Diastasis Recti

In the world of postpartum recovery, there’s a topic that often flies under the radar but can have significant effects on women’s bodies: diastasis recti. This condition, characterized by the separation of the abdominal muscles, can affect anyone, not just postpartum mothers. Understanding diastasis recti, its causes, symptoms, and treatment options is crucial for anyone looking to regain core strength and function.

In this comprehensive guide, we’ll delve into the depths of diastasis recti, shedding light on what it is and how it can be managed effectively with the right diastasis recti treatment.

What is Diastasis Recti?

Diastasis recti, commonly referred to as abdominal separation, occurs when the connective tissue between the rectus abdominis muscles (the “six-pack” muscles) stretches and the muscles separate. This separation creates a gap in the midline of the abdomen, which can result in a protruding belly or a “pooch” that persists even with weight loss. While diastasis recti is most commonly associated with pregnancy and childbirth, it can also occur in men, women who have never been pregnant, and infants.

Causes of Diastasis Recti

Several factors can contribute to the development of diastasis recti, including:

  • Pregnancy – The expansion of the uterus during pregnancy can put excessive pressure on the abdominal muscles, leading to separation.
  • Improper Lifting – Lifting heavy objects with poor form or straining during exercises like crunches can increase abdominal pressure and contribute to diastasis recti.
  • Genetics – Some individuals may be predisposed to diastasis recti due to genetic factors or a family history of the condition.
  • Obesity – Excess weight around the abdomen can strain the abdominal muscles and exacerbate existing separation.
  • Multiple Pregnancies – Women who have had multiple pregnancies are at higher risk of developing diastasis recti due to repeated stretching of the abdominal muscles.

Symptoms of Diastasis Recti

Identifying diastasis recti involves more than just noticing a protruding belly. Some common symptoms include:

  • Visible Bulge – A visible bulge or ridge along the midline of the abdomen, particularly when engaging the abdominal muscles.
  • Lower Back Pain – Weak abdominal muscles can lead to increased strain on the lower back, resulting in discomfort or pain.
  • Poor Posture – Diastasis recti can contribute to poor posture, as weakened core muscles struggle to support the spine.
  • Digestive Issues – Some individuals may experience digestive issues such as bloating or constipation due to decreased abdominal support.

Diagnosing Diastasis Recti

Diagnosing diastasis recti typically involves a physical examination by a healthcare professional. During the examination, the width and depth of the separation are assessed, usually by measuring the distance between the two sides of the rectus abdominis muscles at various points along the midline.

Treatment Options for Diastasis Recti

While diastasis recti may not always require medical intervention, especially if it’s mild, there are several treatment options available for those looking to improve core strength and function.


Physiotherapy, or physical therapy, is often recommended as a primary treatment for diastasis recti. A skilled physiotherapist can provide personalized exercises and techniques to strengthen the abdominal muscles and improve core stability. These may include:

  • Pelvic Floor Exercises – Strengthening the pelvic floor muscles can help support the abdomen and reduce pressure on the rectus abdominis muscles.
  • Transverse Abdominis Activation – Targeting the deep abdominal muscles, such as the transverse abdominis, can help restore core strength and function.
  • Postural Correction – Physiotherapists can provide guidance on proper posture and body mechanics to prevent further strain on the abdominal muscles.

Abdominal Bracing Techniques

Abdominal bracing involves contracting the abdominal muscles while maintaining a neutral spine position. This technique can help provide support to the midline of the abdomen and promote healing of diastasis recti.

Lifestyle Modifications

Making lifestyle changes can also contribute to the management of diastasis recti. These may include:

  • Avoiding Heavy Lifting – Minimizing activities that increase abdominal pressure, such as heavy lifting, can prevent further separation of the abdominal muscles.
  • Maintaining a Healthy Weight – Achieving and maintaining a healthy weight can reduce strain on the abdominal muscles and support overall core strength.
  • Proper Body Mechanics – Practicing proper body mechanics during daily activities can help prevent additional stress on the abdominal muscles.

Surgical Intervention

In severe cases of diastasis recti where conservative measures have been unsuccessful, surgical intervention may be considered. During surgery, the connective tissue between the rectus abdominis muscles is tightened, and excess skin may be removed to restore abdominal contour. However, surgery carries risks and should be approached with caution.


Diastasis recti is a common yet often overlooked condition that can have a significant impact on core strength and function. By understanding the causes, symptoms, and treatment options for diastasis recti, individuals can take proactive steps to improve their abdominal health and overall well-being. Whether through physiotherapy, lifestyle modifications, or surgical intervention, there are options available for managing diastasis recti and reclaiming core strength. Remember, consulting with a healthcare professional is essential for personalized guidance and treatment recommendations tailored to individual needs.


By Mike

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