thrust out your chest or tuck your backside!
- Walk more, sit less, change position more
- You need strong glutes and a strong core to heal a diastasis
Follow these steps to help you to tweak and adjust your alignment. Poor alignment and posture is what is causing that uncontained pressure and loading.
Next you must learn to ENGAGE and RELEASE your core and pelvic floor effectively in everyday movements.
You want to be able to carry your baby, push your pram, lift your children, do housework, walk, and move with a strong and functional core. MUTU retrains, reconnects and strengthens your core. You won’t always have to engage and release your core consciously but this is where we start.
Then you strengthen your transverse abdominis muscle to help draw your rectus abdominis muscle back in together, helping your tummy to feel stronger and look flatter.