How to Fix a Diastasis Recti

In Female Pelvic Pain, Pregnancy and Postpartum Pelvic Health by Stephanie Prendergast161 Comments

By Malinda Wright

Most women seem to accept that pregnancy/childbirth changes their bodies. But, what many don’t realize is that some of these changes can be fixed. One of those “fixable” changes includes a diastasis recti (DR) (translation: the separation of the abdominal muscles), which occurs due to pregnancy.

In this post, I’m going to give you a complete overview of diastasis recti, including what it is; how to check for it; how it can be fixed; and why fixing it is important.

What is a Diastasis Recti?

A diastasis recti is a separation of the rectus abdominis muscles, what many refer to as the “six-pack” muscles. This separation occurs along the band of connective tissue that runs down the middle of the rectus abdominis. This band of tissue is called “the linea alba, but for the purposes of this blog, here on out, we’re going to refer to it as the “midline.”

During pregnancy, separation occurs down the midline as a result of the force of the uterus pushing against the wall of the abdomen coupled with the influx of pregnancy hormones that soften connective tissue.

Diastasis recti can occur anytime in the last half of pregnancy, but most commonly occurs after pregnancy when the abdominal wall is lax and the thinner midline tissue no longer provides adequate support for the torso and internal organs.

A small amount of widening of the midline happens in all pregnancies and is normal. In fact, a diastasis recti occurs in about 30% of all pregnancies. Although some women’s midlines spontaneously close to less than a 2 finger-width after labor, for many, the tissue remains too wide. A midline separation of more than 2 to 2.5 finger-widths, or 2 centimeters, is considered problematic.

However, pregnancy is not the only cause of diastasis recti. It can also occur in both male and female children and adults with excessive abdominal visceral fat. Abdominal surgery can also create the separation in both men and women, especially when an incision is made through the midline. For instance, many of our male patients at PHRC who have undergone prostatectomy surgery via the Da Vinci robotic method, often present with a diastasis recti.

Predisposing factors for DR include: obesity, multiple birth pregnancy, and abdominal wall laxity from previous pregnancy or abdominal surgery.

What’s the Problem with a Diastasis Recti?

A diastasis recti can lead to pelvic instability due to abdominal wall weakness. This instability can create a number of problems. These include:

  • Abdominal discomfort with certain movements, such as rolling over in bed, getting in/out of bed, and lifting heavy objects
  • Umbilical hernia
  • Pubic symphysis pain
  • Sacroiliac joint pain
  • Low back pain
  • Pelvic floor dysfunctions, such as urinary, fecal and flatulence incontinence and pelvic organ prolapse

In addition, a diastasis recti can change the appearance of the abdomen. The skin may droop, and some patients may even develop an actual hernia through the midline. Also, some postpartum patients may complain of continuing to look pregnant.

Oftentimes, patients want to know if there is anything they can do during pregnancy to prevent a DR.

My advice to them is to:

  • keep their abdominal muscles strong during pregnancy with appropriate exercises,
  • maintain proper posture with sitting, standing, and activities, such as pushing the grocery cart,
  • avoid sit-up and double leg lift exercises,
  • and avoid bearing down when doing activities, such as lifting heavy objects, and eliminating bowels.

Aside from this, I teach my patients proper techniques when getting up from a lying down position, as well as general body mechanics. This includes deploying the “log roll” maneuver when rising from the floor or out of bed. (Log roll how-to: with your torso and head aligned and in one piece, roll over onto your side, then use your arms to help push yourself up to a sitting position.)

Checking for Diastasis Recti

I always check for a DR during a patient’s initial visit at PHRC. The sooner it is caught, the easier it is to rehab. We typically see both postpartum moms and post-abdominal surgical patients at, or after the six-week mark, which is when physicians clear most patients for therapy.

So how common is a DR?

The reality is that about 66% of postpartum women have a widened diastasis immediately after delivery. This is because the tissues at the front of the abdomen are designed to allow the expansion of the belly in order to accommodate a growing baby. However, only 33% of these women will have a diastasis that does not resolve on its own and need intervention.

This percentage is substantially less than what many online sites claim. These sites repeatedly claim that 90% of new moms will have a DR. They also claim that their gadget or program will correct the problem. The fact of the matter is that this information is simply not true, and many unsuspecting moms will just waste their financial resources on a gimmick.

So how does one check for diastasis recti? Here’s how:

  1. Lie on your back with your knees bent, and your feet on the floor.
  2. Place your fingertips of one hand at your belly button and while your abdomen is relaxed, gently press your fingertips into your abdomen.
  3. Lift the top of your shoulders off the floor into a “crunch” position.
  4. Feel for the right and left sides of your rectus abdominis and take note the number of fingers that fit into the gap.
  5. You will want to test this again approximately 1-2 inches above and below your belly button to determine the length of the gap.

If you find you have a DR, you will need to avoid the following activities as they can create further separation of the abdominal muscles:

  • abdominal sit-ups
  • crunches
  • oblique curls
  • double leg lifts
  • upper body twisting exercises
  • exercises that include backbends over an exercise ball
  • yoga postures that stretch the abs, such as “cow” pose and “up-dog” pose
  • pilates exercises that require the head to be lifted off the floor
  • lifting and carrying heavy objects
  • intense coughing without abdominal support

Basically, you will need to avoid any exercise that causes your abdominal wall to bulge out upon exertion. Once the DR is closed, you can gradually add these activities back in.

Diastasis Recti Correction

In general, correcting a DR includes proper fitting for an abdominal brace if needed (we will discuss this later on), core stabilization exercises, postural training, education on proper mobility techniques, and proper lifting techniques.

In some cases, a self-guided program may be enough to correct a DR. But we recommend that postpartum women and post-surgical patients see a qualified pelvic floor PT if they believe they have a DR. Typically, DR patients also have other things going, and a pelvic floor PT will evaluate everything from the ribs down to the knees.

Here’s a complete rundown of what I do to repair a patient’s DR:

During the first visit, I assess the length and width of the separation, the strength of the patient’s transverse abdominis muscle, the motor control of the pelvic floor, and the patient’s posture. In addition, I assess hip, back, and sacral stability. Knowing a patient’s overall impairments is important in correcting a DR, because only then can we put together a proper treatment plan. Since every patient is different, treatment plans are specifically tailored for each patient.

So how do we get down to actually closing the DR?

sheet

Thankfully, closing a DR is not rocket science. The patient takes a towel or bed sheet, wraps it around his or her waist, and crosses it at the largest gap in the DR. For most people the largest gap is at the belly button. The patient must hold the sheet nice and tight, making sure the sheet is in between the ribs and hip bones as they can hinder the sheet from being as tight as it needs to be. In that position, the patient does mini-sit ups.

Patients need to do 30-60 DAILY repetitions for the DR to close. The purpose of the sheet/towel is to bind the muscles together while the sit-ups strengthen the muscles in the correct position, and close the gap. Doing sit-ups without a towel or sheet will cause the gap to widen.

In addition, I work to educate my patients on what activities/exercises to do and not to do. For example, I’ll tackle postural education, meaning I will show them how to sit and stand correctly, I’ll teach them how to best carry heavy items (although this should be avoided if at all possible), how to lift objects correctly, including baby for postpartum patients, and how to correctly get in/out of bed, among other things.

With a diastasis recti patient, once he or she has a good understanding of his/her home program and how to contract their abdominal and pelvic floor muscles correctly, I recommend PT frequency of once every two to four weeks, so that I can check their progress and progress their home program. Some patients require a full hour of treatment, while others only require 30 minutes.

I should mention here that more often than not, my patients with a DR have other impairments that also need treatment, usually pelvic floor muscle weakness.

But some patients also present with pain in addition to their DR. For these patients, I recommend weekly treatments in order to resolve the impairment that can be causing the pain, such as myofascial trigger points and/or hypertonic (too tight) muscles. Remember, DR causes pelvic instability and abdominal wall weakness, which in turn causes other muscles to compensate. This compensation can create muscle spasms and these muscle spasms can lead to joint misalignment and poor muscle function, which can create pain. For patients who also have pain, treatment typically consists of an hour-long appointment, once weekly for six to eight weeks.

As far as how long it takes for a DR to close, it all depends on how large the gap is, abdominal muscle strength, and other issues, such as obesity. The wider the gap, the longer rehabilitation will be. That said, although every patient is different, changes should start to occur within six weeks of rehab.

Some patients do require surgery to correct the DR if it is not closing. If you do not see a sufficient closure of the DR by 12 months with consistent rehab efforts, then a surgical repair may be necessary. A general surgeon or a plastic surgeon can perform the surgery.

To brace or not to brace

According to the social media/blogging world, every postpartum woman needs to wear a brace. This inaccurate messaging seems to go hand-in-hand with the incorrect claim that 90% of postpartum women have a DR, and it’s equally untrue.

Wearing a brace can result in a patient’s over-reliance on the brace reducing the opportunity to retrain the abdominal muscles.

That said, there are situations when a brace is necessary, especially if a patient can’t properly contract her abdominal muscles. For instance, if she can’t engage her Transverse Abdominus muscles (TrA) then she will compensate and use the Rectus Abdominus (RA). Incorrect usage of the RA will reinforce and even continue to split the DR. Once the patient can contract and use the TrA properly then I have her (or him as my male DR patients can have the same issue) stop using the brace to prevent over-reliance.

If you have any questions about diastasis recti correction, please leave them in the comment section below!

Warmly,

Malinda

MW-headshot-1-e1401839528155

Malinda Wright, PT, MPT treats patients in our Los Gatos office.

Comments

  1. I have a DR of 2 fingers. I am about 80-90% better from CPPS. Is it possible that I can start to work to close the gap without increasing pain.

    1. Author

      Dear R,

      It is good to hear you are 80-90% better from CPPS. I recommend consulting with a pelvic floor physical therapist for a full evaluation. The DR may be contributing towards the CPPS and closing it is important, however there may be other impairments that I am not aware of, therefore I recommend consulting with a pelvic floor PT. If you need any recommendations of a PT in your area, please feel free to contact our office at 415 440 7600.

      All my best,
      Malinda

      1. Hello my names Brittni I just had my baby about 3 months ago and have about a 3 finger gap my Gyno pretty much brushed it off saying just to do some leg lifts everyday and see her in a year. But also in the sentence said it’s normal but it’s a little bit larger of a gap than normal. Now I’m a little concerned and know if I just follow back up with them they’ll just say continue what your doing but I don’t want to make it worse without a professionals help. I don’t know what to do I need to stay in too stale because I am I single mother at 21 and have to do heavy lifting ect. I have a band but after a csection after I was healed was told not to wear it. Should I wear it when I do the leg lifts? Any other advice ?

        1. Author Malinda Wright says:

          Hi Brittni,

          Thank you for your comment. Strengthening your transversus abdominis, which is a muscle deep in your lower abdomen, is important. Some core strengthening exercises, such as sit-ups and double leg lifts, will make your diastasis recti larger. I highly recommend you see a pelvic floor physical therapist in your area for an evaluation and for a home program on what do and what to avoid. You can find a pelvic floor physical therapist in your area here: https://hermanwallace.com/practitioner-directory

          I wish you all the best.

          Kindly,

    2. Hello Melinda my name is Jason. I really liked you’re article and I’m getting a better understanding of DR. I had a seperation 3 years ago and it really bothered me, so I opted to get surgery and now it bothers me. I spoke to my surgeon and he said there is no gap. I also had two hernia repair since my surgery. That being said I’m in good shape lean muscle at 6’7 about 215. I try to eat pretty healthy and ever since my surgery I been dealing with constipation issues and I get bloated very easily. I cut out most ab workouts and a lot of weights and do basic lifting mostly machines. If I opted and my insurance was to cover it would a PT physician be able to help me learn how to use the abdominals muscles again and help some of this protrusion. Please apply back it would be greatly appreciated and my email is talljw75@gmail.com Thank you for taking you’re time to read this and I’m really interested to see you’re reply. Thank you again. Jason

      1. Author Malinda Wright says:

        “Hi Jason,
        I recommend seeing a pelvic physical therapist. A pelvic PT will assess your abdomen for connective tissue tightness, muscle trigger points, muscle weakness, scar tissue restrictions, etc. I recommend checking out our blog on What is a “Good” Pelvic Pain PT Session Like? https://pelvicpainrehab.com/uncategorized/1964/what-is-a-good-pelvic-pain-pt-session-like-2/ Would you like us to recommend someone in your area?

        I wish you all the best.”

        1. Hello Malinda,
          I unfortunately on recently discovered that I have DR after having my baby 9mo ago via c-section (and I’m also over 35). This was my first baby and, as my bump was slowly getting better, I just thought it was part of the normal healing process for someone my age after a c-section. I only suspected the problem after noticing that a lot of my friends who had their babies after me seemed to be “returning to normal” much more quickly…and after feeling like my “bump” took a turn from getting better to getting worse (which has taken its tole on my self-confidence). Now i am also starting to have back pain, pelvic pain, and a couple other issues. After reading your blog and links I would love to visit you but do not live close to any of your clinics. Is their anyone you can recommend in the IE or OC areas in CA?

  2. Thanks for this great info. I still have a DR at 4 1/2 years postpartum! Most likely because if doing all the wrong things and yes, have been so frustrated about that sagging appearance even though I am normal weight. When you talk about DR repair is that the same surgery as a tummy tuck?? Can a DR be repaired many years later?? Thanks-

    1. Author

      Dear Amy,

      Yes, an abdominoplasty, AKA tummy tuck, is needed for a DR repair. There are two types, a mini-abdominoplasty and a full-abdominoplasty. Typically, a full-abdominoplasty is required when patients need to have surgery. I believe it can still be repaired 4 1/2 years later. I suggest consulting with a pelvic floor PT to initiate DR correction exercises.

      All my best,
      Malinda

      1. Can such an old DR be still closed down with PT exercises or requires surgery
        Can exercises still work

    2. Hi Amy,

      I have the same issue and it’s years later.
      It’s physically and emotionally draining and I really want to find the best solution.

      Did you decide to have surgery? I’d really like to hear about your experience if you did. After experiencing a C-section, I want to be sure it’s the right option (and safe).
      Thanks!
      Candice

  3. I have a 3 finger diastisis and a small abdominal hernia. My husband and I would like to get pregnant again in the next few months. What can I do to prevent my diastisis from widening during pregnancy? Thanks!!

    1. Author

      Hello Allison,

      Once you already have a diastasis, the best option would be to attempt to close the DR before becoming pregnant again. I recommend that you see a pelvic physical therapist who can teach you diastasis correction techniques which can close up your DR, and prepare you for pregnancy.

      Best,

      Malinda

  4. HI, all very good info, but my DR is not due to pregnancy, it is due to obesity. Do all the same rules apply as far as getting rid of it? I dont understand the number of finger thing but it is huge, like a foot ball. I had pelvic/ab surg a year ago, since then, this has gotten bigger and it seems like i lost all muscle control. my stomach which is big enough, now hangs low, its terrible, any advice?

    1. Author

      Hello Jeni,

      I’m afraid your situation is more complicated, and will require that you consult with a physical therapist for an evaluation. You may need to consider more aggressive treatment options before you can progress to DR correction exercises, but your therapist will discuss all your options after your appointment.

      Regards,

      Stacey

  5. I have a 2 finger DR at the belly button and the same an inch above bur only 1 finger at an inch below. I am assuming it’s from my three births over 17, 22, and 26 years ago. I never knew this was a problem until I came down with Chronic Pelvic pain. Mine started as UTI then symptoms cleared and then BV came and it’s never been good since. My Gynecologist said I had atrophy but it is now resolved with estrogen cream. Could my DR be a reason for my pelvic pain? The DR exercises with the sheet really triggers the burning that I have in the clitoris/urethra area.

    1. I also forgot to add that I am thin and there is no sagging. I also have been an avid sit-up/crunch abdominal exerciser (probably not good for me in hindsight) before all this happened. Is there something extra I need to look at to see if this is a bad problem for me or not?

      1. Author

        Hello Linda,

        You will need to be evaluated by a pelvic floor therapist in order to know the cause of your pelvic pain, but a DR could have been a contributing factor. I would recommend that see a local therapist for an assessment.

        Regards,

        Malinda

  6. I’m an adult male, 37 yo. I have Diastasis Recti.
    I am currently about 20 lbs. overweight and in the process of losing weight. I have lost 18 lbs. in the last 2 months doing cardio exercise.
    1. I would like to do some abdominal exercises that would both help me lose weight and correct my abdominal separation.
    What would you recommend?
    2. Is surgery recommendable?
    Thank you.

    Victor.

    1. Author

      Hello Victor,

      Without first evaluating you, we cannot offer specific recommendations. Please contact a local pelvic floor therapist who can assess you.

      All my best,

      Malinda

  7. Hi there, could you please detail exactly what exercises to do and not to do during a first pregnancy to avoid DR? My sister is in her first trimester and she’s looking into exercise routines but it’s pretty confusing as class instructors and websites sometimes contradict one another. I want to make sure she walks into–even a prenatal–class and knows for herself what is not recommended. How to strengthen the pelvic floor without working the abs? I heard full squats with good posture are one way to do this, but you say avoid bearing down? Specifics would be so appreciated! Thanks, Sara

    1. Author

      Hello Sara,

      As I mentioned in the blog, a treatment plan is uniquely tailored to each patient after an evaluation is completed. Your sister will need to receive a full assessment in order to start the correct treatment plan for her.

      All my best,

      Malinda

      1. Hi Malinda, Just to clarify–she doesn’t have DR. I’m just looking for information on how to avoid it and you seem like a good resource. Thanks, Sara

        1. Author

          Hi Sara,

          PT is the best preventative treatment as it can allow a woman to become more functional and experience less pain during the course of the pregnancy as well as during her labor and delivery. This can help decrease the chances of a DR, as well as other complications during and after pregnancy.

          Best,

          Malinda

  8. Hi PT Melinda,

    If a patient has realized 7 years after child birth that they have a separation is it too late to correct w/o surgery? I have pelvic floor issues and a umbilical hernia as well. Kaiser said they will correct the hernia but not the separation.

    Thank you!

    1. Author

      Hello April,

      It may not be too late, but in order to know for sure you will need to be evaluated. If you are in the area and would like to schedule an appointment, please contact our office (510) 922-9836.

      Regards,

      Melinda

      1. Hi Melinda
        i live i scotland uk,could you recommend anyone here that can help me with this. my oldest os 15 and my youngest 9,the past 9years is where i suffer terrible backache heaviness below and had to get surgery due to bowel wall collapsing after had prolapse. i now feel its happening agin,could this be due to having a 3finger DR?
        Regards

        Elaine

  9. I am 50 years of age, 4 kids, last one 23 years ago. I had no clue I had DR until I started working out hard core a few years ago and saw my doctor for the sudden pregnancy look, I was diagnosed with a 2 finger DR. My question is, now that i am working out again, and look great accept for my belly, where do I find a therapist/trainer in my area? Do they have a specific name of expertise? I live in Wilmington Delaware and all I could find are plastic surgeons. I so badly want to fix this DR!

    Thank you,
    Susan

  10. Hi,I’m 43yrs old and I have two children 4 and 6. I was having a lot of pain and was advised by my Ob/Gyn Dr to see a Doctor for a hernia. Well he stated it’s not a hernia but Diastasis. He wants to treat it with surgey. I was advised either to have the surgery or not. I really don’t know what to do. Would a PT help? or a brace? I’ve had one surgery for fibroids and 2 c-sections. A fourth surgery I really don’t want. Looking for help! ALso he told me he will not know about the hernia until I have the surgery, if it’s present he will fix it. The surgery is the Di Vinci (Robot)
    Thanks
    Denise
    Thanks
    Denise

    1. Hello Denise,

      Therapy is a more conservative, and effective approach. I encourage you to consult with a local pelvic floor specialist who can evaluate you. Where are you located? I may be able to recommend a therapist in your area.

      Regards,

      Melinda

      1. I live in the Cincinnati, Ohio area. And do you know if this is something covered by insurance?

        1. Hello Denise,

          We recommend that you contact the Pelvic Pain Cleveland Clinic. Unfortunately, we do not have additional referrals in your area at this time. Please contact your insurance for coverage information.

          Regards,

          Melinda

  11. Pingback: Exercises for Diastasis Recti - Forty By Forty Fitness

  12. Hi – thanks for the useful information.

    Do you have a recommendation for a therapist in the Albany/Saratoga Area in New York?

    Thank you

  13. I am an 86 year old woman, petite, get exercise mainly from walking every day, do weed pulling and stuff but don’t do prescribed exercises. 4 children, youngest 50 years ago. Noticed recently my pot belly was getting unacceptable; doctor diagnosed diastasis recti, I don’t know how wide, and he didn’t direct particular exercises. I’ve read of a number of exercises NOT to do–and my 86-year-old body likes to walk, can bend over and touch the floor but doesn’t like the formal kind of exercise regimens young women do. What do you think of single leg lifts with 2 lb. to 5 lb. weights? That’s what my orthopedic surgeon recommended for strengthening knee/thigh muscles prior to a future knee replacement. I sit on a chair seat and contract my belly muscles with every lift. What do you think–will this do any good for my DR? Or is it making my DR wider??? Thanks–great-grandma

  14. Good day,

    My daughter recently turned three, and there is still a separation in her abdominal muscles. This has been present since her birth, and doctors say it should resolve on its own….but what is a reasonable amount of time to simply watch and wait?

    She developed a periumbilical hernia about 1 inch above her umbilicus when she started walking/climbing around 15 months of age. It is reducible, and I am careful to monitor it daily…generally it is not visible except after a particularly hard crying episode (too common with 3 year olds!).

    Now that she is old enough to understand, she might cooperate with some simple exercises that would help her diastasis recti resolve. I would really like to start actively treating this issue as it has persisted this long with little improvement.

    Can you recommend specific exercises for toddlers with this issue? Would you advise the use of a belly band during these exercises (I have made one for her, but she will only wear it for a limited time frame)? How much time should we devote daily to these exercises?

    I’m just not comfortable with this passive approach my doctors recommend and I would very much appreciate your input!

  15. hi i am male i have had diastasis recti for 10 years as my doctor did not no what it was, he just said its a hernia and i will have to wait till it gets worse , now its giving me pain and i have just had a scan saw another doctor !!! and was told i have a very small hernia about 5mm can i close the gap with excercise and will the hernia get better or is it to late to repair and will my hernia get worse ? i am a ex boxer who still trains …….. thanks

    1. Hello Anna,

      We do not have a therapist recommendation located in Hunstville at this time.

      Regards,

      Allison

  16. I hurt my lower back a year ago, have hip, side, and sciatic pain, Just recently found out I have DR, and am curious if this could’ve happened from damaging the back muscles?

    1. Hello Kris,

      An evaluation will be necessary in order to be certain. We encourage you to consult with a local therapist who can better assist you.

      Regards,

      Malinda

  17. Hi I have two young kids and believe I may have 2 finger DR, what pelvic floor therapist do you recommend for Las Vegas , Nv. I also have a prolapsed bladder could that be In conjunction with dr?
    Thanks,
    Melissa

    1. Hello Melissa,

      There could be a number of contributing factors but yes, when your abdominal muscles are not able to support you, there is extra stress added onto other supporting stuctures. We recommend that you consult with a local pelvic floor therapist in order to prevent further complications, along with a urogynecologist who can also offer alternative options to surgery. We hope this helps, and we apologize for the delayed response!

      All my best,

      Stephanie

  18. Can you recommend someone in the Long Island area (Suffolk county)?
    I went to a well known surgeon here and was diagnosed with DR and an umbilical hernia but was told nothing could be done for the DR without surgery and I’d like to talk to someone about trying other methods first.

    Thanks,
    Alyssa

    1. Hello Alyssa,

      I apologize for the delayed response. We have received a high volume of inquiries, and have been unable to attend to them in a timlier manner. Below are therapists in the NJ area that are able to assist you:

      Herzig Niva MS,PT Englewood NJ 201-568-5060 Core Dynamics PT
      Besante Jamie PT Beachwood NJ (609) 978-3110 Southern Ocean Medical Center
      Dela Rosa Michelle DPT Columbus NJ (609) 379-0900
      Ryan Angela MD Englewood NJ 2015672277 Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation Center
      Goldman Debra PT,MA, PRPC Florham Park, NJ 973-845-2592 Four Corners Physical Therapy
      Ely-Maskal Nancy PTA Englewood NJ 2015672277 Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation Center

      Best,

      Stephanie

  19. Hi there! I’m looking for a physical therapist in the Arvada, Colorado area. I was told the only way to fix it was through surgery which seems ridiculous as I haven’t even tried any therapy yet. Thanks for the help.

  20. Hello
    Can you suggest a PT in The Villages, Fl area that knows how to treat DR?
    Thank you

  21. I am 6 months PP and super active. I run 6 miles daily and weiget lift (heavy) 4×7 a week. I just found out the bulge in my stomach is 4 inches wide. I am thin and tall (5’10” 132lbs) so it makes me look 5 months pregnant. By doing these exercises and wearing a diastsis recti splint, is there a chance I can repair the separation with such a large gap?

    1. Author Malinda Wright says:

      Hi Karissa,

      Yes, there is a chance you can close the separation, however I recommend seeing a local pelvic floor physical therapist to help guide you on appropriate exercises. Please let us know if you need help finding someone in your area.

      Kindly, Malinda

  22. Can you suggest a PT in Orlando? I really would like to bodybuild for a competition but I don’t want to jeopardize my DR by doing the wrong workouts. Also, I have sagging stomach/skin with 3 finger length gap above the belly button. Thank you.

  23. I am a 60 year old female with a 3.5 finger DR, which developed when I had 2 kids in my 20s. Is it too late for me to close the gap with exercises at this age? I am pretty slim and trim except for this flabby belly. I live in the Jacksonville, Florida area. Thanks.

  24. Hello I just recently found out about Dr. I’m a mother of 5 oldest being 15, 11 year old twins girls, and 9 year old twin boys all carried 42 weeks. I did the Dr teat on myself and it was 3 fingers wide and 4 fingers down starting above my navel. I am overweight and have tried to workout but it’s hard due to me having sciatica and degenerative disk in my spine from falling alot while pregnant. My stomach muscle are very weak and im now starting to have spasms. Where do I start to look for help with this??

    1. Sorry I also needed to add that all 5 were born by C-section and I have also had my gallbladder and appendix removed.

    1. Hello Monica,

      We are located in Los Angeles. Please call us for more information : (424) 293-2306

      Best,

      Admin

  25. I was diagnosed with severe diastasis recti. And went to physical therapy and it was very hard to get the transverse abdominis muscles to work. Any suggestions. I’m also having pain with it. I look like I’m 9 months pregnant

    1. Author Malinda Wright says:

      Hi Shawna, I recommend seeing a pelvic floor physical therapist. There are modalities the therapist can use to help you fire your transverse abdominis, such as neuromuscular electrical stimulation and neuromuscular reeducation techniques. If you need help locating a physical therapist, please let us know. We might be able to recommend one in your area.

      Kindly, Malinda

  26. Thanks for the article! I have pretty severe DR after delivering my second baby, and possibly a small umbilical hernia as well. Is it safe to do exercises to close abdominal separation if a hernia is present?

  27. My son was born in 2004 I still have a distended stomach people ask if I’m pregnant my daughter will be 23yrs I didn’t have a diastasis with her.. I was reading up on the computer what could cause my stomach to be like this and I try to exercise and I buy exercise machines nothing helps.. I did the diastasis test and realize that is the problem, because it’s so long can I get it fixed and how??

    1. Author Malinda Wright says:

      “Hi Cynthia,
      It’s never too late to try and fix the diastasis recti and strengthen your core. I recommend seeing a pelvic floor physical therapist. If you would like us to recommend a pelvic floor PT in your area, please let us know.
      Kindly, -Malinda”

  28. I am a 21 year old male, I have had DA since about age 17 or 18. I’m not sure how I got it I work a highly physical laboring job. So it’s either the job or this one time I got hit dead in the center of my abdomen with something really sharp and heavy. I am planning to leave that job and find one where I don’t have to lift stuff every other second. Will correcting DA through exercise make it possible to enjoy long 2 hour jogs and possibly enlisting in the army/navy? I have a finger width gap between the first two set of abs from the top. This is the reason I have not enlisted since graduating high school. How hard is it to keep the gap closed once it has done so? Thank you.

    1. Author Malinda Wright says:

      Hi,
      Thank you for your comment. Yes, you should be able to jog 2 hours or more and enlist in the military. I recommend you see a physical therapist who is familiar with diastasis recti and can help you with core strengthening. Core strengthening will help you stay strong in order to do advance activities. If you need help finding a therapist in your area, please feel free to contact our office.
      Kindly,
      -Malinda

  29. Hi, I’m a mother of 2 (youngest is approaching 2) and got a permanent distended stomach a few months after she turned one (until then it was only in the evenings). I have urinary and digestive issues as well as the gap and am wondering if you know if these can go along with diastasis recti? Thank you for a great article and resources! I have contacted a PT on one of the lists and am hoping to hear back. I’m confused as to what kind of doctor to see to get a diagnosis and any kind of help.
    Lauren

    1. Author Malinda Wright says:

      Hi Lauren,
      Thank you for your comment. Yes, the diastasis recti can be contributing towards your urinary and digestive issues. Your GP or gynecologist may be familiar with a diastasis recti. If they are not, then I recommend seeing a plastic surgeon for a diagnosis.
      Kind Regards,
      -Malinda

  30. Can you recommend a pelvic therapist in the Denver, CO area? I am 1 year PP with my 3rd child with a significant gap and still looking 6 months pregnant. I am also having pelvic floor issues.

  31. Dear Ms. Wright. Thank you so much for the information about Diastasis Recti for men. I’ve had this for about 15 years+. At first I didn’t know what this bulge was? So I was doing sit-ups and adding to them. I was doing 1,000 sit-ups along with my exercises thinking this bulge would correct itself. It didn’t. So my doctor noticed it when I laid down on the table and thought I had a hernia. No. Immediately the hernia specialist she told me I had Diastasis Recti. To make a long story short, I don’t even want to eat anymore because if I do my stomach bulges out like I’m pregnant (I’ve always been thin). No my back is starting to hurt so I’ve been put on muscle relaxants. 3 kinds. I’ll be 59 next month and I really want to get this thing fix before I can’t get out of bed, because sometimes when my back hurts it hurts that much that when I struggle out of bed I have to lay on the floor. This is also very depressing, which now I’m on medication for that. I just want to hit the gym, it’s been too long. Thanks for you time, and your help. Peace!

  32. I think I may have Diastasis Recti. And I also think I may now have a minor umbilical hernia. I have a very sensitive belly button. I don’t want to have surgery. Is it possible to still strengthen the muscles so that the hernia will subside?

    I live in LA. Do you think it would be worth it for me to come in?

    1. Author Malinda Wright says:

      Hi Rebecca,
      Thank you for your comment. I recommend scheduling an evaluation in order to assess the diastasis recti and the hernia. Please feel free to contact our LA office.
      Kindly,
      Malinda

  33. 10 months post partum with #4. have 2 fingers width. no pelvic floor issues. no pain. would binding help close my separation? I’ve been careful as to the exercises I’ve been doing. I was aware of my diastus from the start

    1. Author Malinda Wright says:

      Hi Janelle,
      Thank you for your comment. Glad to hear you do not have any pelvic floor impairments or pain at this time, however I recommend scheduling an assessment with your local pelvic floor PT in order to prevent future impairments. A diastasis recti can contribute towards future pelvic floor and pelvic girdle dysfunction if not managed properly. If you need a recommendation for a PT in your area, please let us know.
      Kindly,
      Malinda

  34. I gave birth to my daughter two and a halfyears ago. Theday after I had her I noticed something was wrong. I still looked pregnant I had friends who after having babies had their flat tummys back in days so I knew that it wasn’t right but had no idea what it was. I recently found out I have pelvic organ prolapse at 29 I was devastated not understanding why this was happening to me. Atthe same time I finally asked my doc whyI look pregnant all the time she didn’t know I’ve seen three different doc’s twoOBGYN and non of them put two and two together. I found this website today and I am convinced this is why my abdomen is sodistended a nd extremely tender and why I am prolapseing. Who should I seek out for help what doctor should I present this to? After so long will it be moredifficult for meto get back to normal? Ifit is repaired will I get my flat tummy back and will it help reduce the pressure on my uterus and in turn reduce the about of uturen tissue protruding out of my vagina? Will mybody every go back to normal or is there perminate damagenow?

    1. Author Malinda Wright says:

      Hi Chariot,
      Thank you for your comment. Yes, prolapse and a diastasis recti can be related. I recommend you see a pelvic floor physical therapist for an evaluation. If you need recommendations in your area, please let us know.
      Kindly,
      -Malinda

  35. Hello Malinda

    I’m struggling so much to find info on DR. I’m finding it frustrating to know what to do so I did enjoy your post.

    I am 11 months pp from my 3rd pregnancy. I have a 2.5 cm DR at my belly button and up towards my ribs. I do not have a gap below the belly button. I have an umbilical hernia which protrudes through my belly button. My pelvic floor is fine and I don’t have problems in that area.

    Please could you give me your advice and opinion on what I should do. For the past month I have been trying to engage my TA by sucking belly to spine 60 times a day. I don’t really notice any difference and it is frustrating the way my belly hangs out. If I suck in my tummy is flat but it just won’t stay flat on its own.

    My questions are
    1. Is there a chance I can fix this without surgery by engaging TA as I have been doing
    2. Is it too late for me because I only started at 10 months pp
    3. If I can fix the DR with no surgery, will my hernia fix itself too? Or will I have to have the hernia repaired regardless of the DR?

    1. Author Malinda Wright says:

      Hi Sylvia,

      Thank you for your comment. It’s never too late to correct the DR.I recommend seeing a women’s health physical therapist for an assessment. The PT will be able to give you appropriate exercises specifically for your impairment. It’s hard for me to give advice without doing a full assessment. If you need a recommendation for a PT in your area, please feel free to call one of our offices. I also recommend seeing a physician regarding the hernia.
      Kindly,
      -Malinda

  36. Hi there just wondering if I will need surgery my np tells me I do but I want to try new heal on my own my DR is like 4fingers wide will the towel excersise work ? Or what should I do I’m trying to avoid surgery

    1. Author Malinda Wright says:

      Hi Holly,

      Thank you for your comment. I recommend trying conservative treatment first before considering surgery. If you do end up having surgery, conservative treatment prior to surgery will help with recovery. If you need any recommendations for PT’s in your area, please let us know.

      Kindly,

      -Malinda

  37. Hi… I just foud out I have this separation. I’m classified as underweight”, but recently had trouble with overconsumption of fluid and vegetables, probably a stress on my stomach.
    I am very active in sports, and one possibility might be doing incorrect/too many ab crunches.

    The separation is 2-3 of my fingers or 1.5 of my mom’s.

    I’ve never been pregnant.

    Can I keep being physically active, or can this get worse?

    1. Author Malinda Wright says:

      Hi Hamster,

      Thank you for your comment. It’s hard to give advice without doing a proper assessment. I recommend seeing a pelvic health PT in your area for an assessment. If you need recommendations in your area, please let us know.

      Kindly,

      -Malinda

  38. I have an 11yr old son with DR. We adopted him from Haiti 6 1/2 years ago. He was very ill as an infant and has multiple medical issues including, but not limited to, brain malformations, digestion/bloating issues, mild scoliosis, S curve in his lumbar and low muscle tone. We met w/ a pediatric surgeon about 3 years ago to address his DR. He told us since our son was not experiencing any negative affects from the DR that we could just let it be. He suggested exercises to try and ones to avoid. Fast forward to 2016 and his PT is seeing negative affects to his posture as well as his scoliosis is slowing worsening. We met with a different surgeon and now have been told that surgery is an option if we choose but he disagrees with restricting the types of exercises our son should be doing. He recommended we seek advice from a PT.
    We are a little confused as to what the best course of action should be. I do not agree that it should just be left alone. I would appreciate your thoughts.
    Our PT would like more info on DR and does suggest something be done to promote strengthening to his core.

    1. Author Malinda Wright says:

      Hi Kristi,
      Thank you for your comment. A DR will contribute towards a weak core and a weak core will contribute towards poor posture, digestion issues, and other compensation. The core needs to be strong. Your son may be able to obtain a strong core through exercises and/or he may need surgery. I don’t know how wide your son’s DR is, therefore I recommend he sees a physical therapist who specializes in DR. Depending on how wide his separation is and on his cognition, he may or may not need surgery. If you need a recommendation for a PT in your area, please let us know.
      Kindly, -Malinda

  39. So I have been lifting weights for 4 months and I recently noticed that while laying on my back, if I were to lift my legs to a 25 degree angle, a ride forms right in between my abs. Could this be Diastasis Recti? I’m 165 pounds, and have a small belly. It is not noticeable when im sitting, standing, or laying. Only when I make that motion with my legs while laying flat on the floor. Any advise? Should I stop working out?

    1. Author Malinda Wright says:

      Hi Ron, It’s hard to tell if you have a DR without assessing you. There are a few things that could be going on. I recommend seeing a physical therapist for an evaluation.
      Kindly, -Malinda

  40. I am a male, and just discovered the ridge associated with DR (too many bad pushups I’m thinking). I believe the DR is the reason, for 8 months I can’t walk or stand without excruciating pain.

    Went to an internist, and he said my pain is NOT coming from the DR, which shocked me, from everything I’ve read and researched (he’s sending me to an orthopedist) .

    Do you know of any websites, like Mayo Clinic, Harvard, ClevelandClinic, that says DR can cause these painful issues ? I can’t seem to find any, other than WebMd, and most doctors ignore it unless that info is from a “real” site. Taking articles from blogs and miscellaneous websites doesn’t work with an MD – they need established proof.

    Much thanks

    1. Hi Jerry,

      Thank you for your comment. There is a lack of literature linking DR and pain. The literature that is available mainly pertains to pregnant and postpartum women. Here are a couple research papers you might find helpful to show your doctor:
      http://www.jospt.org/doi/abs/10.2519/jospt.2016.6102?url_ver=Z39.88-2003&rfr_id=ori%3Arid%3Acrossref.org&rfr_dat=cr_pub%3Dpubmed&
      http://www.jospt.org/doi/abs/10.2519/jospt.2016.6536?url_ver=Z39.88-2003&rfr_id=ori:rid:crossref.org&rfr_dat=cr_pub%3dpubmed
      https://www-ncbi-nlm-nih-gov.ucsf.idm.oclc.org/pmc/articles/PMC5013086/

      I wish you all the best.

      Kindly,
      Malinda

  41. Can a 73 year old man with diastasis recti do your exercise to get rid of it? Also he is overweight.

    1. Author Malinda Wright says:

      Hi Joan,
      I recommend he sees a pelvic floor physical therapist for an evaluation and an appropriate home exercise program. It’s hard to give advice without assessing him.
      Kindly,
      -Malinda

  42. Hi Melinda,

    I’ve been diagnosed with DR a few weeks after I was diagnosed for POP after delivering ny second child. I noticed the gap before becoming pregnant with my second one. My Physio Therapist told me that because it was there before pregnancy it won’t go away now. I feel like there is a chance to restore it so that my pelvic floor can get stronger and not weaker then it already is.

    1. Author Malinda Wright says:

      Hi Maria,

      You are right that the DR is related to the POP. You’ll want to strengthen your core and your pelvic floor in order to prevent the POP from worsening. Strengthening your transversus abdominus will help keep your core strong and it may help close your DR. I recommend seeing a pelvic floor PT for appropriate transversus abdominis and pelvic floor exercises.

      Kindly,

      -Malinda

  43. Do you recommend using a TENS or EMS unit to help with DR? And if so, what pad placement is best? I am 4 1/2 years postpartem. I have done DR excersises on and off but I still have some separation.
    Thank You!

    1. Author Malinda Wright says:

      Hi Rachel,

      I do not have any literature to support the use of TENS or EMS for DR.

      Kindly,

      -Malinda

  44. Hi Malinda
    I have a DR of about 2-3 fingers. Would you recommend using a STIM or TENS unit to help in narrowing the gap in addition to the methods in your post? I can’t seem to find a good answer anywhere. Thank you!

  45. Hello,
    Love the article, it was very informative. I developed a large separation after DIEP Flap reconstruction after a bilateral mastectomy for breast cancer. A CT scan showed that I have no muscle on the right side of my abdomen. I also have a hernia bulge. I am 51 yrs old, 135 lbs and am in excellent health. I have been told that since I have no working muscle , all I can do is wear tight spanx style body shapers, and avoid strenuous activities. I would love to hack your imput on my situation.
    Thank you.
    Michelle

  46. When you have a DR, is it bad for the chiropractor to adjust you by twisting you from a side-lying position? (I’ve completed PT for my DR and am to continue with a HEP for a year.)

    1. Author Malinda Wright says:

      Hi Daphne,
      Thank you for your comment. Because I’m not familiar with your particular body, I recommend you ask your PT.
      Kindly,
      -Malinda

  47. Please find a physical therapist trained in diastasis recti in Shepherdsville Kentucky 40165

  48. Can you please send me a telephone number to a physical therapist specializing in diastisis recti please near Lakewood New Jersey
    Thank you

  49. Hi i am 30 yr old. I have 2 finger gap vertically above the belly button n 2 finger gap horizontally exactly on belly button. I already have a daughter of 4 yr old and am planning another baby. Can i correct DR after my 2nd baby. Or should i correct before my 2nd pregnancy. I am in Abudhabi. Pls can u tell me what exercise i can do.

  50. Hi, I’m 10 months postpartum. I have DR of 6 cm wide above belly button and 5 below. I have been doing exercises for over 2 weeks with a sheet. I think about only 1 cm went down. I’m kinda looking hope will it get fix it with therpay if it’s this wide. And also I live in Detroit No any physical therapist u know of.
    Thank you so much

  51. Hi. Can you recommend a therapist in San Diego? I have never had kids and am normal weight and seem to have developed Diastasis Recti from walking with an extremely heavy ill-fitting bookbag (45 lbs for dozens of miles…)

    I have no pain or bulge but the drooping appearance in my abdomen is causing a lot of distress. It has also affected my breasts but more mildly.

    My question is: If I can close the gap with physical therapy will the skin go back to normal? Or will I have to have surgery either way?

    Thank you.

    1. Author Malinda Wright says:

      Thank you for your comment. To find a therapist in your area please see this website: https://hermanwallace.com/practitioner-directory. It’s hard for me to give you an answer on the skin without assessing you. I recommend bringing up this question with the pelvic floor physical therapist you see.

      Kindly, Malinda

  52. Malinda: I’m an old guy who had a belly split from top to bottom and around the belly button. My gall bladder had burst and the docs saved my life… no complaint there. But I was given no recovery exercises and so I have over the last decade (almost) developed this gristly mass that protrudes whenever I sit up. I would like to think that some kind of recovery therapy and exercise program might have helped, but here I am with a protruding belly (all muscular, no fat… can’t pinch an inch.).
    I will not get an operation at this late date… so… is there any exercise regimen that I can follow to “pull in my gut?”

    Thank you,
    Djimm

    1. Author Malinda Wright says:

      Thank you for your comment. It sounds like there are multiple components going on; scar tissue from the surgery, diastasis recti, and core weakness. I highly recommend you see a pelvic floor physical therapist in your area. To find a therapist in your area, please visit this website: https://hermanwallace.com/practitioner-directory.

      Kindly, Malinda

      1. Mellissa, Thank you. You are correct about all three components. When I return home in July, I will seek out a therapist, and I appreciate the directory link. And thank you for the insightful guidance.
        Djimm

  53. Thank you for this info. I suspect that I have diastasis recti, but high up, as I carried both of my babies high (3 and 5 years ago). I ended up with two c-sections, and my OB sewed my muscles back below my belly button, but not above. Would the correction for a high diastasis recti be the same as for a typical one?

    1. Author Malinda Wright says:

      Hi Kirsten,
      Thank you for your comment. Yes, the correction would be the same.
      Kindly,
      -Malinda

  54. Hello. I have just had my third child, first c section and I realized this pregnancy that i have a diastisis. I have begun using a binder and exercise program to correct it. I have been an active cross fitter for the past four years so I am very familiar with proper body position, the transverse muscle, movement and have relatively strong abdominal muscles. Apparently I developed the diastisi with my second pregnancy but didnt know what it was. My doctor evaluated my gap and its not quite three fingers (about 2 inches) wide. My Question is that if I do manage to close the gap with exercise will I ever be able to do pushups, planks or sit ups again without jepordizing my progress and reopening the gap? A strong core is key to most of the moves and exercises I do but I’m having a hard time excepting that I may not ever be able to continuing doing what I love (crossfit) ever again.

    1. Author Malinda Wright says:

      Hi Katie,

      Thank you for your comment. Yes, if you keep yourself strong and use excellent form, then you should be able to do advanced exercises.
      Kindly,
      -Malinda

  55. Thanks for your great article. I’ve had weird abdominal twisting sensations for years. My youngest child is now 7. I’ve had a lot of anxiety as a result of misdiagnosis. I fainted during a panic attack 18 months ago, landed flat on my stomach and have had intermittent gastric bug symptoms ever since. I can’t do any lifting or exertion of any kind without suffering from gastric bug symptoms for up to 10 days after. I keep mentioning it feeling muscular to my docs but DR has never been mentioned – I’ve seen about 20 doctors! Following a scan, a polyp or stone was found in my gall bladder so I had gall bladder removal surgery last week. Recovering now but i imagine the incision had done me no favours. Obviously I’m not supposed to switch on my abdominals to test for DR right now but I will in a week or so. And anyway, everything fits with my symptoms. I feel like my insides are falling out when i lean forward, I get a weird muscle spasm at top of my abdomen sometimes, I have raised area down my abdomen when i sit up. The last 18 months have been horrible. I’ve been so worried and felt so unwell it’s absolutely ruled many life. Walking is difficult currently due to surgery, I feel like my insides are just being gangled around and are not supported. Not many people complain about this type of discomfort, have you heard of these types of internal symptoms? Oh also I had very bad sciatica 8 months ago (sequestered disc), with a weak foot lasting months (now better) but I have continued numbness in my foot and toe despite MRI showing nothing now compressing the nerve (but numbness worsens when sitting). Now as I recover from my surgery I have a lot of upper back pain. So I’d be really grateful of your thoughts on my symptoms. I do at last feel that I’m getting towards a diagnosis, it’s a bit of a eureka feeling! Thx for any advice / thoughts.
    Best wishes
    Helen

    1. Author Malinda Wright says:

      Hi Helen,
      Thank you for your comment. I hope the recovery from surgery is going well. A diastasis recti is very common after surgery. I recommend you see a pelvic floor physical therapist in your area. If you need help finding one, I recommend this website https://hermanwallace.com/practitioner-directory.
      Kindly,
      Malinda

  56. Hello, my 12 year old son has a diastasis recti of about 4-5 inches and runs the full length of his stomach, he also had special needs. We adopted him when he was 5 and this particular condition was present then, but has since got worse. He has done PT for years for low muscle tone and to try and gain core strength, to no avail. His PT says his posture is declining now. He also has mild scoliosis.
    We sought out help surgically, but our local doctors as well as a pediatric surgeon in Minnesota are not familiar with this condition in kids. We are scheduled for surgery this coming Tuesday to repair this with a plastic surgeon recommended to us from our pediatric surgeon.
    My concern is treatment following the surgery and finding someone that has worked with other cases like ours. Do you know of any doctors or PT’s that have experience in this area with children?

  57. Hi,

    In the article it says you use a sheet to tie around the belly while doing sit ups. Can a waist trainer/corset be used as well? It holds the stomach in place.

    Also generally how long does it take for the gap to close once this practice is started?

    1. Author Malinda Wright says:

      Hi Santrella,

      Thank you for your comment. I don’t recommend a waist trainer or corset. With regards to closing the gap, new research has been published explaining closing the gap isn’t as important as we once thought. Jandra wrote a wonderful blog explaining this and you might find it helpful. https://pelvicpainrehab.com/female-pelvic-pain/4259/diastasis-recti-closing-gap-between-research-function/ I highly recommend seeing a physical therapist to help with core strengthening.
      I wish you all the best!
      Kindly, -Malinda

  58. Hi..I had my son just over 19yrs ago….since then have always had a distorted stomach just above the belly button. Without realising what this was (I assumed it was just fat) I have spent hour after hour doing sit ups, crunches and more recently planks….nothing has ever helped to reduce it. I now realise that these are all possibly the worst things to do. I have lost weight….gained weight and this lump remains no matter what I do. It has now got to the point that I can’t wear certain clothes because of it….also since the birth of my son I have suffered with dreadful sciatica often resulting in me having to take time off work…….is 19yrs to long for me to now try and rectify this? Thank you. Kim.xx

    1. Author Malinda Wright says:

      Hi Kim,
      No! 19 years later is not too long. You can make changes. I highly recommend seeing a pelvic floor physical therapist. Addressing the diastasis recti should help with your sciatica symptoms as well. I wish you all the best.
      Kindly, -Malinda

  59. Hi Malinda,

    Thank you for taking the time to write such a detailed article. My “baby” is 10 years old and I am on my second umbilical hernia. I am waiting to hear from a surgeon but in the meantime I have started seeing a PT. On ultrasound my DR is 4.6cm wide. So 6 weeks ago she started me on a plan to try to close it. 4 days ago I had a follow up with her and was excited as above my umbilicus has started to close (I have been VERY diligent with my exercises) BUT below is the same and then as she was assessing her face went form smiling to serious. When I am relaxed the gap is wider! So it seems I am opposite as I can bring things together but on relaxing it all falls apart. I can’t hold my abs all day long 🙁 I have always been very active and doing HIIT routines therefore engaging the wrong muscles. Have loved planks, leg lifts etc and in the last couple of years my abs have felt “wrong” as it seems I did more damage than good. And they say exercise is good for you? :p Anyways, she feels I won’t be able to bring them back together and my general physician is dead set against me having them repaired when my hernia gets repaired… any advice? I am so frustrated at how hard I have been working only be making it worse!

    1. Hi Roxanne,

      Thank you for your comment. I recommend speaking with your PT about your exercise routine. Are you doing an exercise that could be making it worse, such as planks, double leg lifts, or Pilates curl-up? With regards to surgery, I recommend seeking a second opinion with a plastic surgeon.
      I wish you all the best!
      Kindly, -Malinda

  60. Hi,

    I started working out in March at 9 weeks postpartum (3rd child & 1st C-Sect) to try to get back in shape and loose the baby weight and pregos stomach, which I never had with my first two. After months of hardcore boot camp workouts and eating mostly well and loosing weight, but not the belly, I searched and searched until I figured out that I had diastatsis recti- after everyone else chalked my stomach up to my 3rd pregnancy, my age, the c-section, etc. Once I figured it out and read about it, I discontinued the regular core exercises, which I had been doing ever since I started working out not knowing that I was causing more damage, and started doing exercises specific to diastasis recti repair. Since (June 2017), I went from an almost 3 finger gap to a little over 1…I finally started to see my abs again. My question is when can I start doing regular ab exercises again and how will I know when I am completely healed?

    1. Author Malinda Wright says:

      Hi Kay,
      Thank you for your comment. Well done on all your hard work. With regards to your question, you can return to regular abdominal exercises when you’re able to engage the transversus abdominis muscle, maintain tension in the linea alba, and do the advanced exercise without an abdominal bulge. Are you able to do a curl-up without the abdomen bulging or doming, especially at the bellybutton? I recommend seeing a physical therapist for a few visits to make sure your are doing everything correctly. I wish you all the best.
      Kindly, -Malinda

  61. It’s really great to know this information. It’s really authentic and usable thoughts. Thank you for sharing.

  62. Is it too late to correct diastasic recti 18-24 years after going birth to my children? I am a very fit 61-yr-old woman, but I have frustrations with urine leaking out during exercise, sneezing, coughing, laughing. I also occasionally have lower back pain which now I’m wondering if is related to this. Unfortunately, when I gave birth, no one was talking about this. I only heard about Kegels.

    Thanks!

    1. Author Malinda Wright says:

      Hi Linda,

      Yes, it is possible to treat a diastasis recti 18-24 years later. I highly recommend seeing a pelvic floor physical therapist. You are an excellent candidate for pelvic floor PT. I wish you the best of luck!

      Kindly,

      -Malinda

  63. I just had my daughter about 2 weeks ago and have an umbilical hernia besides surgery is there anything I can do to fix it

  64. I have a pretty severe DR that is approximately 5 fingers and possibly even 6 fingers wide in other areas. I’m hoping this can be repaired with exercise. I’m almost 5 months postpartum with my second child and looking to start an exercise program at home. Can u recommend any therapists in the Mercer/Lawrence county Pennsylvania area?

  65. Thank you for this information! Are you guys opening an office in Orange County (south) anytime soon by chance? 🙂

    1. Hi Krysten,

      Thanks for your comment, at this time we are not opening an office in Orange County, but do have one in Los Angeles.

      Regards,
      Admin

  66. Hello,

    I am not sure if this blog is still active. I have an almost 2″ gap and when I do the appropriate exercises, my ovaries get severely swollen. Has anyone else had this issue? I have already gotten an ultrasound and everything is clear. My issues are soley muscularskelital.

    Thank you.
    Jessie

    1. Author Malinda Wright says:

      Hi Jessie,
      Thank you for your comment. I suggest seeing a physical therapist who specializes in visceral manipulation. There may be a dysfunction with the endopelvic fascia and a PT who specializes in visceral manipulation will be able to detect this. I wish you the best of luck!
      Kindly,
      -Malinda

  67. I am 49 yrs old and developed DR about 4 yrs ago. I have had 3 pregnancies about 6 yrs apart in my early 30’s. First one was in “95 and the baby was 9 lbs 12 oz. and a c section. Second was in ’99 and 10 lbs 10 oz. Last was twins in ’00 and they were 7 lbs and 7 lbs 10 oz..Those 2 were natural. I did not have gestational diabetes. I worked at a job with heavy lifting but it was mostly from above my waist. I maintained the same weight for the whole time I worked there. I switched jobs, unfortunately gained weight, and did a lot of heavy lifting from the waist down. So my question is could I have had it the whole time and it just appeared after 16 years because of the changes? Also is it too late to treat it?

    1. Author Malinda Wright says:

      Hi Mindy,
      Thank you for your comment. Yes, it’s possible you had the DR for quite some time and the changes with weight gain, heavy lifting, etc added stress to your abdomen and exacerbated the DR. No, it is not too late to make changes. I recommend consulting with a pelvic floor PT.
      Kindly,
      -Malinda

  68. Will I want to know about every ill that is going on in this world that no where came from. Thank you for this wonderful thought that everyone should know how to avoid this kind of illness. Keep up the good work!

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