What is Diastasis Recti?

Diastasis Recti is a condition where the abdominal muscles separate. It often occurs during pregnancy as the belly expands. This separation can lead to a bulge in the belly area.

Understanding Diastasis Recti

When we talk about the condition known as diastasis recti, we’re referring to the separation of the abdominal muscles, a common but often misunderstood health issue. This separation occurs in the rectus abdominis, which is the outermost abdominal muscle that stretches from the ribs to the pubic bone. While it can affect anyone, including men and newborns, it’s most frequently discussed in the context of pregnancy and postpartum recovery.

The Link Between Pregnancy and Diastasis Recti

Pregnancy significantly increases the risk of developing diastasis recti because of the immense pressure placed on the abdominal muscles. As the uterus expands, it pushes against the abdominal wall, sometimes causing the muscles to stretch and separate along the midline. This is not just a cosmetic concern but can also impact physical function. It’s worth noting that while pregnancy is a common cause, any condition that puts excessive pressure on the belly, such as obesity, can lead to diastasis recti.

Symptoms and Identification

One of the primary symptoms of diastasis recti is a noticeable bulge or “pooch” in the midsection, which is particularly evident when the abdominal muscles are strained. However, the condition is not solely about appearance. It can also lead to lower back pain, constipation, and urinary incontinence due to the reduced support for the pelvic floor and core. Identifying diastasis recti typically involves a simple self-check or a clinical assessment by a healthcare provider.

Impact on Core Strength and Pelvic Floor

The core is the body’s central hub of strength, supporting every movement and stabilizing the spine. When the abdominal muscles separate, it weakens this core support system, potentially leading to a cascade of physical challenges. The pelvic floor, a group of muscles that support the organs in the pelvis, can also be affected. A strong connection exists between diastasis recti and pelvic floor disorders, as both involve the weakening of support structures that are crucial for bodily functions.

Recovery and Treatment Options

Recovery from diastasis recti is possible, and the approach can vary depending on the severity of the separation and the individual’s overall health. Treatment often begins with specialized exercises designed to strengthen the core and pelvic floor. These are not your typical abdominal workouts but are targeted movements that focus on bringing the muscles back together.

Physical therapy is another cornerstone of treatment, providing personalized guidance and support. In cases where exercise and physical therapy do not yield the desired results, surgical options, such as abdominoplasty, might be considered. However, surgery is generally seen as a last resort.

Exercise: A Key to Recovery

Exercise plays a critical role in both preventing and recovering from diastasis recti. It’s essential, however, to choose the right kind of exercises. High-impact activities or traditional core workouts, like crunches, can exacerbate the condition. Instead, the focus should be on gentle, restorative exercises that promote muscle healing and strength without placing undue strain on the abdomen.

Navigating Postpartum Recovery

For many women, the postpartum period is when diastasis recti becomes most apparent. It’s a time of significant physical and emotional adjustment, and the pressure to “bounce back” to pre-pregnancy shape can be overwhelming. It’s important for new mothers to give themselves grace and patience. Recovery from diastasis recti is a gradual process, and rushing it can lead to setbacks. Embracing a gentle approach to physical activity and seeking support from healthcare professionals can make a substantial difference in the healing journey.


Diastasis recti is more than a post-pregnancy issue; it’s a condition that affects the core of our physical wellbeing. Understanding its causes, symptoms, and treatment options is the first step toward recovery. Whether you’re experiencing diastasis recti post-pregnancy or due to other causes, it’s crucial to approach recovery with patience, care, and the guidance of healthcare professionals. With the right support and treatment plan, strengthening your core and regaining your physical health is entirely within reach.