Diastasis Recti Abdominis (DRA): Part 1, Diagnosis

Whether you’re new to motherhood or a seasoned Mom, I would like you to envision a scenario. You’ve just had your little one and you’re at home navigating through mommahood. As your baby is growing, your body is healing. You’re adjusting to a new life balance and trying to sleep whenever you get a free moment. And to top it off, there’s doming on your core every time you get out of bed. Does this sound familiar?

This doming is known as a Diastasis Recti Abdominis (DRA) –– fancy lingo for a separation of the abdominal muscles. More specifically, it is the rectus abdominis that has been overstretched throughout pregnancy. This “six pack muscle” needs expert guidance to become functional again. 

While DRA is normal to experience during your postpartum period, it’s not something you need to get used to living with. The important thing is getting the tissues to heal properly and starting to regain tension along the muscle fibers. The separation can happen anywhere along the midline of the rectus abdominis, so it’s important to be assessed by a qualified professional, and to have an exercise plan tailored for you and your specific needs.

Although doming of the rectus abdominis is a common symptom, there are other symptoms to consider. Low back pain, hip pain, constipation, and incontinence can be secondary to DRA. When there is decreased tension along the abdomen, our body’s way of mitigating pressures changes. This can affect normal daily things such as our posture, sneezing, and lifting objects, to name a few.

Fun fact: it is a misconception that DRA only pertains to pregnant women. Although it is very prevalent in the postpartum community, it can happen to those of us with a rectus abdominis (i.e. anyone!). So if you notice any doming along the abdomen with specific movements throughout the day, give us a call.

Disclaimer:  The views expressed in this article are based on the opinion of the author (and contributors), unless otherwise noted, and should not be taken as personal medical advice. The information provided is intended to help readers make their own informed health and wellness decisions.

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Dr. Kristine Godsil

Physical Therapist | Doctor of Physical Therapy
Kristine Godsil is a Doctor of Physical Therapy practicing in sports, general orthopedics, pediatrics, and pelvic health. She works at Activcore in Castle Rock, CO (inside Optimal Health Chiropractic), located in between Denver and Colorado Springs. 
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