Depending on many factors including your stage of motherhood, your pregnancy and birth experiences, the number of children you have and various other factors, you may have diastasis recti, otherwise known as DR. If this is the case there are some things that you need to be aware of.
If you aren’t quite sure what diastasis recti is or if you have it, don’t worry I have you covered. Below is a little information on DR, how to know if you have it, and how to work within your limits when exercising.
What is Diastasis Recti (RD)?
Also referred to as rectus or abdominal separation, diastasis recti is the separation of the 2 sections of the Rectus Abdominis (your 6 pack) muscle. Diastasis recti is very common, especially in mummys who have had larger or multiple babies.
The research shows that all women will develop some degree of separation in the third trimester of their pregnancy. The issue for a lot of women is that if this is left untreated postpartum it can remain for 12 months +.
When you have diastasis recti the structures of tissue that form the meeting point of the 2 sides of the rectus abdominis no longer provide the tension and stability it did prior to the separation occurring. The lack of protection and stability affects the whole body both aesthetically and functionally, which is why women with DR need to modify certain exercises.
The sure fire signs you have DR, are:
- ‘Pooching’ or ‘doming’ of your stomach
- Appearing a few months pregnant
- A weak core and pelvic floor
- A lack of strength and stability in the entire pelvic region and midsection
I have a great little test I complete to assess for DR in my clients and you can do the same test at home. If you have no issues at all when completing the test, you are good to go girl! If you do find you have some form of separation when you have completed the test, it is best that you consult with a physio or an experienced PT to learn how to modify your exercise regime accordingly.
Start by laying on your back with your knees bent and your feet flat on the floor. Relax your head and shoulders and place your fingers (palm down) just above your belly button.
Lift your head and neck very slightly off the floor and press down with your fingertips. If you feel a gap (separation), that’s the diastasis. You will feel the muscles close in around your fingers as you lift your head and neck. Repeat the test directly over the belly button, and then a couple of inches below.
A diastasis recti gap is measured in finger widths. If you find you have a 1-2 finger gap or less, that’s super common. If your separation is 2-finger widths or more I strongly suggest seeing that physio.