What May Cause Diastasis Recti?

Author: Carolyne Anthony

It is thought that the “gap” that is caused by diastasis recti happens due to an over stretching at the linea alba- the midline between your rectus abdominus muscles during pregnancy. It is also thought that this happens to 100% of women during pregnancy.

But before you panic, understand that the female body is well equipped for pregnancy and perhaps there are some external factors besides pregnancy that contribute to DR.

The female hormones increase the suppleness or “springy-ness”  of the body during pregnancy thus allowing for the changes, expansion and the 3-dimensional opening of the body closer to the birth, without the body losing its integrity. 

What does that mean?

It means that your pregnant body CAN withstand the pressure of the growing uterus and your body WILL adapt to these changes without any concern.

So why do you have a DR?

Here are where some of those external factors come into play.

  • If you are currently exercising there are a few points to consider. The concept of strengthening the abdominals and pelvic floor is contradictory to what your pregnant hormones are trying to do- open and release in time for the birth. While there is nothing wrong with your intense workout, it might just be that a more moderate whole body form of exercise will be of benefit and help prevent a DR from happening.
  • A  C-section may also cause a DR at the time of birth.
  • Pushing or “bearing down” may also have an adverse effect on your abdominal muscles and may sometimes result in creating a DR.

The postpartum body is also capable of recovering on its own as the hormonal levels decrease and the bones move back into place and muscles strengthen. Without a strong fascial web (which we all possess) this process would not be possible. Postpartum women recover from a birth which can take anywhere up to a year. Postpartum women will show a gap in their rectus abdominus which is NORMAL after the birth.

Time, good nutrition, rest and appropriate exercises can help the healing process.

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