What is a Diastasis Recti Abdominis and Can I Prevent It?

October 26, 2022

What is a diastasis? Most people know the diastasis as a separation of the rectus abdominis muscle. While this is not completely wrong, it is also not completely true either. A diastasis is actually a thinning of the linea alba which is a connective tissue sheath that lies in the middle of the abdominal wall and connects the abdominal muscles. 

Can I prevent a diastasis during pregnancy? Unfortunately no. It is normal for stretching to occur in the abdominal wall because it is making room for the growing baby. BUT! There are ways to prevent the diastasis from worsening and improve the recovery time postpartum. Below are some suggestions to decrease the risk of significant diastasis during pregnancy, and to improve healing during the postpartum period.

1. Get those glutes, core, and pelvic floor working! These muscles are part of the deep core system which maintains stability of the pelvic girdle and can influence good intra-abdominal pressure management. 

2. Balance those core muscles. External and internal obliques, rectus abdominis, and transverse abdominal muscles to manage stability, pressure, and active spinal movements.

3. 360 breathing. Get that rib cage moving! Front, sides, and back of the rib cage should all move equally with breath. While a little chest and belly breathing is normal, the movement should mainly be directed from the rib cage. 

4. Posture! Your posture will most likely change during the prenatal period to compensate for increased abdominal load. Don’t give up on posture! Focus on stacking the rib cage on top of the pelvis. Avoid hanging into the hips or tucking the bottom.

Remember, a diastasis occurring during pregnancy is expected and normal. The diastasis will heal during the postpartum period but since every individual is different then the healing times may vary. Schedule to see a pelvic floor specialist to begin the foundations of muscle activation and facilitation in the pelvic floor and core to improve diastasis healing time and learn more about what you can do to avoid a diastasis in the future. 

If you have any questions, please feel free to contact us at Activcore where we have numerous physical therapists who are trained to treat diastasis recti.

Disclaimer:  The views expressed in this article are based on the opinion of the author, 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.

Dr. Chelsea Speegle

Physical Therapist
Chelse Speegle is a Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) who specializes in pelvic health. She works primarily at Activcore in Littleton, Colorado which is located inside the Womens Health Care Associates OBGYN clinic.
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