The term rectus diastasis refers to the separation of the abdominal muscles (the “6-pack muscle”) away from the midline of the body. Rectus diastasis is common during and after pregnancy, due to the body adapting to the growing baby. Sometimes the separation will spontaneously correct itself post-partum, but not always. How do I know if I have diastasis recti? A quick and easy way to check is to lay flat on your back and lift your head up to look at your stomach. If the center of your stomach protrudes outwards or “domes”, you may have a rectus diastasis.
Why do we care about rectus diastasis? The muscles of the abdomen work together with the muscles of the pelvic floor to control pressure in the abdomen. A separation in the abdominals weakens the abdomen, and therefore affects the strength and efficiency of the pelvic floor muscles. Dysfunction of the pelvic floor muscles can result in incontinence or pelvic organ prolapse.
Rectus diastasis can be treated! Corrective exercises are recommended for those with rectus diastasis. The following is an example of a corrective exercise:
Lie on you back with your knees bent. Place a sheet, towel, or scarf around your waist, crossed as if tying a knot and pull snug. Raise your head only, chin towards your chest. Hold for a count of 5, exhaling during the count. Lower your head as you loosen your grip on the sheet. Repeat 10-20 times per session, 2 times a day.
Your pelvic floor physiotherapist can help guide you through a progressive core-strengthening program, educate you on mindful movement to prevent aggravation of a rectus diastasis, and help you get back to feeling more like yourself. Experiencing rectus diastasis or other pelvic floor dysfunction? Call the clinic and book your appointment today!