• Your abdominal muscles seem to only get worse when you do crunches, sit ups or planks…
  • Your belly button mysteriously became an outie when it was always an innie…
  • You get lower back ache
  • You pee yourself every time you sneeze, cough, laugh, stand up, sit down…
  • You have ever had abdominal surgery and your core connection still feels cut…
  • You’ve ever given birth and your middle is still muddled…

Any of those symptoms may point to a weak core called diastasis recti abdominus

Diastasis Recti is..

When your outer-most abdominal muscles (the rectus abdominis) separate during pregnancy and don’t “snap back” after delivery.

This leaves the pooch, or “mummy tummy” that too many mums are familiar with and can’t seem to get rid of, no matter what.

Having said that, diastasis recti (DR) is not caused by pregnancy alone,and a diastasis can be caused by any forceful, forward pressure on the abdominals when under pressure such as

  • Pregnancy
  • Beer belly
  • Crunches, sit-ups, v-sits
  • Chronic cough
  • Constipation

The one differentiating factor between pregnancy and the other causes of DR is a hormone that’s released only during pregnancy – relaxin.

Relaxin affects every joint, muscle and tissue in the body to create adaptations during pregnancy, so it also affects the linea alba (connective tissue) that is holding the rectus abdominis together.

This is important to know when assessing a DR because you’re not only checking the distance between the two muscles, but also the integrity of the connective tissue. And even though this sounds all technical, it’s actually super easy!

Check Your Abdominals for Separation at the Mid-Point

Woman checking for diastasis recti

  1. Lie on your back with your knees bent
  2. Start by placing your index finger and your middle finger at the joining point of your ribs in the centre of your chest.
  3. Support your head and neck with the other hand
  4. Lift your shoulder blades 2 inches off the floor and feel for a gap at the mid-point of your abdominal muscles ONLY LIFT FOR A MOMENT THEN LOWER!
  5. Work your way down from the top of your mid-line to just past your belly button.
  6. Work your way down your mid-line until about 2 inches after your belly button and make a note of the tension of the midline tissue – how well does it resist your fingers, does it  feel firm or papery?
  7. How far your fingers dip into a gap (is it shallow or deep)?
  8. How many fingers can fit into your gap?

Lift shoulders, feel, rest then move the fingers down to begin process again.

What Next?

If you discover that you have an abnormally wide and deep space between the two sides of your abdominals, you should:

Avoid crunches, sit ups, big twists, and full prone planks while you educate yourself and learn how to exercise in a way that doesn’t make the situation worse.

Once you learn how to engage your core properly, and your diastasis narrows and regains function and tension, you can return to those motions.
Consult with a woman’s health specialist trainer or woman’s health physiotherapist who can give you a hands-on check so you know where you’re really at and a personalised program tailored to your needs.

I have worked with mums for 10 years and offer 121 bespoke personal training in the St Margarets and New Malden area

Call to book an initial consultation to assess your needs
Rachel 07946 256982