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Understanding Diastasis Recti

Diastasis recti also known as "abdominal separation" or "mommy pooch", is a common condition that affects many women, especially during pregnancy and postpartum. While it is relatively common, there is often confusion surrounding its causes, symptoms, and appropriate treatment options. In this blog post, we will delve into the world of diastasis recti, providing you with valuable information to help you better understand this condition.

What is Diastasis Recti?

Diastasis recti is a separation of the rectus abdominis muscles, which are the muscles that run vertically down the front of the abdomen. This separation occurs when the connective tissue, called the linea alba, that holds the muscles together becomes stretched and weakened. The result is a visible bulge or gap in the midline of the abdomen.

Causes of Diastasis Recti

The primary cause of diastasis recti is pregnancy, as the growing uterus places significant pressure on the abdominal muscles. However, other factors can contribute to its development, such as multiple pregnancies, carrying a large baby, or having weak abdominal muscles prior to pregnancy. Certain exercises, poor posture, and excessive weight gain can also increase the risk of developing diastasis recti.

Symptoms of Diastasis Recti

The most noticeable symptom of diastasis recti is the visible bulge or gap in the midline of the abdomen, which can be more prominent when straining or contracting the abdominal muscles. Other common symptoms include lower back pain, poor posture, difficulty engaging the core muscles, and urinary incontinence. It's important to note that not all individuals with diastasis recti experience these symptoms, and the severity can vary.

Treatment Options

Fortunately, diastasis recti can often be improved and managed with non-surgical approaches. It's crucial to consult with a a pelvic floor physical therapist or a specialist in women's health, for a personalized treatment plan.

Common treatment options include:

  1. Core and Posture Awareness: Learning proper body mechanics and engaging the core muscles correctly can minimize the strain on the abdominal area. Techniques such as abdominal bracing and breathing exercises can be beneficial.

  2. Lifestyle Modifications: Maintaining a healthy weight, practicing good posture, and avoiding activities that put excessive strain on the abdominal muscles are important in managing diastasis recti.

  3. Surgical Intervention: In severe cases where conservative approaches do not yield satisfactory results, surgery may be considered. This option is usually reserved for cases where functional impairments persist or when there is a significant cosmetic concern.


Diastasis recti is a common condition, particularly among women who have been pregnant. It is important to work with a pelvic floor physical therapist for an accurate diagnosis and a tailored treatment plan. It should be noted that while many people's goal is to close "the gap" or abdominal separation, improved function and control may be achieved without completely closing your diastasis recti. With the right approach, many individuals can improve their abdominal strength, functionality, and overall well-being while minimizing the effects of diastasis recti.

Email us at with questions or to schedule your physical therapy evaluation today!


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