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Diastasis Recti: how does it happen?

Updated: Dec 20, 2020

50% of pregnant women

develop Diastasis Recti

and 50% of those women,

do not recovery spontaneously.

Diastasis causes

muscle weakness and imbalance

throughout the core with

increased risk for injuries

in the back and pelvis. (1) (2)


How does Diastasis Recti happen?

During pregnancy the growing uterus stretches the muscles in the abdomen. This stretching increases particularly during the third trimester and the Linea Abla also expands (widens) to accommodate the is growth. This can cause a separation of the Rectus Abdominus muscles along the Linea Abla.

The Linea Alba is a single midline fibrous line along the front surface of the body that runs from the bottom edge of the sternum (xiphoid process) to the pubic bone. It connects and delineates the right and left sides of the Rectus Abdominus muscles.

Diastasis Recti can also be caused or exacerbated by how the body does / does not coordinate to manage intra-abdominal pressure. This pressure can be quick when sneezing or coughing; or sustained during daily activities involving lifting, with fitness actives involving weight lifting or doing abdominal exercises that are too advanced for one's body.

The separation is common, naturally occurring, painless, and for some women it can spontaneously recovery on its own. For many others, like myself, it does not. This is when additional help is needed.

When the separation is larger (greater than 2cm = 2 finger tips); this is what is referred to as Diastasis Recti. The research is unclear as to why the larger separation happens in some mothers and not others.

Some factors may include:

* multiples

* births closer together

* mother over age 35

* carrying a large baby to term with a smaller body frame

Diastasis Recti is not painful and many mothers don't often realize they have this condition until related symptoms occur: * chronic back pain: upper or lower

* pelvic floor weakness

* urine leakage

* gastro-intestinal issues like constipation or irritable bowl syndrome

Diastasis Recti most commonly occurs at the navel. However it can also occur above the navel, below the navel, or in any combination.

Can Diastasis Recti be mended?


Can Diastasis Recti be mended without surgery?

Yes! This is a matter of healing the connective tissues first while focusing on the Transverse Abdominus, the deepest core muscle, and the pelvic floor.

What if it has been 1+ years since I gave birth? Can Pilates still help?

Yes! (see my personal experience)

Specializing in Post Birth Recovery

Elevate Pilates is known for helping Moms access the body-mind benefits of Pilates while supporting physical and soulful resiliency. We specialize in helping Post-Birth moms recovery, no matter how long it has been since their past birth experience.

At Elevate Pilates we often see poor management of intra-abdominal pressure is present in post-birth mothers with Diastasis Recti. This means a woman's rehabilitation must address both issues in order for the Diastasis Recti not to persist.

At Elevate Pilates, our Post-Birth Recovery Program, draws directly from the wisdom of Joseph Pilates and the work that has been done in recent decades for Post-Birth Moms, within his Classic approach to Pilates. We also have direct personal experience with this recovery process.

To learn more about our Diastasis Recti Recovery Program with supportive Home Program, check out our Post-Birth Moms page and reach out with your questions.

~ Helping you recover while you mother ~

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Please note, I am not a doctor. All Post-Birth Moms who have given birth recently need provider permission before starting a Pilates program. This article is for purposes of information, not intended to be medical advice. It is my personal recommendation Post-Birth Moms complete a Recovery Program while also in relationship with their primary provider and (ideally) a Chiropractor who is trained to work with the needs of Post-Birth Moms.

1. Boxer et al 1997; Toranto 1990; Oneal et al 2011; Spitznagle et al 2007. 2. Spitznagle TM, Leong FC, Van Dillen LR. Prevalence of diastasis recti abdominis in urogynecological patient population. Uroggynecolo J Pelvic Floor Dysfunct. 2007; 18:321-8. via
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