Diastasis recti is a condition where the right and left sides of the rectus abdominus (the muscle that makes up the front wall of the abdominals) to spread apart at the body’s midline. A longitudinal ridge or bulge is evident in the contracted abdominal muscles.
What causes Diastasis?
Abdominal separation occurs when the growing uterus pushes against the abdominal wall thereby stretching it. Risks factors for developing diastasis are greater in women who:
- are older than 35
- are expecting multiples
- have previously had abdominal separation with pregnancy
- have had a previous cesarean section
- deliver a high birth weight baby
- are petite
- have \ poor abdominal muscle tone
- have had previous pregnancies
- are obese, have an excessive amount of abdominal fat
Do I have Diastasis?
Most women do not know they have the condition until after delivery, but some do present during pregnancy. Diastasis presents as a ridge as a ridge that extends from the breastbone down to the belly button. This is often more pronounced when the muscles are strained.
Are there complications associated with diastasis?
Muscular separation can cause some common health problems if not treated including:lower back pain poor posture due to a lack of abdominal strength and support and hernias.
There are several ways to treat a diastasis after giving birth. A simple way is the use of a postpartum compression garment. The support of such a garments shorten recovery time, provide the support you will need to strengthen your core muscles and lessens complications of caused by muscle separation, In addition to the use of a compression garment simple abdominal exercises are very helpful.
How can I detect diastasis?
This simple self-test will help you determine if you have abdominal separation/diastasis recti and how severe it is.
Lie on your back with your knees bent & your feet flat on the floor. Relax your head & shoulders & place your fingers (palm facing you) just above your belly button.
Lift your head, neck & shoulders slightly off the floor & press down with your fingertips. If you feel a gap, that’s the diastasis. You will feel the muscles close in around your fingers as you lift your head & neck. Don’t lift your shoulders up too high. Repeat the test in two other places: directly over the belly button, & a couple of inches below.
A diastasis recti gap is measured in finger widths. You are aiming for a 1-2 finger gap or less, but don’t panic if it’s much bigger at first!