Diastasis recti: how do you know if you have it and how do you heal it?

Diastasis recti: how do you know if you have it and how do you heal it?

After reading all about diastasis recti, I’m sure you’re left with one question: “How do I know if I have diastasis recti?” Thankfully you can conduct an easy assessment on yourself to know if you have it and how severe it might be.

Diastasis recti self-assessment

1. Lie on your back with your knees bent, and the soles of your feet flat on the floor.
2. Place your palms on your belly with your fingers on your belly button.
3. Slightly lift your head and neck just off the floor while you press down with your fingers. If you feel a gap down the middle of your abdomen, that is the diastasis.
4. Do the same test right above your belly button and just below the belly button (the separation can vary in width in either location).

When conducting this simple test make sure that you’re using proper form. Simply lifting your head off the floor won’t accurately indicate whether you have diastasis recti or not. Your ribcage must move closer to your pelvis in order to contract your abdominals. Remember that everyone’s midline is lax following childbirth. You may even feel a “hole” while doing this exercise - don’t panic. With time, your midline tissue will become tighter and this hole will begin to disappear (or become more shallow).

If, while performing this exercise, you see a round, hard, bulge protruding from your belly button area, or along your mid line, inform your OBGYN. If not healed, diastasis recti can lead to lower back pain, constipation, and urine leaking. It can also make vaginal delivery more difficult for future pregnancies.

How do I heal diastasis recti?

And now for your second burning question: “How do I heal diastasis recti?"

how to heal diastasis recti

As stated in the previous post, "Diastasis recti: how many women get it? And how do you prevent it?” avoid any exercises, movements, or activities that place stress on your abdominal midline. Any movements that stretch or overly expand the abdomen should be avoided.

Unfortunately, there’s a wide range of advice available online that can make it very difficult to decipher what is best. You may have come across advice that has lead to unnecessary alarm or even worse, cause further separation if followed. In general, your midline should be treated delicately following childbirth. As with any new exercise or therapy program, you should consult your physician and/or physical therapist before you begin. Thankfully, there are many beneficial exercises that will heal your diastasis recti. The following are a collection of safe and highly effective exercises that will help dissipate your abdominal separation and strengthen your midline following pregnancy.

I’ve found the following five exercises to be the most effective in healing my diastasis recti. Once you have accomplished the first four weeks, maintain the repetition schedule of Week 4 in order to heal your midsection.

The exercises to heal diastasis recti

Week 1:

Exercise 1

Single leg lifts

Repetition: 3 rounds of 5 per side

Exercise 2

Single leg tucks

Repetition: 3 rounds of 5 per side

Exercise 3

Cat-cow

Repetition: 3 rounds of 5

Exercise 4

Table-top

Repetition: 3 rounds of 5

Exercise 5

Single leg lifts

Repetition: 3 rounds of 5

 

Week 2:

Exercise 1

Single leg lifts

Repetition: 3 rounds of 10 per side

Exercise 2

Single leg tucks

Repetition: 3 rounds of 10 per side

Exercise 3

Cat-cow

Repetition: 3 rounds of 10

Exercise 4

Table-top

Repetition: 3 rounds of 10

Exercise 5

Single leg lifts

Repetition: 3 rounds of 10

 

Week 3:

Exercise 1

Single leg lifts

Repetition: 3 rounds of 15 per side

Exercise 2

Single leg tucks

Repetition: 3 rounds of 15 per side

Exercise 3

Cat-cow

Repetition: 3 rounds of 15

Exercise 4

Table-top

Repetition: 3 rounds of 15

Exercise 5

Single leg lifts

Repetition: 3 rounds of 15

 

Week 4:

Exercise 1

Single leg lifts

Repetition: 3 rounds of 20 per side

Exercise 2

Single leg tucks

Repetition: 3 rounds of 20 per side

Exercise 3

Cat-cow

Repetition: 3 rounds of 20

Exercise 4

Table-top

Repetition: 3 rounds of 20

Exercise 5

Single leg lifts

Repetition: 3 rounds of 20

Let me ask you:

What exercises have you used to heal your diastasis recti?