May is the month for Mother’s Day and recognition of all women! We thought it would be helpful for new mommies (women that have just had babies) to discuss Diastasis Recti. Before you begin your regular exercise routine post-baby, you should know about this condition. What is it? Do you have it and how can you tell?

All good questions, let’s take a look.

What is Diastasis Recti?

Diastasis Recti (DR) is when there is a separation of the linea alba (centerline or membrane) that connects the rectus abdominus (6-pack muscles!). This commonly happens during pregnancy and needs to be treated very specifically. Many women want to get right back to their previous core/abdominal exercises after delivery, however, with DR, there are specific things to avoid.

What Causes Diastasis Recti?

During pregnancy, the abdominal muscles stretch and the linea alba widens. The linea alba can split apart in pregnancy or during labor when the abdominal muscles contract forcefully. A number of factors can cause or increase the likelihood of DR including:

  • Hormone changes during pregnancy
  • Pregnancy weight gain
  • Inappropriate pregnancy exercises
  • Large birth weight of baby
  • Multiple pregnancies

How to Measure for a Diastasis Recti:

Step 1

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

Step 2

Place your index and middle fingers directly above your navel (belly button). Your fingers should be aligned side by side and pointing in the direction of your feet.

Step 3

Raise your head and shoulders off the floor and feel for any gap or dip under your fingers.

Step 4

Lower your upper body back to starting position.

A two-finger (or one inch) width gap is clinically diagnosed as Diastasis Recti. One-finger width is considered normal.

diastasis rectiImage Source: DLVR Maternity

Please see next month’s blog on exercises to treat DR, what exercises specifically NOT to do, and body mechanics to prevent injury.

Questions? Feel free to contact us for more information.