Wendy Powell

Can you heal diastasis recti years later? Yes – here’s how!

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

It’s never too late to strengthen your core function, heal diastasis recti and improve the stability of your abdominal muscles.

One of the most common questions we’re asked by moms is how to fix diastasis recti years later. Many moms think they’ve left it too late to make a difference and worry that nothing can be done . If that sounds like you, don’t worry, the short answer to, ‘Can I heal years later? is “Yes!” 

You can always improve your core function, tension and the stability of your abdominal muscles. However long ago you had your baby. The truth is we never stop being postpartum, so why put an expiry date on your recovery period?

Your ab muscles are all still there, but they have shifted and been put under extreme tension and load. If you have diastasis recti the muscles have separated. It’s never too late to improve core strength and minimise diastasis, but some of the more traditional ab exercises you’re used to, aren’t necessarily where to start. 

How to fix diastasis recti years later?

Posture and deep core work are central to healing diastasis recti however long ago you had your babies.

Diastasis recti symptoms can present themselves in a number of ways including a pregnant-looking tummy, back pain, urine leakage, pelvic prolapse, painful sex or just general difficulty performing everyday tasks like lifting and walking. A recent 2021 study showed that 33% of women still experience diastasis recti at 12 months postpartum (as well as many cases persisting much later in life). So it’s clear that treating diastasis recti, even years later, is a real priority.

The good news is however many years ago you had your babies, adjustments to the way you sit, stand and walk will affect how your core muscles work, and how your tummy looks.

If you have diastasis recti, the layers of abdominal muscles have drawn apart, and the connective tissue between them is thinner and stretched. By working on foundational healing, reconnection and strengthening of your deep core muscles and making some postural adjustments, you can absolutely improve the look and function of a diastasis recti.

Why thinking in terms of healing (and not ‘fixing’) is beneficial

The goal is stability and strength. There’s nothing broken to fix.

The two halves of your rectus muscle were never fused together and there was never ‘no gap’.  All of us have rectus ab muscles, in two halves, joined by connective tissue – the linea alba. It is this connective tissue that stretches and weakens, widening the gap down the midline between the breastbone and pubic bone. It’s not broken or torn so there’s nothing broken to fix (unless you have a hernia – which is different from diastasis recti).

The goal is to reduce the gap, or to treat/improve the width of the gap. However, the real goal is stability and strength. And you can still have that with a gap remaining – this a functional diastasis.

Heal diastasis recti years later through posture and deep core work

A quick-start postural alignment cheat sheet to help you start healing from today.

We go into posture and alignment and our top diastasis recti exercises in detail in our MUTU program but here’s our 3 biggest tips:

  1. Try not to thrust out your chest or tuck (flatten) your backside
  2. Walk more, sit less and change position more
  3. You need strong glutes and a strong core to heal a diastasis recti

Follow these steps to help you to tweak and adjust your alignment. Poor alignment and posture can mean un-contained pressure and loading. That’s a technical way of saying your core muscles are not in the right position to work optimally

Healing, connecting and strengthening your deep core muscles, and pelvic floor system will improve a diastasis recti. Whether it’s 1 year, 5 years or 20 years after you had your baby.

Will my diastasis recti get worse with age?

Age is not relevant. A diastasis will get worse if you continue to move and load your body in a way that increases the pressure on the gap. 

If you don’t take steps to heal your diastasis, it will simply stay, possibly causing a lack of optimal core strength and stability. This could potentially result in back pain, and also aesthetically many women don’t like it as the tummy protrudes more.

how to check for diastasis recti
Learn how to check for diastasis recti

Inspiring stories from MUTU mamas

Still looking for inspiration that you can start healing years later? Hear from our customers.

We’ve got Mamas getting great results in the MUTU System program whose children are now in their 20s and 30s and have long since flown the nest. They discovered years after giving birth, searching for answers, and almost giving up completely that they don’t need to put up with unwanted symptoms anymore.

My youngest baby was 32 last December! I’m a grandma 3 times over and I’m 62 and I’m 4.5 weeks into MUTU… My tummy is definitely shrinking and I only wish I had had this program when I was first a mommy in 1980! To say I have left this a bit late is something of an understatement, however, I don’t believe it is too late. I don’t believe it is ever too late for anything

Fiona, a MUTU mama and grandmama. Read Fiona’s story here.

How can MUTU help you on your journey?

MUTU is a postpartum exercise and wellness programme for moms at any and every stage of motherhood. 

Ad Diastasis testimonial

Healing, connecting and strengthening your deep core muscles, and pelvic floor system will improve a diastasis recti. Even years after you had your baby. Find out more about choosing the right postpartum programme for you.

Hospital trials show MUTU System is highly effective for helping with diastasis recti

In Hospital Trials in 2020, 94% of women with diastasis recti (separation of abdominal muscles) reported an improvement after using the MUTU System. It doesn’t matter how long ago you had your baby, the award-winning, medically recommended MUTU program can help. 

Article updated Friday 2nd December 2022.

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  1. I’m a mother of four and I’ve been in MUTU system for the last 2.5 years! I’ve participated in MUTU program after I had my triples 3 years ago and I’ve gained about 40 kgs during my pregnancy!

    today I feel younger, happier and healthier!!!
    Not only I lost all the pregnancy weight but I also my tummy is flat and toned!

    All my family members are asking me about how I managed to loose all the weight and I keep telling them its MUTU!!

    Thank you Wendy for this amazing program.

    1. Hey Zaina – thanks so much for your awesome feedback – it’s so great to hear that you and your family are noticing how much happier and healthier you are.

      It would be absolutely incredible if you would add your comments on the feedback form here so we can share your comments with other Mamas around the world who may need some motivation -> https://mutumamas.com/share/ (you need to be logged in to view it).

      Keep at it and much love from Team MUTU xxx

  2. This email was definitely meant for me. My youngest is almost 11. I purchased the system a few years ago but have never been consistent as I didn’t think it would really work for me being so far after post partum…now I’m encouraged…

  3. I am a mother of three young children, youngest 3 months. I have a large and deep separation. How can your program help?

    1. Hi Sam, No exercise routine can or should guarantee to ‘treat’ or ‘fix’ every situation. A focused postpartum core restoration program will benefit your “abdominal muscles and pelvic floor greatly, even where surgery is deemed necessary. Remember that diastasis recti is a result of inappropriate or ineffective loading on a compromised and weakened core, and of excessive intra abdominal pressure. The benefits of improving these issues with the right exercises, will be beneficial in all cases. Here at MUTU we focus on: Does your core work? Does your pelvic floor do its job? Is your stomach flatter and firmer and able to support your spine without pain or weakness? Do you look good, feel good and does it WORK? That’s more important than a finger measurement. Read more on ‘Why The Gap Isn’t Always The Problem in this article.

  4. After 1 singleton birth then twins 14 months later, my body has never been the same. My children are 33 and 32 now. I came across the Mutu System link tonight and decided I have nothing to loose!
    Everything makes sense with this program and it’s information no one readily makes available. Although I know the symptoms, I never heard about DR until tonight.
    Just joined and praying this is the beginning of a beautiful journey to better health!

    1. We’re so glad that you found MUTU and look forward to helping you on your healing journey. Don’t forget to login to Connect and say hi to our lovely Mama’s and Nicole x

  5. I have an umbilical hernia. Should I wait until after my operation and physiotherapy to begin or is this something you are familiar working with, considering DR ruins your core muscles?
    Thanks for reading

    1. Hi Elizabeth, Core 1 is likely safe for you but I recommend you check with your caregiver dealing with the operation or your Physio. They are likely familiar with MUTU but if not simply show them the Core 1 video on your phone. Any substitutions they would like you to make will be individual to you and you should follow their guidance. And don’t worry – DR doesn’t ruin your muscles! You can absolutely improve muscle function and tone using the MUTU rehab exercises. Stay on Modules 1 and 2 until fully cleared from all surgery and Physio – these exercises (ie Core 1) will complement your medical care as you recover and strengthen.

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