Diastasis Recti is a separation of the Rectus Abdominis muscles and widening of the vertical centreline of the abdominal wall. All pregnant women will develop a degree of abdominal separation (Diastasis Recti) during their pregnancy.
It is a normal physiological change that happens to the tummy wall which makes room for the growth of the baby.
The right and left side of the superficial abdominal muscles (rectus abdominis) are joined in the midline with a band of connective tissue (made of collagen and elastin) called the linea alba.
The diastasis is not a tear, a hole, a hernia, or a sign of inflammation, if your GP tells you this, though a hernia can often be present after birth, do push for more information or book into your nearest Mummy MOT Practitioner.
We love stats:
Prevalence of Diastasis Rectus Abdominis (DRA) following childbirth is 60% at 6 weeks, 45% at 6 months, and 33% at 12 months (Sperstad et al., 2016).
The severity of postnatal diastasis ranges from width of two finger breadths (mild) to more than four / five finger breadths. Although the width is often measured it is the depth and laxity in the midline that is often more important functionally.
What are the Symptoms?
If you have a tummy gap you may have:
- A visible bulge or "pouch" 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 abdominal muscles.
- You may have difficulty lifting heavy objects, or performing some everyday tasks.
- Back pain.
How can I check for myself if I have tummy separation?
Your tummy gap will usually go back to normal by 8 to 12 weeks postpartum.
If you would like to check the size of your separation at home you can do the following:
- Lie on your back with your legs bent and your feet flat on the floor.
- Raise your shoulders off the floor slightly and look down at your tummy.
- Whilst using your fingertips, feel between the edge of your muscles. This is above and below the belly button.
- From there you can see how many fingers you can fit into the gap between the two muscles.
…or…other checks you can do to measure which is not the width of the gap – the depth and tension of your linea alba. Take a photo and email it to us if you are concerned, we can look at the photo and advise if you may have abdominal separation. Sometimes is not down to the width of the gap, but also your core, breath and pelvic floor strength.
What treatments are available from the Mummy MOT?
Diastasis Recti can becomes problematic when the muscles and fascia do not return to a healthy position after delivery, and the stretched and weakened core muscles do not properly support the force generated within the abdomen during activity.
Finding and connecting with your deep core muscles will help close a diastasis (we're not talking planks and crunches). Engaging your transverse abdominis and pelvic floor muscles effectively and correctly will help re-connect and align, and restore.
Please get in touch with us if you suspect you may have Diastasis Recti. We can help you by completing a detailed assessment to check for DRA; examining the abdominal wall and any risks to pelvic floor function.
Based on the assessment your practitioner will advise a specialised rehabilitation program for your individual needs and goals.
Book a Mummy MOT Assessment or request a 45-min Online Consultation with our team if you are concerned about your tummy gap.