A few years ago not many women would have known the term, Diastasis Recti (DR) or it’s meaning. Today we have so much more awareness about pregnancy, the body, and postpartum health for Moms. This term is a bit of a buzz word used in the fitness industry. However, many women still live with Diastasis Recti unknowingly.
Diastasis Recti is separation of the abdominal muscles that occurs during pregnancy. Your rectus is connected by a thin line of collagen called the linea alba. This piece of connective tissue allows your abdominal muscles to expand during the prenatal period to support the growing uterus.
Typically, DR goes undetected because there is no pain that comes with it and most care providers do not check for it during or after pregnancy.
Prenatally, after 25 weeks gestation, we look for a doming of the abdominals when lying on your back in a ‘crunch’ position. After 8 weeks postpartum, we check you the same way and place our fingers above or below the belly button to feel for any separation of the rectus. Diastasis Recti is two finger width separation or more and can be reconnected to a finger width and a half.
Here is a break down of how to check yourself for DR after baby.
The “Rec” Check
1. Lay on your back, knees bent, feet flat on the floor.
2. Hold head in hands and lift shoulders and head off the floor.
This engages the rectus abdominis muscles, allowing to check for a split.
3. With 2 fingers (side by side as if you are making a peace sign without separating your fingers), feel the linea alba for any split in the following 3 locations: Above the belly button and below the belly button to the pubic bone.
4. If the split is more than 2 fingers wide, diastasis recti is present. In this case, eliminate flexion exercises and focus on oblique and transverse abdominal work.
5. If the split is less than 2 fingers wide, it is safe to begin gentle curl up or flexion exercises.
If you do find that there is separation in your abdominals, I would recommend contacting a pelvic floor specialist, or physical therapist to schedule an appointment and have it confirmed by a professional.
Remember to consult your care provider before starting any new exercise programs during or after pregnancy. For any newly postpartum Momma’s that want to heal their Diastasis check out my offer in this issue and connect with me today!
Expecting with Emily