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Diastasis Recti

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  • Diastasis Recti

    Diastasis recti is a separation between the left and right side of the rectus abdominis muscle, which covers the front surface of the belly area.

    A diastasis recti looks like a ridge, which runs down the middle of the belly area. It stretches from the bottom of the breastbone to the belly button, and increases with muscle straining.

    Diastasis recti is commonly seen in women who have multiple pregnancies, because the muscles have been stretched many times. Extra skin and soft tissue in the front of the abdominal wall may be the only signs of this condition in early pregnancy. In the later part of pregnancy, the top of the pregnant uterus is often seen bulging out of the abdominal wall. An outline of parts of the unborn baby may be seen in some severe cases.

    No treatment is needed for pregnant women with this condition.

    The patient usually does very well. In most cases, diastasis recti usually heals on its own.

    In general, complications only result when a hernia develops.

    Now after seeing my doctor I know what I have. I was surprised that after my visit he did not offer any exercises to help heal the condition. I have done some research and have found that core exercises that do not expand the area like planks will help draw the two sections together and let the separation heal.

    Does anyone have any experience with this condition (exercises) and what was your outcome?

    Last edited by AnarchoGrok; 11-02-2010, 04:41 AM.
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  • #2
    Sorry. no real advice, just that i am right there with you. mine is pregnancy-induced (3 pregnancies), and at almost 6 months pp it's getting better.
    my primal journal:


    • #3
      I am five days into my attempt to bring the muscles back together. I am happy to say that it appears to be working. I will keep doing the exercises in a progression till I can't see any bulge. If I do see it I will back off and keep going at the lower level of difficulty.
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      • #4
        I actually have the same thing. Can't blame mine on pregnancy though :-) I went in to get it checked on because I thought I had a hernia. My doctor just told me to not do sit-ups any more. Thanks doc, big help. He did say that any repair surgery was mostly cosmetic and could easy tear back to what it was, or worse, cause a full-blown hernia. Given that I do martial arts, he said I should not get any corrective surgery since I have an unfortunate habit of getting kicked or punched in the gut. A tear would almost be guaranteed. I have found that mine has gotten siginificantly better with my weight loss (about 55 pounds so far). The diet change seems to have helped too. I am less bloated, so there's less "stuffing" trying to get out.
        I'll be anxious to see if anyone has any ideas.
        Your goals, minus your doubts, equals your reality.
        - Ralph Marston


        • #5
          agatsu- planks are what i've heard works. essentially, it pulls the muscles back together.
          my primal journal:


          • #6
            Yes, getting beat across the abs with a plank should tighten them up.
            Started my journey on May 22, 2010:

            Beginning weight ~180
            Current weight ~145

            Nov. 9, 2009........Nov. 9, 2010.....Jun. 17, 2011
            LDL 155...............LDL 176............LDL 139
            HDL 39................HDL 66..............HDL 95
            TGL 154..............TGL 77..............TGL 49


            • #7
              Originally posted by kcult View Post
              Yes, getting beat across the abs with a plank should tighten them up.
              LOL - considering some of the guys I train with fight in the UFC and WEC, a plank might actually hurt less.
              Your goals, minus your doubts, equals your reality.
              - Ralph Marston


              • #8
                I am a certified Pilates insturctor and Pilates are some of the best exercises to strengthen the abdominal muscles during pregnancy and after giving birth for recovery. All contractions need to be static like the plank or simply by lying with the back on the floor and with the legs bent to slide the leg out and return to the start will help (after having the baby). The recommedation is not to do any forward flexing of the spine (sit ups) during the the last 2 trimesters and after birth not before the diastasis is 2 finger or less wide. You can check the diastasis while doing a mini curl. Just put your index and third finger in the middle when you flex up. The book that tell people to use is Michael King's "Pilates Workbook for Pregnancy ". I don't think you can do anything to avoid the diastasis because the muscles have to stretch to accommodate the size of the baby but you can maintain good strength by doing Pilates exercises for pregnancy.

                I didn't do any sit ups during my pregnancy just planks until the end to maintain good core strength.


                • #9
                  two sites I've looked at that appear helpful...Both give a beginning exercise explanation:

                  Julie Tuper's site:

                  MuTu System:


                  "how to":


                  • #10
                    what they do in pilates for the core has a name in yoga, too, called mula bandha (root lock) and uddiyana bandha (flying up lock). this is the pilates "girdle" as well.

                    great for just standing around even. also, doing the work to make the "cave" in the belly (drawing belly to spine) is very healthy. good luck. it can definitely repair.

                    and yes, sit ups are not good for it!


                    • #11
                      Thanks, zoebird. I saw you also posted on the other thread. I'll check those pilates terms out as well as continue to search here for threads of successful healers using exercise. I've been pulling my belly button in to my spin since Friday! :-)


                      • #12
                        ive had a diastasis (as well as an umbilical and ventral hernia) ever since having my second child, who was almost 9lb. a year of diet & exercise proved ineffective at healing my separation (which is 2 fingers wide - not huge, but definitely makes my gut protrude enough to be asked more than once when the baby was due). last week i ordered an abdominal splint, and i've been wearing it for about 36 hours straight now (except showers of course). even after my first 24 hours, the change was really remarkable. even with my muscles relaxed, my belly doesn't protrude, and i've probably lost a couple of inches on my waist. when i do the test for diastasis, you know, lying down in "crunch" formation and raising my head, the "gulf" no longer appears. even better - my belly button isn't sticking out like some kind of deformity anymore. my muscles aren't as defined or strong as they could be...but at least they are together again in place.

                        i've also been doing what i would describe as contractions...engaging my transverse abdominis in repetitions of 10 while breathing, in a seated position, while wearing the split. my muscles are sore as hell!

                        anyway, splinting is pretty common in other countries after pregnancy, and if it could help heal my diastasis so long after pregnancy, i don't see why it couldn't work for a man too. the one i ordered was around $35 from Tupler's site, called a "diastasis rehab splint," but I'm pretty sure any abdominal binder would do the trick. good luck!


                        • #13
                          I'm not sure if this would be related or not. Dr. McGuff co-author of Body by Science discusses that overweight... lack of muscle individuals actually have "gaps" in their abdominal muscle and their body fat fills the gap. Exercise will get the muscle mass to grow again and close this gap.


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Momx2 View Post
                            i've also been doing what i would describe as contractions...engaging my transverse abdominis in repetitions of 10 while breathing, in a seated position, while wearing the split. my muscles are sore as hell!
                            Thanks for sharing, Momx2!

                            Can you describe your tranverse "contractions" a bit more?

                            Vick - I have the BBS book; do you know if he discusses this (and the "exercise" recommended to close the gap) in it?




                            • #15
                              @ Karen
                              I don't remember if that was in the book or on the website. Let me research that and get back to you.