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  • Writer's pictureMichelle Thibeault, PT

Diastasis Recti

Diastasis Recti Abdominis (DRA) is a physical separation or increase in the gap between the two sides of the Rectus Abdomins muscle. It is important to note that 1-2 finger breadths of space at the linea alba (the line in the middle that separates the two sides of the belly) is considered normal; just like we all vary in height, weight, and skin tone there are NORMAL variations in this space as well. However, it is very common for that space to grow with pregnancy; in fact, 50-60% of postpartum women will experience some level of DRA. It will typically resolve on its own within a few months after delivery - but, for a lot of people that may not be the case. A physical therapist can help ensure that you heal quickly, properly, and safely. Because aside from the cosmetics of it all (**Please give yourself and your body grace, you just had a BABY**) it can cause pain and weakness with functional activities like rolling out of bed, picking up baby, etc.

Pelvic Floor PT Can Teach You:

● Proper core activation and safe progression of exercises

● Proper breathing mechanics to reduce strain/pressure placed through the belly

and pelvic floor

● Proper lifting mechanics

Want to test yourself to see if you have DRA? It’s very quick and easy! Lay on your back, place 2 fingers at your belly button and then tuck your chin in towards your chest and perform a mini sit-up. If your fingers sink in or if there is a bulge of tissue up in this space then this is DRA - you can assess how wide it is by gauging how many fingers fit in the space. Repeat this just above and below your belly button.

This can also be a problem even if you have not given birth. When the abdomen becomes enlarged ("beer belly") these muscles can separate also. This weakens the core and can cause back pain. Doing abdominal exercises can help although there are certain types of exercises to avoid. This is why it is helpful to see a trained PT! At DPT we specialize in pelvic and orthopedic issues and are trained in the best ways to manage DRA.

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