Diastasis rectus abdominis (DRA), also known as abdominal separation, is a common condition for women when they are pregnant and the following years after childbirth. As your uterus expands and the fetus grows the abdominal stretches and creates a gap between the left and right rectus abdominis. DRA usually develops in the second and third trimester when the fetus is growing more rapidly.
The most common cause is pregnancy which can lead to stretching of the linea alba, a connective tissue sheath.
Diastasis Recti is not painful, however, it can lead to a lack of core strength, which can lead to compensatory pelvic floor muscle spasm and or undo stress in the low back, hips and SI joints.
The more common risk factors include:
There is no real data on prevention, however we suggest anyone considering trying to get pregnant to come to use and have an evaluation for core strength and pelvic floor function. Optimizing these prior to pregnancy in theory would help patients support their abdominal musculature during pregnancy.
Healing without any exercise or treatment is unlikely. A proper physical therapy program possibly with pelvic floor treatment is highly recommended. If the methods fail, there are surgical options.
While there are certainly non-invasive treatments and protocols that can help treat abdominal separation they are specific to each patient. It is important to undergo an evaluation with a pelvic floor specialist if you have or believe you have abdominal separation.
The popular “2 Finger” or ” 3 Finger” method is a rough accepted measurement of a patient’s baseline. It can help measure the progress of the right and left stomach muscles coming together.
8 weeks is considered the standard timeline of pain for a vaginal delivery. For a C Section birth, the standard timeline is closer to 12 weeks. If symptoms persist after that, such as Diastasis Recti (abdominal separation), pain with intercourse, urinary urgency/frequency, and others please contact one of our offices.