What is Diastasis Recti?
It is common for women during and following pregnancy to experience a split or separation in the abdominal muscles. This is called diastasis recti. The separation happens when the tissue, called the linea alba, connecting the muscles becomes too thin and is unable to keep the abdominal muscles properly attached. This thinning is typically caused by too much weight or pressure over a period of time being applied to the abdominal area. Pregnancy isn’t the only cause; excessive or improper exercise can cause diastasis recti in non-pregnant people. Luckily, this condition is repairable, once you learn how to detect it.
How to Check Yourself
Prevention is key. Self-detection procedures are very useful because it is common for diastasis recti to go undetected prior to any pain or discomfort.
- Lay down on your back and place your feet flat on the floor.
- Place two fingers from one hand against your navel with the fingers pointing in the direction of your feet.
- Place the other hand under the back of your neck with your elbow pointed outward as if doing a one-handed crunch.
- Without lifting your shoulders off the ground, raise your head and neck with your hand while pushing your two fingers inside your naval. Repeat the above steps both below and above your naval. If you feel a noticeable gap, you may have diastasis recti and should contact a doctor.
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Ways to Repair
Proper exercise during and after pregnancy can help prevent diastasis recti. There are safe exercises specifically designed for diastasis recti that strengthen your body’s core and allivate pressure.
Here are some great diastasis recti exercise resources for prevention :
Warning: consult a physician before attempting any of the exercises.
Though treating diastasis recti with exercise is a great, non-invasive treatment option, diastasis recti surgery is sometimes a necessary next step. Diastasis surgery is similar to abdominoplasty, otherwise know as a “tummy tuck.” The dangers of surgery can vary depending on your age or medical conditions, and it is not right for everyone. If you’re wondering is surgery is a good option for you, read Healthline’s, How to Tell if You’ll Need Diastasis Recti Surgery, and be sure to talk with your doctor about the options and risks before consulting a surgeon.
Tracie Johnson is a New Jersey native and an alum of Penn State University. She is passionate about writing, reading, and living a healthy lifestyle. She feels happiest when around a campfire surrounded by friends, family, and her Dachshund named Rufus.
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