Your abdominal muscles are held in place by a thick sheath of connective tissues. The center line down the front of your belly from the point of your breastbone, through your belly button and to the center of your pubic symphysis is made up of this connective tissue. When this thick sheath is stretched too far or torn, it can have difficulty springing back into shape.
“Diastasis” means separation and recti refers to the abdominal muscles, also called the rectus abdominus. If you have it, your belly may “pooch” out no matter how much you diet and exercise after you have your baby. As a matter of fact, some of those exercises will actually make it worse. But this is more than a cosmetic issue. When your abdominal muscles are no longer held tight because this tissue has stretched, your uterus, bowels, and other organs only have a very thin band of connective tissues to hold them in place. That will not only make your next vaginal delivery more difficult, but can also cause lower back pain, constipation, and incontinence (the tendency to lose a little bladder control when you run, sneeze, laugh, etc.). It can even make breathing more difficult because your body has less control of the abdominal muscles that assist breathing.
How can you tell you have it?
There’s a pretty simple way to tell if you have diastasis recti. There’s also a video below so you can see someone doing this.
- Lay on your back on the floor and bend your knees, putting the bottom of your feet flat on the floor.
- Place one hand behind your head and inhale. Exhale and lift your head and shoulders just enough so that (if your legs were straight) you could see your toes.
- Place your index and middle fingers together and place them just below the tip of your breastbone.
- Press down, gently moving your fingers from side to side. Notice how deep they sink in. Notice width of the gap your fingers are in. It might feel like a small gully that your fingers sink into.
- Determine how many fingers it takes to fit into the abdominal gap from side to side. Does it take 1 or 2 fingers? Three? Four?
- If your gap is more than one finger wide and/or if your fingers sink in, seek out a diastasis recti specialist!
DeLora Frederickson has worked extensively with diastasis recti clients and can help you recover!
Give her a call today at 512-775-3053!
Want more information about diastasis recti and DeLora’s services? Check out Rebuild After Birth.
FitSplints are a great way to assist you if you have diastasis recti. Click on the image below to check out DeLora’s FitSplint page for more information.