HOW TO HEAL FROM DIASTASIS RECTI

This post may contain affiliate links, which means I may receive a commission, at no extra cost to you, if you make a purchase through a link. Please see my full disclosure for further information.

 

WHAT IS DIASTASIS RECTI?

Diastasis Recti is a common complication of pregnancy. The most superficial layer of the abdominal muscles (rectus abdominis) separate down the middle due to over-stretching of the connective tissue (linea alba). This stretching and separation of the abdominal muscles occurs as a result of your uterus getting bigger as your baby grows.
 
The rectus abdominis muscles contribute to core stability and the overall structure of your core. When these muscles stretch and separate, the core is less stable than when the muscles are closely knit together.
 
It is important to address Diastasis Recti, to prevent worsened separation of the core muscles, and to prevent related complications.
Untreated diastasis recti can lead to:
1. Back injury
2. Increased core weakness 
3. Hernias  
 
For tips and tricks to prevent back and neck pain from breastfeeding, please check out this awesome post and related freebies 
5 WAYS TO PREVENT NECK AND BACK PAIN FROM BREASTFEEDING 
 
The best exercises for Diastasis Recti are relatively conservative. More intensive abdominal exercises can actually worsen Diastasis Recti if attempted before the abdominal separation is completely resolved.
   

MY EXPERIENCE WITH DIASTASIS RECTI

 
When I was pregnant with my daughter, I developed a mild-moderate case of Diastasis Recti. I honestly didn’t even notice any space between my abdominal muscles while I was pregnant.
 
Then, after my daughter was born, I definitely had a mom pooch, but I didn’t worry too much about it, and I attributed most of my core weakness to my c-section. A few months after my daughter was born, I was not only having core weakness, but I was also having pain with sex, so I went to a pelvic floor physical therapist.
 
Yes, I am a physical therapist myself, but pelvic floor PT is a real specialty and not my particular area of expertise! For anyone who does not know what pelvic floor physical therapy is, you are missing out! This specialty focuses on treating the pelvic floor, which is the muscular structure that is in and around your pelvic region.
 
The pelvic floor is also connected to your core. The pelvic floor and core are closely related, and can function or malfunction together. Both your pelvic floor and core can be significantly affected by pregnancy and it is not uncommon to have related deficits postpartum.
 
But back to diastasis recti for now...
   
At my first pelvic floor physical therapy appointment, the physical therapist palpated my abdomen and noted right away that I had a 2 finger width gap between my abdominal muscles! I also found this alarming at first, but she assured me that it is not  uncommon, and is a relatively easy fix.
 
The pelvic floor physical therapist demonstrated 5 exercises for me to complete and provided a handout with instructions. She also recommended a certain number of sets and reps for each day. I completed the exercises every day while my daughter was having her tummy time sessions.
 
For tips and tricks on easier tummy time, check out this post!  
10 EASY TUMMY TIME IDEAS WHEN BABY HATES TUMMY TIME
 
So within 3 weeks, the gap between my abdominal muscles was completely gone!
 
At this point, the physical therapist progressed me to more advanced core strengthening, since I was still weak from my c-section. She also continued to see me for pain related to my pelvic floor, but that will be for another post!
 

5 EASY EXERCISES FOR DIASTASIS RECTI 

 
 
RECOMMENDED DOSAGE:
2 sets of 10 repetitions, 2 times a day 
I definitely recommend a yoga mat for the floor exercises!
As I mentioned above, I often completed the exercises while my daughter was doing tummy time. With that schedule in mind, I only completed 2-3 exercises per tummy time session, but I was able to get through all of the exercises in the morning, then again in the afternoon.
 
In 3 weeks my abdominal separation had completely resolved!
 
Please consult your doctor prior to attempting any of the below exercises. For more more information, please view the full disclaimer.  

MARCHING WITH ABDOMINALS STABILIZED 

 
1. Start by laying on your back with both knees bent.
2. Use both hands to draw your left and right abdominal muscles towards each other in the middle of your body.
3. While keeping your hands in place, slowly march your legs up and down, alternating sides.
2 sets of 10 repetitions, 2 times a day 

NECK CURLS WITH ABDOMINALS STABILIZED 

 
1. Start by laying on your back with both knees bent.
2. Use both hands to draw your left and right abdominals muscles towards each other in the middle of your body.
3. While keeping your hands in place, slowly lift your head from the floor.
4. Hold for 2 seconds, then return to the starting position.
2 sets of 10 repetitions, 2 times a day 

TABLE TOP 

 
1. Start on all 4’s with your hands directly under your shoulders, your knees directly under your hips, and your spine in neutral.
2. Slowly exhale, while drawing your belly button inward towards your spine.
3. Hold for 5 seconds, then slowly inhale and return to the starting position.
2 sets of 10 repetitions, 2 times a day 
 

STANDING CORE CONTRACTION 

 
1. Start standing upright with your spine in a neutral position and your feet shoulder width apart.
2. Gently place your hands on the right and left sides of your abdominal muscles, and inhale slowly.
3. Hold inhale for 2 seconds, then exhale slowly.
4. As you exhale, gently contract your abdominal muscles while using both hands to draw your left and right abdominal muscles together in the middle of your body.
5. Relax your abdominal muscles and your hands as you slowly inhale again.
2 sets of 10 repetitions, 2 times a day 

BOX LIFT

 
1. Start standing upright with your spine in a neutral position, and a box in front on you on a bed or table.
2. Draw your belly button in towards your spine and gently tighten your abdominal muscles.
3. Lift the box from the surface and hold for 2 seconds.
4. Slowly lower the box back to the starting surface, then relax your abdominal muscles.
*The box used should not be heavy. An empty wooden crate, as pictured, works well for this exercise. 
2 sets of 10 repetitions, 2 times a day 
 
 
 

Get your complete (and free) Diastasis Recti Exercise Program, here

DIASTASIS RECTI - POSTPARTUM RECOVERY - HOME EXERCISE PROGRAM 

   

4 TAKEAWAYS 

1. Diastasis Recti is a common complication of pregnancy.
2. If left untreated, Diastasis Recti can lead to further complications or injury.
3. Diastasis Recti can be easily treated with gentle exercises and/or physical therapy.
4. Pelvic floor physical therapy is awesome! And an absolute must postpartum.
   

RELATED POSTS  

5 WAYS TO PREVENT NECK AND BACK PAIN FROM PREGNANCY 
10 EASY TUMMY TIME IDEAS WHEN BABY HATES TUMMY TIME
FED IS BEST - TIPS AND TRICKS I USED TO COMBINATION FEED MY BABY
50 EASY DIY SENSORY ACTIVITIES FOR YOUR CHILD

8 thoughts on “HOW TO HEAL FROM DIASTASIS RECTI”

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *