What is Diastasis Recti?

What is Diastasis Recti?

Diastasis Recti is a phrase banded around quite a bit post baby and is something that when I had my two children knew very little about.

Diastasis Recti is referred to as the separation of the rectus abdominis muscles or the ‘6 pack’ muscles down the midline of the belly.

The separation is a result of the connective tissue, called the line alba, becoming stretched and more lax in order to allow for your baby and bump to grow during pregnancy.

It is a totally normal occurrence during pregnancy and many studies have confirmed that pretty much 100% of women will experience some degree of separation, generally around the 35th week of pregnancy.

How long does it take to heal?

Generally the gap between the abdominal muscles will close significantly by around 8 weeks postpartum however it is important to remember that every women’s body is unique and therefore recovery can vary from mum to mum.


The most important thing to note in relation to Diastasis is this.

During Diastasis Recti, the linea alba loses the ability to generate ‘tension’ as well as it once did and is not as ‘dense’ in tissue quality as it once was.

Do you feel like:

  • you look bloated all the time?
  • you look 5 months pregnant still?
  • your lower back and pelvis don’t feel as stable and secure any more?
  • you cannot generate as much power and strength from your trunk/core?

How to Assess Diastasis

Step 1: Lie on your back with your knees bent and feet flat to the floor, like you are about to perform a glute bridge.

Step 2: Walk your hand along the midline of your belly, start to get a feel for how much tension you have along the linea alba. Start from just under the sternum (bra line) and work your way towards the pubic bone.

Do you haver areas that are squishier than others? Can you push your fingers way down into your belly? Does the tissue feel supportive and taut when you press into it.

Step 3: Using the three middle fingers of one hand, press straight down into the belly just above the belly button. Tuck you chin towards your chest and slowly lift your head off the floor keeping the shoulders down.

Step 4: Repeat the above approximately 3 fingers wide above the belly button

Step 5: Repeat, approximately 3 fingers wide below the belly button

Step 6: Re-test all three measurement sites using your connection breath. On the exhale breath think about lifting your pelvic floor with 25% of your maximum strength capacity.

Does your tummy feel squishy and soft? Imagine the difference between pressing your hand into a super soft pillow versus a harder mattress.

When pushing the fingers into the linea alba we are looking for solid tension and density. You should be able to feel the strong tissue under your fingers.

How can you aid healing?

It is so important post baby to focus on healing the body from the inside out in a slow and progressive way. Do not rush back into exercise/training before your core has been healed adequately. Through repeatedly exercising at loads that the body cannot manage you can actually worsen your diastasis and often cause irreversible damage to the connective tissues and muscles.

1: Avoid:

  •     Sit ups, crunches, planks and any traditional ‘tummy’ exercises that place too much internal pressure through the abdominal muscles.
  •     Heavy weights

2: Core and restore programme

  •      Spend the appropriate amount of time rehabbing your core and pelvic floor muscles in positions that will support the healing process

3: Eat protein with every meal– meat, fish, eggs, lentils, chickpeas

  •      Protein forms the building blocks of our cells and muscles and is essential for cellular repair and recovery of damaged muscle tissues. I tend to follow the rule of a hand sized portion of protein at every meal.

Want to get back to training and don’t know if your diastasis has healed?

If you are looking to get back into exercise but aren’t quite whether you have Diastasis, what to look for or whether what you are doing is safe in terms of your recovery, our post natal personal training or 8 week core and restore programme includes an assessment and an individually tailored exercise programme to ensure your safe return to training.

Contact Coach Torz for more info – info@liftoffgym.com