Assessing yourself for diastasis recti is an important step in postpartum healing. After about two weeks postpartum you will be able to get a good idea of your starting point.
Diastasis recti is a separation of the abdominal muscles, and nearly all women who are pregnant will develop some degree of diastasis. When the uterus expands to make room for the growing baby, the connective tissues between the abdominal wall will stretch and become weakened. This connective tissue is called the linea alba.
As we work to heal diastasis it is just as important to develop strong tension in the linea alba as it as to close the gap.
Movements like pull ups, heavy overhead presses, sit ups, twisting movements, and planks can worsen diastasis. Doing exercises without proper alignment and breath can also worsen diastasis. Diastasis and pelvic floor dysfunction can often go hand in hand. If you have more than a 2 finger gap, please consider seeing a Pelvic Floor Physical Therapist before beginning this program.
To assess yourself:
- Lie on back with knees up and feet flat on the ground.
- Move your fingers along the midline of your belly to get a sense of tension in the linea alba. Are there any areas where you can press your fingers way down?
- Use three middle fingers to press straight into belly about two inches above belly button while lifting the head (keep shoulders down). What do you feel? Do the same thing with a small head lift (keep shoulders down) at the belly button and two inches below the belly button.
- Now, perform the same test in all three areas but this time do your core-connection breath before lifting your head and assessing. Add in a slight lift of the pelvic floor as well.
- Assess yourself once per month both with and without breath, feeling for improved tension in the linea alba.