What is Diastasis Recti?
Diastasis Recti (D.R.) is the separation of your abdominal muscles that occurs during pregnancy to allow room for your baby to grow. For many women, it is a condition that can remain long after birth.
Almost everyone gets some degree of diastasis recti post pregnancy but the good news it is absolutely possible to heal your core.
How do you test for or measure Diastasis Recti?
While it is important to understand what degree of separation you have (you may have heard about 1 finger, 3 finger separation, for example), it’s important not to get caught up on this, especially if you are in the early postnatal period. It is much better to wait until closer to around the 10 week postpartum mark to get a better measurement of separation.
There are a few tell tale signs you may be experiencing Diastasis Recti including:
- "Doming" of your abdominals
- A sore lower back
- Pelvic floor issues
Lying on your back and lifting your head up off the floor allows you to get a better sense of your abdominal separation. This short clip shows you how to test for separation. By visiting a women’s health physio you’ll be able to get a full assessment of the status of your core.
I have Diastasis Recti. How can I manage and improve it?
There are several simple tips that can help in minimizing further separation and also promote abdominal recovery.
You can heal diastasis recti, but first you must focus on the "connection" (fascial networking) and less about the actual separation. To avoid and manage abdominal separation it is important to learn how to properly strengthen your deep core muscles along with good postural habits – both during and after pregnancy. Strengthening these deep core muscles has a huge number of benefits including:
1. Helping to prevent or avoid incontinence
2. Avoiding or minimising back discomfort or pain
3. Better posture
4. Stronger body overall
5. Flat or flatter tummy
6. Can help repair diastasis recti by assisting to wrap the rectus abdominals back together and also create more fascia and fascial connection.
Breathing effectively helps to stimulate your fascial connections and create stronger deep core muscles and fascia throughout your deep core. It’s pretty simply to learn when and how to breathe, not only during exercise but also during your daily movements as a busy mum and you can find out more here.
What should I avoid with Diastasis Recti?
A key movement to avoid with Diastasis Recti is anything that puts unnecessary stress on your midsection, for example sit ups, which can actually cause or increase the severity of Diastasis Recti and even slow down recovery. A simple hack is whenever you need to get up from a lying position is make sure you roll to one side and use your arms to support yourself up.
Rock hard abba dabbas may not be the result or indeed even the objective, but a strong core has so many flow on benefits and is incredibly important for a busy life with a baby and little people.
Thinking of getting back into exercise following the birth of you bundle? Before you do, read the Five Most Common Exercise Mistakes New Mums Make.
Need some tights that help keep your core supported? Our postnatal support tights have got you covered.
The above blog was written with the advice of postnatal fitness expert Dahlas Fletcher from Bodyfabulous Fitness.