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May 10, 2019 3 min read

Abdominal separation is one of those things that pre-kids you were probably blissfully unaware of. Up there with leaking boobs, perineal tear and mastitis…

But now you have grown and birthed one or more bubbas you are probably well aware of these post-partum gems.

Diastasis recti is referred to by many different names - abdominal separation, tummy split, DRAM, DRA being the most common. They all refer to the same thing - the separation of the abdominal muscles. 

What is Diastasis Recti?

When you are pregnant and your belly grows it causes intra-abdominal pressure on the connective tissue or linea alba holding the stomach muscles together. This pressure stretches the linea alba causing a separation of the abdominal muscles.  

This ‘stretching’ needs to occur for the baby to grow and is completely normal during pregnancy. For many women the muscles will come back together naturally after the birth. But for others it won’t and they will need assistance to heal and strengthen their core again.

A Diastasis is considered a gap of roughly 2 fingers/cm or more a couple of months post-partum. However, it is not just the gap we are concerned about it is also the strength or ‘damage’ to the connective tissue which is equally important.   

Diastasis can occur at different widths above, at and below the naval.

A separation can occur above the belly button, at the belly button and below.

So how do you know if you have a Diastasis Recti? 

It can present in different ways and how it impacts you is really determined by the severity of your separation and the strength of your connective tissue. Some symptoms you may experience include:

  • Soft podgy tummy
  • Still looking a few months pregnant after many months or even years
  • Sticky outie belly button 
  • You leak when you exercise, jump, cough, lift, etc.
  • Doming of your tummy as you sit up
  • Lower back pain after or during exercise or lifting
  • Lack a core connection or feeling of a weakness in your core
  • Lack of core stability
  • Bloating (particularly as the day progresses)
  • Constipation

How to Test Yourself for Diastasis Recti

To test yourself to see if you may have a Diastasis:

1. Lie flat on your back with your knees up and head relaxed on the ground. It is important that your head and abdominals are relaxed, otherwise you will get a false reading as you will measure the abdominals coming together.

To check yourself for a diastasis lie flat on the floor with your knees bent.

2. We take the measurement in 3 places as the Diastasis can be different in different areas. So we take it:

A) halfway between the belly button and the sternum
B) just below the belly button
C) halfway between belly button and the pubic bone

3. Place your fingers with your palm down and fingers pointing towards your feet. Don’t push down too hard. 
Testing yourself for a diastasis recti

4. Press down on your abdomen and then lift your head slightly off the floor to gauge where the muscles are located. You should be able to feel the sides of the muscles coming together as you raise and lower your head.

5. If there is a gap between the muscles when your head is lowered this gap is your Diastasis or separation.

6. Move on to testing in position B and C (above and below the naval) to see if there is a gap there.

Close-up of woman testing for a diastasis

7. When checking also take note of the condition of your connective tissue. How far can you push your fingers into the tummy? The condition of this is equally as important at the gap itself.

So you have a Diastasis, what now?

After testing, we would recommend booking in for a Belly Check with one of our Trainers to have a full assessment. If we do not have a Trainer in your area, please get in contact with us via hello@bodykind.com.au where we can discuss how we can help you heal and repair.

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