What is Diastasis Recti?by Laura Driver
It's common for the two muscles that run down the middle of your stomach to separate during pregnancy. This is sometimes called diastasis recti, or divarication.
The amount of separation varies from one woman to another. It happens because your growing womb (uterus) pushes the muscles apart, making them longer and weaker.
Most women don't notice any problems as their stomach muscles separate in pregnancy, but you might notice a bulge developing down the front of your bump, above and below your belly button.
After you have had your baby, you can check the size of the separation with this simple technique:
- Lie on your back with your legs bent and your feet flat on the floor.
- Raise your shoulders off the floor slightly and look down at your tummy. Using the tips of your fingers, feel between the edges of the muscles, above and below your belly button. See how many fingers you can fit into the gap between your muscles.
- Do this regularly to check that the gap is gradually decreasing.
The separation between your stomach muscles will usually go back to normal by the time your baby is eight weeks old. If the gap is still obvious at eight weeks, the muscles may still be long and weak. This can put you at risk of back problems.
Have a word with your health visitor or GP. Your GP can refer you to a physiotherapist, who will give you some specific exercises to do.
Regular pelvic floor and deep stomach muscle exercises can help to reduce the size of the separation between your stomach muscles. It’s also important to stand up tall and be aware of your posture now you're no longer pregnant.