Diastasis recti is a common condition in pregnant and postpartum people. It occurs when the rectus abdominis muscles (six-pack ab muscles) separate during pregnancy from being stretched. The separation can make a person’s belly stick out or bulge months or years postpartum. It can be repaired with special exercises that help to close the separation.Visit at Scona Sports & Physiotherapy.
Who gets diastasis recti?
Diastasis recti is most common in pregnant and postpartum women (it can also be seen in men and infants). Diastasis recti usually develop in the third trimester. There is increased pressure on the abdominal wall because the baby is growing quickly during this time. Most people don’t notice diastasis recti until the postpartum period.
What are the symptoms of diastasis recti?
Most people don’t notice signs of diastasis recti until they are postpartum. You can have diastasis recti during pregnancy, but it’s hard to distinguish because your abdomen is stretched.
Common signs of diastasis recti during the postpartum period are:
- A visible bulge or “pooch” that protrudes just above or below the belly button.
- Softness or jelly-like feeling around your belly button.
- Coning or doming when you contract your ab muscles.
- Difficulty lifting objects, walking or performing everyday tasks.
- Pain during sex.
- Pelvic or hip pain.
- Low back pain
- Poor posture.
- Urine leaks when you sneeze or cough.
How is it treated?
Most women will experience some abdominal separation during pregnancy. This can weaken your core and lead to back or pelvic pain. You may need to wear a binder or Tubigrip for support during the day. Also, take care to do the following:
- Avoid any heavy lifting or further straining of your abdominal muscles until after you deliver.
- Practice good posture.
- Support your lower back when sitting with a towel or pillow placed behind you.
- Bend your knees, roll, and support yourself with your arm when getting in or out of bed, or standing up off the floor.
For some women, diastasis recti may correct itself after delivery as the ab muscles regain strength. If you’re still experiencing symptoms or separation eight weeks postpartum, exercises may help. You can perform the exercises at home, or work with us at Scona Sports & Physiotherapy and our therapist can provide you specific exercise protocol.