Oftentimes, women struggle to understand that the toned and strong core that they used to enjoy prior pregnancy won’t always bounce back after the birth of their child, and Diastasis Recti might be the culprit.
What is Diastasis Recti?
Diastasis Recti (DR) is a thinning of the linea alba but is more commonly referred to as a partial or complete separation of the rectus abdominis or your “six-pack” which runs from the pubic bone all the way up to the ribcage. Research has shown that the probability of women to experience DR during pregnancy or postpartum is up to 60 percent. However, diastasis recti is not limited to postpartum women. The condition can also affect men as a result of imbalances of abdominal muscle strength and engagement.
The abdominal separation can be above the navel, at the navel, below the navel, or along the entire length.
What will you experience if you have Diastasis Recti?
It’s usually very difficult to see a diastasis without physically checking for it. Simply because the linea alba lies beneath any subcutaneous fat that is on the abdominal wall. I believe that it is pretty safe to assume that every woman has experienced some degree of abdominal separation during pregnancy as the separation is expected to occur to accommodate the growing baby.
Oftentimes, people with DR will experience a general feeling of weakness in their core which can lead to back pain. They can also complain of “looking pregnant” even if they have never been pregnant or it is months or years since having their child due to a protruding belly caused by the abdominal separation.
It’s common to postpartum women to present one or more of Pelvic Floor issues such as pain with sex, leaking with impact or stress, and urge incontinence. You can self-check for diastasis recti by following the steps below.
How to Test for Diastasis Recti Postpartum?
The test is more commonly performed in a lying down position and it is assessed by checking both depth and width as well as location (above or below the navel).
Here’s how to self-check yourself for diastasis recti postpartum:
1. Start by rolling to your side and over to your back, legs bent, feet flat on the floor. Refrain from sitting straight up to avoid too much on your diastasis and pelvic floor.
2. Lift your head and shoulders up off the floor. While you are in this position gently place and palpate two fingers above and below your belly button, and along your midline of the abdominal wall. 3. If you feel a space bigger than two finger lengths or you feel your muscles bulging, you likely have a diastasis recti.