What is Diastasis Recti?

What is Diastasis Recti?

You may have heard of this condition if you are or have ever been pregnant.

Diastasis Recti is defined as the medial separation of the abdominal wall due to overstretching of the linea alba. Our abdominals are made up of three layers that are all connected. The abdominal wall is the only muscle system in our body with connective tissue that runs directly down the center of the muscles. This connective tissue, the linea alba, runs from the ribcage to the pelvis in a vertical line over the navel. This connective tissue is affected by hormones and it's integrity is altered during pregnancy and nursing, during a woman's menstrual cycle, and during times of stress such as with sleep deprivation.

The separation occurs when there is excessive, repetitive, forceful forward pressure on that connective tissue. This can include pregnancy as well as chronic poor posture, chronic breath holding, chronic constipation, frequent coughing, muscle imbalance such as with overactive outer abdominals and atrophy of the inner abdominals, long pushing stages of labor with poor fitness prior to motherhood, crunches and sit-ups, and exercises that include back bending or flaring the ribcage. This condition can affect anyone regardless of age, sex, or activity level.

The good news is that diastasis recti can be treated and improved! If your separation is greater than 2 fingers wide, if you suffer from back or pelvic pain, or if you just feel that you have a weak core you should seek treatment. Just because a condition is common does not mean that it is normal or that you should live with it. There are trained practitioners who can help you.




More about the Author and guest at TOMORROW's free Fit4Baby Preview class, Laura Jewett.




Laura graduated from the University of Washington in 2012 as a Doctor of Physical Therapy.

Laura’s love of movement began with an extensive dance background, having studied both ballet and modern dance from childhood into college. Laura became a Stott certified Pilates instructor in 2006 and has worked with many clients of varying ages and abilities.

Laura’s goal as a Physical Therapist is to help patients utilize postural adaptations, specific exercise techniques, and lifestyle modifications for improved function and quality of life. Laura has enjoyed advancing her skills with course work including: Kinesiotaping, functional movement assessments, Great Lakes Manual Therapy courses, and Diastasis Recti education.

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