Have you or someone you know delivered a baby recently? Are you aware of a condition called diastasis recti? Diastasis recti, commonly known as abdominal separation, affects many birthing mothers. Ideally, diastasis recti will resolve itself within eight weeks of delivery, however 40% of women experience diastasis recti six months or more post-partum.
Abdominal muscles are divided by what’s known as the linea alba, which is a band of tissue that runs down the middle of the abdomen. During pregnancy the abdominal muscles are stretched, which causes the linea alba to become thin and pull apart. After delivering a baby, the linea alba can heal to its pre-pregnancy elasticity, however in many cases, the tissue loses its elasticity from being overstretched. This can leave a separation in the abdominal muscles known as diastasis recti.
Unsure if you or a loved one are experiencing diastasis recti? Take a look at the signs and symptoms of the condition below.
Signs and Symptoms
- Softness or jelly-like feeling around the belly button
- Coning or doming during contraction of ab muscles
- Difficulty lifting objects
- Pelvic or hip pain
- Low back pain
- Poor posture
- Urine leaking after a sneeze or cough
- Weak abdominals
Impacts & Treatment
If left untreated, diastasis recti can cause increased back pain, an overactive pelvic floor, and tight glutes and hips. However, there is good news! Through consistent physical therapy, diastasis recti can be resolved in most cases, no matter how long it has been since delivering a baby.
If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, Island Health can help! Register for a 20 minute appointment with a physical therapist who will screen you for diastasis recti and recommend appropriate exercises or formal physical therapy, if appropriate.