Two months ago in the middle of the night, as I sat up to get my son, I noticed what seemed to be a hole in my stomach. Initially my heart sunk knowing exactly what was going on - at ten months post-partum, my diastasis had returned! The morning following I took one glance in the mirror + realized how bloated my stomach was, almost as if I were still pregnant. I felt so discouraged by this realization. I was feeling so strong up until this point + really thought my body had completely recovered from childbirth but here I was back at square one (or so it seemed). But after thinking it through I quickly regained my confidence. I knew exactly what it was that I had to do!
What is diastasis?
Diastasis Recti (DR) is a separation of the abdominal wall caused by stretching or thinning of the linea alba (a connective tissue that runs through our midline). When this separation becomes wider than two fingers, it is said that a DR is present.
Symptoms of diastasis include:
•pelvic floor dysfunction side effects such as low back pain, urinary incontinence (“leaking”), and painful sex
•increased risk for hernia
•weakened core muscles
•coning/doming of the abs
Who suffers from diastasis?
100% of pregnant women will have a DR present at their due date, 39% present at 6 months; 60% of women have DR at 6 weeks postpartum and 32% at 12 months (DUVALL, 2022).
But that’s not all! Men + children can suffer too.
Shortly after realizing my condition, I was having a conversation with my trainer (a crossfit coach) + he told me how surprised he was that so many MEN had a DR in his gym. How can this be you ask? Well let me start by saying the crossfit community is very competitive. Individuals are constantly trying to max out on weight, speed + reps. These athletes know how to maximize effort but the problem is they don’t know how to slow down which comes with a cost - tight pelvic floors, poor breathing patterns, incorrect form, lack of core engagement + often lots of back pains reside with these individuals.
The unfortunate truth about diastasis…
It sounds scary. The sad truth about diastasis is that the internet makes it scary. Before you go off googling “how to fix a diastasis” take my advice…don’t. You’ll be bombarded with endless articles saying you need surgery to fix your separation. This is not going to help you heal + even in extreme cases, it is not the first place to start. Truth be told many diastasis cases resolve on their own post-partum + in other cases the diastasis is functional - meaning it poses little to no risk by being present. So let me assure you that even if you suffer from a DR you have nothing to worry about. It is more common than we realize + your awareness of the issue is going to make you stronger in the end, trust me.
How to fix diastasis recti?
Pressure management, proper alignment + deep core activation. Correcting breathing patterns + fixing your posture are not only the first steps to healing a DR but also the most important. These two things are key not just for closing the gap, but also for getting your abs looking + feeling better than ever! Once breathwork + alignment becomes a priority, the next step is moving with intention. This entails slowing down + making everything a core exercise. By doing this, most cases of DR will subside on their own. Function will restore, abs will flatten out + back pain will reduce. Doesn’t sound so scary anymore does it?
In my situation after slowing down, paying more attention to my breathwork, activating my deep core muscles prior to every workout + bringing more awareness to my posture throughout the day - my diastasis went from being four fingers wide to a one finger separation in two weeks!! Aside from the pain I felt having to slow down in the gym (ugh), I didn't have any. The bloating subsided a few days after changing up my motives + it made me more intentional with how I carry myself today.
How to check for diastasis?
Do you suffer from abdominal pooching, low back pain, urinary incontinence, coning of the abs when under pressure? It could be possible you have a DR. Great news is, it’s never too late to start your journey towards healing. Not sure if this is something you have? Book a consult with me today or check out my video below for a self-check you can do yourself at home.