Diastasis Recti, what is it and how to fix it!
(also known as abdominal separation)
Commonly defined as a gap of roughly 2.7 cm or greater between the two sides of the rectus abdominis muscles. The distance between the right and left rectus abdomens muscles is created by the stretching of the linea alba, a connective collagen sheath created by the aponeurosis insertions of the transverse abdominis, internal oblique, and external oblique.
In pregnant or post partum women, the condition is caused by the stretching of the rectus abdominis by the growing uterus. It is more common in women who have had more than one pregnancy due to repeated episodes of stretching.
A diastasis recti may appear as a ridge running down the midline of the abdomen and becomes more prominent with straining and may disappear when the abdominal muscles are relaxed. The medial borders of the right and left halves of the muscle may be palpated during contraction of the rectus abdominis.
To discover if you have an abdominal separation lay on your back, knees bent at 90° with feet flat. Gently place your fingers along the center line of your abdominals and tuck your chin to chest and slowly lift your head neck and shoulders off the floor. With muscles tense, you will be able to feel the ridge that is presented. Measurement of the width of separation is determined by the number of fingertips that can fit within the space between the left and right rectus abdominis muscles.
How to fix a Diastasis Recti
There is so much conflicting information out there on how to fix a Diastasis Recti that you can become overwhelmed and discouraged. I have been working with women for 6 years now and have developed an exercise protocol that incorporates mind body connection, Pilates mat exercises and the Pilates Reformer. I have gotten amazing results but don’t take my word for it, check out what one of my happy clients has to say!
“I knew something wasn’t right. After three pregnancies, I still looked very pregnant even though I had delivered my 10 lb, 8 oz. son months ago. People would actually come up to me and ask me how far along I was. This physical condition was taking its toll on me emotionally. I saw my doctor to find out why I still looked this way. An ultrasound showed that I had diastasis recti with a 7.4 cm abdominal separation. My doctor suggested physiotherapy. After six months, I still saw no results. I asked my doctor why it wasn’t working. She then referred me to a plastic surgeon.
The plastic surgeon explained that the only solution was to have it surgically repaired, for about 13 thousand dollars. I don’t have that kind of money, so back I go to my doctor. Next, I was sent to a general surgeon who said, “They don’t usually consider repairing diastasis recti because of the high potential for tearing.” I felt like I had just hit a brick wall! I was going to look and feel this way forever.
One day my sister told me about a post on a community website from a registered physiotherapist, Laurie, who shared that she had overcome abdominal separation – twice – and that she had helped other women recover. I called her right away. I have been working with her for about half a year and I have seen wonderful changes. My abdominal separation now measures about one finger at the navel. My health and well-being is much better. I feel like a “new and improved” me. I thank my sister for calling me about that post and I thank Laurie for helping me change my life!” EK -Ottawa