What is diastasis recti?
Diastasis recti, the medical term for separation of the abdominal muscles, is very common during and after pregnancy. It is not a tear, but a sideways stretch that separates the two halves of the rectus abdominis, the “6-pack” muscles. In addition to pregnancy, there are other causes of diastasis recti. Anything that exerts repetitive, forward, forceful bulging pressure on the abdominal wall can induce or worsen abdominal separation. For example, deep visceral fat resulting in a classic ‘beer belly’ can force the abdominal muscles to separate. And surprisingly, many traditional abs exercises that bulge the abdominal muscles forward (including crunches, sit-ups, boat pose, double leg lifts and many Pilates-based exercises) can induce or exacerbate diastsis recti because they exert forward, forceful pressure on the abdominal wall. These movements are particularly injurious when a woman already has some degree of diastasis recti from a current or previous pregnancy.
Diastasis recti is undesirable for a few reasons. First of all, it weakens the support for your back, increasing the risk of back pain. It also compromises the support for your organs, decreases hip stability, contributes to pelvic dysfunction and urinary stress incontinence, and increases the risk of both ventral and umbilical hernia. For those expectant mamas out there, diastasis recti also weakens your push muscles – leading to a potentially longer, more difficult labor. The health implications of diastasis recti are far more serious than the cosmetic impact– although that, too, is a nuisance. Diastasis recti often presents externally as a poochy abdomen (sometimes referred to as “mummy tummy”) that can leave women looking 5 months pregnant months or even decades after childbirth.
Wondering if your abs have separated?
You can find out right now. Watch our self-check for DR video to learn how to check yourself for diastasis recti, or reach out to one of our certified EMbody Instructors and book a class or schedule an appointment for a 1:1 session. What if you do find a separation between your rectus abdominis? First of all, take some comfort knowing you are not alone. A majority of child-bearing women have some degree of diastasis recti following even a first pregnancy. And secondly, I’m delighted to share the good news that there is a proven, non-surgical solution.
Diastasis recti is both preventable and reversible without surgery! The key lies in therapeutic activation of the transverse abdominis, your deepest abdominal muscle, and proper coordination with the diaphragm and the pelvic floor. This muscle activation serves to protect the integrity of the abdominal wall during pregnancy – it’s possible to prevent the abdominal wall from separating even while pregnant! And after delivery, this same muscle engagement works efficiently to restore strength, form and function. Our 12-week Reclaim program, based on therapeutic activation of the deep core, is proven to resolve diastasis recti and dramatically improve core health. As reported by npr, a study conducted by Weill Cornell found that 100% of 63 women who followed our program achieved full resolution of abdominal separation in less than 12 weeks! Our comprehensive online program offers daily core exercises and 3-4 full body workouts per week (all of them less than 30 minutes!) to make it easy and accessible to improve core health as you rebuild overall fitness. You’ll feel better and stronger within days, and see measurable changes within weeks.