Diastasis recti refer to the visible separation or
gap between your left and right recti muscles. Once
again it is due to the hormones that surface during
pregnancy, mainly relaxin. Many women are not even
aware that they have it.
After delivery most women will have a gap
between the two stomach muscles, known as the rectus
Rectus muscles run vertically down
to the pelvis. They may separate in the middle. This
separation is termed as diastasis recti and is a type
Why Diastasis Rectus happens
It is a normal occurrence that happens during pregnancy
where the abdominal walls get stretched and pushed
apart as your baby grows. Relaxin causes the abdominal
muscles to expand sideways leading to diastasis recti.
The two halves of the rectus abdominus separate, a
normal tendency during pregnancy. Multiple births
and repeated pregnancies aggravate the condition.
If this is your first pregnancy the separation is
not obvious at all. With subsequent pregnancies the
separation gains prominence. Exercises can strengthen
these muscles but the bulge or gap will not totally
• Lie on your back with your knees bent. The
separation is more obvious when you are lying down
with your head raised.
• Place two fingers of your right hand just
above the belly button pointing down and your left
hand by your side. Slowly lift your head. Your abdominal
muscles will tighten. You may notice a bulge in the
middle of your abdomen. You may also feel a gap between
the sides of your abdominal muscles.
• If the gap is obvious then you do have diastasis.
With diastasis you will have to make sure the situation
doesn't worsen by avoiding certain exercises and your
movements in general.
• If at 10 days (with exercising) the gap is
still four fingers, then help from the physiotherapist
or your doctor is necessary to fix the distended rectus.
Correct exercises will be recommended.
• The outermost layer is the rectus abdominus.
This muscle comprises of two halves that are joined
together by a long fibrous tissue in the middle. The
next muscle layer is the internal and external obliques.
The innermost abdominal layer is the transverse muscle.
• Interestingly the gap that you feel between
the muscles is your uterus. Baby's movements can be
felt more easily here.
• Some women have no gap. The average gap is
two fingers (3cm or 1¼ in).
• These muscles have distended if the separation
is about 6 cm or 2½ in.
pregnancy these muscles contract and close the gap.
The rectus is considered to have closed if there is
a solid base with a tiny gap and your finger does
not sink into soft tissue. An average two finger gap
will take 2-3 weeks to close, longer if the gap is
• It isn't painful or harmful to you or your
• Girdles will not help get rid of the bulge
or the gap.
• Take great care to maintain correct posture
and when getting out of bed.
• Attempt gentle oblique abdominal exercises
only when the gap is closed usually from 3 weeks onwards
or when it has reduced to 3cm/ 1¼ in.