Think you might have diastasis recti?
If you …
Have a post-baby belly that just won’t go away no matter how healthy you eat or how many crunches you do.
Suffer with nagging back pain and just feel like your core is weak (despite all the planks you’ve been doing).
Pee yourself from time-to-time. Maybe just a little. But still.
… You could have diastasis recti – a separation of the two sides of your rectus abdominis (your “six-pack abs”).
Don’t freak out! Your abs are supposed to separate during pregnancy – especially if you’re growing 2 or more kiddos in there. For some women though, the abs don’t naturally come back together after baby comes out so they’re left with a gap between the two sides of their rectus abominis muscles.
I’ll go into more detail in the video, but the truth is that the gap is not the major issue. The most important issue to pay attention to is the lack of function.
When you have a diastasis you may be dealing with all kinds of negative side effects. Like back pain, a weak pelvic floor (often a weak pelvic floor and core go hand-in-hand because everything in your body is connected and these two systems work closely together), and leaking or full-on losing control of your bladder when you run, cough, jump, sneeze or laugh.
This video will tell you a bit more about diastasis recti and show you how to do a self-check to figure out if you have it or not.
Do the same action I showed you in the video – where you push your fingers into your tummy and lift your head off the ground – about 3 finger widths above where you originally checked (just above your belly button) and 3 finger widths below your belly button as well.
You may find that your gap is wider or feels deeper at different places. That’s totally normal. I had a wider, deeper gap just above my belly button, a tiny gap just below my sternum and a somewhere-in-between gap below my belly button.
Found out you’ve got it?
Here’s what you need to do next:
Step One: Learn how to properly engage your core so all the core rehab exercises you’re about to do will actually be helpful.
Step Two: Start your core rehab journey. (Hooray!)
I highly – highly – recommend that you start by finding a great pelvic floor physiotherapist so she can give you a full assessment and guide you through some exercises and stretches to help you heal your diastasis (and any other core or pelvic floor issues you’re experiencing).
You can also start doing some simple core workouts to help rehab yourself at home. (Just make sure to check-in with your doctor or physio first to make sure any exercises you’re doing are right for your body – there’s no one size fits all approach to healing diastasis, weak core, and pelvic floor issues).
Here are some links to help you find a physiotherapist near you (if your country isn’t on the list try typing “find a pelvic floor physiotherapist + your country” into Google):
You don’t have to live with the pain and the “this isn’t what I want my body to look or feel like” thoughts.
You can help your body heal as best as possible.
So choose a path and hop on it.
P.S. Have a friend who’s bummed out by her post-baby belly? Send her this video and suggest that she check for diastasis in her own body.