What Is Diastasis Recti

What is diastasis recti and how do I check for it?

The separation of your rectus abdominis muscle, or your “6-pack muscle” is a common occurrence during pregnancy. In most women this separation will return to normal within the first 6-12 weeks after having the baby. In many cases, however, this separation will remain unclosed, creating increased strain on your back, pelvic floor, and abdominal muscles. When this happens the core muscles cannot strengthen properly and there is an increased risk of back pain, injury with exercise, and pelvic floor dysfunction, such as urinary incontinence or organ prolapse. A diastasis recti can be rehabilitated with exercises designed to strengthen your transverse abdominis muscle. It is also important to avoid certain abdominal exercises, such as crunches, until it is healed, or you can worsen then gap.

testing for diastasis recti

To check for a diastasis recti:

1. Lay on your back with your knees bent and your feet flat.

2. Make sure you are completely relaxed and place 4 fingers horizontally across your belly button. Push them into your belly slightly.

3. Lift your head as if you are doing an abdominal crunch.

4. Feel the edges of your rectus abdominis (“6-pack muscle”) come onto either side of your fingers.

5. The gap is measured by the amount of fingers that fit between the muscle.

a. If you feel the muscle come together under your fingers and they cannot fit between the gap then you do not have a diastasis recti.

b. A measurement of 1 finger or more is considered a diastasis recti, or “gap”.

If you have a gap you should consider attending Bye Bye Mommy Tummy, Closing your Diastasis Recti: A workshop for postpartum abdominal separation!