Wendy Powell

Diastasis Recti Symptoms and Self-Test

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Pregnant woman in a green dress, gray sweater, and cream hat outside in the snow.

Assessing yourself for diastasis recti symptoms, or abdominal separation, is easy to do at home following this simple guide. When checking for diastasis recti symptoms you are assessing not only the width of the gap, but also the depth or ‘squidgy-ness’. Both these measures, along with other symptoms or feelings to watch for, will determine the severity of your diastasis, and what you can do.

Diastasis Recti Symptoms Test Video

How to self test for diastasis recti: A video guide

How to test for diastasis recti

Watch the video and/or follow these instructions to check for symptoms and signs of diastasis recti.

Lie on your back with your knees bent and feet flat on the floor.

You need to be fully relaxed and comfortable so that no muscles are straining or contracting, especially your neck, shoulders or abs –  rest your head on a thin cushion or pillow.

Place 3 fingertips, palm facing you, just higher than your belly button at the midline. 

Press down gently but firmly with your fingertips, once above the belly button, and then just below, towards the pubic line. This gives you an indication of the integrity of the connective tissue with the muscles at rest. Do you fingers sink in? Is there resistance to the pressure?

Now repeat the test, whilst lifting your shoulders just off the floor. You only raise your head and shoulders about an inch, exhaling as you lift. Once above the belly button, once below. Between each, lower your head, relax and inhale.

What you’re feeling for and measuring

You will feel the two sides of the rectus muscle closing in around your fingers as you lift. Only hold the position for a second or two. You may need to try 2 fingers, or 4 or more, to feel the two sides and measure the gap.

You’re also feeling for the depth or squidgy-ness of the midline. Do your fingers sink right in, with no resistance? Or can you feel some increased firmness against your fingertips as you raise your head and press gently in?

As well as assessing width and depth, be mindful of any tenderness or pain. A diastasis recti test shouldn’t hurt, so if there is pain, reduce how much pressure you’re applying.

Do you feel or see any bulging or doming of your abdomen when you perform the test? These can be symptoms of diastasis.

Place your other hand gently on your pelvic floor / perineum. Do you feel any bulging or feel a bearing down?

What does diastasis look like?

diastasis recti telltale signs

How diastasis symptoms might appear when you look down at your tummy when lying on your back.

Why test for diastasis recti?

The causes and symptoms of diastasis recti, as well as exercises that will help, are explained in detail in the MUTU Free Resources pages.

By feeling for yourself the position and working of your muscles and the connective tissue that determine your core function and strength, you are able to understand diastasis and what you can do.

What can you do?

Check out the evidence-based diastasis recti resources on what exercises to do, what to avoid and sifting fact from fiction.

The MUTU System programme was trialled by 100 women in a University Hospital NHS Trust in 2020. 94% of participants with diastasis noticed an improvement in 3-6 weeks.

free trial MUTU

MUTU System was approved by NHS Digital Assessors ORCHA for the NHS Apps lIbrary in 2020 and achieved a score of 91% across criteria from clinical efficacy (ie, it works!) to data compliance, patient safety and accessibility of the app. You’re in safe hands. Read about the MUTU programme in detail here.

Life-Changing Results for Mums

  • Approved as safe + effective in NHS trials
  • Evidence based solution for diastasis recti + pelvic floor
  • Pre + Postnatal workouts on-demand from any device
  • Inclusive, expert-led global support community
  • Track your step by step progress in the MUTU Hub

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