What is Diastasis Recti?
Diastasis recti is an ailment that occurs when the abdominal muscles separate during pregnancy, causing what many call a pooch in the belly. According to the Mayo Clinic, “during pregnancy, the growing uterus stretches the muscles in the abdomen. This can cause the two large parallel bands of muscles that meet in the middle of the abdomen (rectus muscles) to become separated by an abnormal distance — a condition called diastasis recti or diastasis recti abdominis.” It’s most common in women over 35, moms of multiples, women who have one or more pregnancies close together, or in women who are carrying a heavy or large baby.
Many moms find this condition difficult to manage and accept, but try not to worry, diastasis recti repair is something you can discuss with your Ob/Gyn and begin to treat post-pregnancy. But let’s back up…how to you know you have it?
Gap or No Gap?
Not sure if you have diastasis recti? You can, of course, check in with your Ob/Gyn, but there’s also an easy way to do an at-home test. Simply lie on your back, knees bent and feet on the floor. Put one hand on your belly, with your fingers on your midline at your belly button. Press your fingertips down gently, and bring your head (shoulders stay on the ground) up into a crunch position. Feel for the sides of your rectus abdominis muscles, and see if they are separated. Do you feel a gap? If so, that is a sign of diastasis recti. The abdominal separation can be measured in finger widths -- for example, some women say they have a two or three-finger gap separation.
Diastasis Recti Repair? Postpartum recovery tips:
Belly binding has been a popular postpartum care technique used by women for centuries. Belly wraps give your post-pregnancy belly both compression and support during these crucial afterbirth moments. Many women have also found that postpartum belly wrapping combined with exercise can significantly help with diastasis recti repair and prevent the need for diastasis recti surgery. Belly Bandit’s Belly Wraps modernized this ancient practice, making them the perfect aid to help ease diastasis recti.
One way to help your abdomen is to strengthen your core muscles and back. The Viscose from Bamboo Belly Wrap can help support your core as well as ease back pain. https://bellybandit.com/collections/diastasis-recti/products/bamboo-wrap. The Bamboo wrap has a soft, anti-microbial viscose from bamboo fabric, making it one of our most comfortable wraps. Our Original Belly Wrap is an excellent option for moms looking for basic support at an affordable price point
Another comfortable choice is the B.F.F. Belly Wrap. It incorporates a viscose from bamboo cover as well as 9 inches of adjustability to help strengthen the core. https://bellybandit.com/collections/diastasis-recti/products/bff-wrap
The Luxe Belly Wrap is one of our most sought-after wraps. It offers support panels to provide even more assistance for back and core muscles, and it is our tallest wrap, providing full coverage. This coverage is essential when dealing with diastasis recti because the abdomen needs to be held in place as it heals. https://bellybandit.com/collections/diastasis-recti/products/luxe-belly-wrap
Exercise Can Help!
Strengthening exercises are an important factor when dealing with diastasis recti treatment. Personal trainer and fitness expert Adele Cavaliere shares some diastasis recti exercise tips right here on the Bandita Blog, https://bellybandit.com/blogs/bandita-blog/diastasis-recti-safe-exercises. And you can learn more about healing diastasis recti here, https://physicalkitchness.com/healing-diastasis-recti/
Many women have also found success using the Tupler Technique,™ which involves specific exercises done while wearing a wrap to protect and hold the muscles together. You can learn more about that here, https://diastasisrehab.com/.
There are all sorts of resources online to help you train yourself back to shape by using strengthening exercises. We also recommend speaking with your medical professional or even a physical therapist to help determine which exercise would be safe for you.
The general recommendation is to heal your abdomen after giving birth and not to strain it. This healing period, as well as strengthening your core muscles with belly binding, can help minimize the impact of diastasis recti. And of course, if rehab doesn’t work for you, a surgical tummy tuck can be considered but many women find with patience and exercise they are able to avoid a surgical option.
Learn more about Diastasis Recti and other ailments during and after Pregnancy we can help with on our ailments page.