I hear this ALL. THE. TIME…

’I just have five more pounds to lose so my lower stomach goes away.’

‘I had a baby, so I’m just going to have a mom belly forever.’

‘My mom/grandmother/brother’s sister’s mother’s aunt said this was normal because I had a baby.’

‘There is no hope for me, I’ve had 3 babies!’

All of those women had diastasis recti.

What is DR?

Diastasis recti, also known as DR, is the separation of your abdominal muscles.

Most women get DR while going through a pregnancy, but other things can cause DR, like gaining a lot of weight, surgery, or heavy weightlifting. Although men can get this too, it is not as common because of the whole pregnancy thing. Carrying a pregnancy places a whole lot of stress on the abdominal muscles and they have to stretch to create room for a growing baby. The more pregnancies a woman has, or if she carries a multiples pregnancy, the likelihood of her getting significant DR goes way up.

The ‘separation of the abdominal muscles’ is really the stretching of the connective tissue, the linea alba, that runs in between your ‘6-pack’ muscles. It runs from your sternum down below your belly button to your pelvic bone. It is supposed to stretch a little during pregnancy and most women’s bodies will gradually retract back into the appropriate position. BUT if your separation stays put it can lead to a lot of not-so-great things like a lower belly pooch, lower back pain, pelvic pain, hip pain, bowel and bladder issues, etc. Rare, but some women can tear and develop a hernia. None of these are things you want!

You might have DR if…

  • Your lower stomach pooches out
  • Your stomach pooches out or tents up when you are
    • doing abdominal exercises
    • laughing
    • coughing
    • sneezing
    • squatting
    • picking something up
    • doing planks or push-ups
  • You have lower back pain, hip pain, or pelvic floor pain, especially with movement
  • You leak when you laugh, cough, sneeze, squat, jump or run
  • You have a feeling of extreme weakness in your core
  • You have difficulty completing movements such as rolling over or sitting up

***Be aware, these are all symptoms that might be caused by DR, but there are other issues that could be causing pain and weakness. So, when in doubt, seek out a local pelvic floor physical therapist for a full evaluation!

Who Gets DR?

Most women get DR from going through a pregnancy, but other things like gaining a lot of weight, surgery, or heavy weightlifting can also be the cause. Men can get this too, but it is not as common because of the whole pregnancy thing. Carrying a pregnancy places a whole lot of stress on the abdominal muscles and they have to stretch to create room for a growing baby. The more pregnancies a woman has, or if she carries a multiples pregnancy, the likelihood of her getting DR goes way up.

The separation of the abdominal muscles is really the stretching of the connective tissue, the linea alba, that runs in between your ‘6-pack’ muscles. It runs from your sternum down below your belly button to your pelvic bone. It is supposed to stretch a little during pregnancy and most women’s bodies will gradually retract back into the appropriate position. But if your separation stays put it can lead to a lot of not-so-great things like a lower belly pooch, lower back pain, pelvic pain, hip pain, bowel and bladder issues, etc. Rare, but some women can tear and develop a hernia.

None of these are things you want!

If you think you might have this, don’t worry; there is an easy way to test for DR!

 

 

 

 

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