Today I am sharing little-known diastasis recti facts (abdominal separation).
Let’s dive in.
What is Diastasis Recti?
Diastasis Recti is a separation of the abdominal muscles, particularly your rectus abdominis – or your six-pack abs. During pregnancy, those muscles separate and the connective tissue that connects them gets thinner and weaker. For many women, the separation will remain after pregnancy.
Men and children can get it too, but today we will focus on diastasis recti in postpartum women.
4 Little-Known Diastasis Recti Facts
#1. It’s far more common than most people realize.
30% of women have a diastasis one year after childbirth. That is one out of every 3 women!
But, just because it’s common, doesn’t mean it’s normal.
The fact that so many women have a diastasis one year after birth suggests to me that we’re failing to educate postpartum women on how to care for their postpartum bodies. Many women exacerbate a diastasis by jumping into the wrong exercises too soon after giving birth.
If we did a better job educating women on how to move and exercise in the first few months postpartum, I believe this number would be much lower.
If you are one of those 30%, I want you to know that you are not alone.
#2. Researchers believe that gap size is less important than the integrity of the connective tissue inside of the gap.
Diastisis is typically measured in finger widths.
You see how many fingers you can fit in between the two layers of muscles. It is not uncommon for postpartum women to need two hands to measure the size of their gap.
But, in terms of function and health, the integrity of the connective tissue between the muscles (the linea alba) is believed to be more important than the size of the gap.
Healthy connective tissue feels firm and thick, with a good amount of resistance. You can compare it to the consistency of silly putty.
When the connective tissue is thin and weak it will feel more like plastic wrap. You may be able to stick your fingers deep down into your abdomen because the tissue doesn’t provide any resistance.
When the connective tissue is healthy and firm, this allows your core to function well…even if you still have a gap between the muscles!
#3. 100% of women have a diastasis in their third trimester of pregnancy.
A diastasis is a part of being pregnant. The muscles of the abdomen need to separate to make room for the baby.
This also means that nearly a hundred percent of women have a diastasis immediately postpartum.
So, you don’t need to be overly worried about a diastasis immediately post-pregnancy.
But you do want to be mindful of how you can best encourage the core to heal.
With rest, breath training, and proper movement, the core muscles can come back together.
However, jumping back into the wrong activities too soon can prevent the core from healing and result in an ongoing diastasis.
#4. It is never too late, or too far past your last pregnancy to address a diastasis.
I get this question all the time.
“If I had my baby 5-years ago, 30-years ago, am I too far gone?”
No. You are not.
By improving the way you move and breathe and learning how to properly engage the deepest core muscles, the tissues will respond and begin to heal.
It is never too late to rehabilitate your body.