Unlocking the Truth About Diastasis Recti: What You Can Actually Do!
Updated: Oct 26
Unlock Your Core Potential: Dispelling Myths and Fears Surrounding Diastasis Recti Abdominis (DRA) and Empowering You with a Guide to Exercise Safely
Say goodbye to fear and hello to empowerment as we dismantle the limiting beliefs surrounding Diastasis Recti Abdominis (DRA). Often tagged with unnerving labels like 'Mummy Tummy,' this common and natural condition is far from a life sentence. In this insightful article, we unpack the truth about DRA and offer a guide of actionable 'Do’s' for a stronger, more resilient core during exercise. Understand the science, know your body, and regain your strength without fear or shame. Your journey to a healthy, functional core starts here!
So, are you ready to shed the myths and embrace the facts? Let's dive into the actionable steps you can take to manage DRA effectively and regain your core strength.
Diastasis Recti | DRA | Mummy Tummy
Diastasis Recti or DRA or Mummy Tummy and various other labels, often comes with unnecessary fear-induced limiting beliefs. Contrary to popular belief, I think DRA is something that occurs naturally and is working for us, as opposed to against us. Thus not to be feared. DRA is a natural normal process for the later stages of pregnancy and has a purpose for the
early postpartum phase as well. The intentions of the following words are to bring clarity and guidance around the fear, shoulds and shouldn’ts of abdominal separation and appropriate rehab.
What is Diastasis Recti?
Rectus Abdominis Diastasis or Diastasis Recti is defined as a gap or stretching of about 2.7 cm or greater between the two sides of the rectus abdominis muscle (6 pack muscles). The main cause for this muscle separation is from excessive intra abdominal pressure. The linea alba is a strong fibrous midline band of connective tissue, running vertically the entire length of the
anterior abdominal wall situated between the two rectus abdominis muscles. The Linea alba also receives the attachments of the oblique and transverse abdominal muscles. Primarily we see this in the pregnant and postpartum mother due to the exponential growth of the uterus and intra-abdominal pressure placed on the linea alba and abdominal muscles. The misconception is that this is scary, or abnormal. Our bodies are smart, and always desire to work for us. This
band of tissue is designed to stretch as pregnancy progresses, the body allows space for the baby to grow in a healthy environment. This is a very common and normal part of pregnancy, I can not imagine what this would be like if the tissue was more rigid and less pliable. With the stretching of the abdominal walls, naturally width and depth occur at the linea alba. Another natural benefit of this lower abdominal laxity in the early postpartum phase is the allowance or
sharing of intra-abdominal pressure to expand forward rather than completely and heavily downward towards the now vulnerable pelvic floor. This in-turn results in a safer and more natural process of protective tissue healing.
"It is time to recover strength without fear or shame and you are not meant to go at this alone." – Dr. Crystal Worth
With all tissue changes, it is important to stay in-tune and connected to our bodies as they recover from such an event as birth. There are ranges in severity of DRA. Sometimes DRA resolves on its own, other times it requires more attention and intention for full recovery, in some rare cases surgery. Ongoing weakness and laxity of this core system can lead to chronic back
pain, hip pain, poor posture habits, and pelvic floor dysfunction to name a few.
How to progress
In order to know where and how to progress, it is imperative to get a clear understanding of where you are at. Therefore, a correct and thorough assessment (or having this assessed by a professional) of your DRA and linea alba tension is key.
After an initial assessment, the first step is a mind-body connection, learning how to properly engage the correct set of muscles that will build an internal system of strength and tension along the linea alba. Your DRA recovery and rehab journey will be based on you and what your body is telling you right now. Your healing is uniquely yours, as every human body has different
history, tissue laxity, shape, posture, design, symptoms and strengths. Along with 2 of my favorite gurus in this profession, Antony Lo and Muniri Hudani, I am thrilled with the shift we are making in education and empowerment for women to reclaim trust and confidence in their bodies. It is time to recover strength without fear or shame and you are not meant to go at this alone. Instead of a long list of “don'ts” below is a list provided by Dr. Hudani of DRA “Do’s” to follow as you begin to progressively load your very capable core.
1. CAN YOU DO THIS EXERCISE WITHOUT PAIN ANYWHERE?
2. CAN YOU DO THE EXERCISE WITHOUT LEAKING?
3. CAN YOU DO THE EXERCISE WITHOUT FEELING EXTRA PRESSURE IN THE VAGINA/PELVIS
4. DO YOU FEEL LIKE YOU HAVE CONTROL OVER YOUR BODY AND CORE WHEN YOU DO THE EXERCISE?
5. CAN YOU MAINTAIN TENSION IN THE LINEA ALBA THROUGHOUT THE EXERCISE?
6. CAN YOU DO THIS EXERCISE WITHOUT EXCESSIVE DOMING AND ABDOMINAL BULGING?
7. CAN YOU DO THE EXERCISE WITH THE APPROPRIATE CORE STRATEGY?
8. CAN YOU MAINTAIN FORM AND TECHNIQUE FOR THE DURATION OF THE EXERCISE?
9. DO YOU DESCRIBE THIS EXERCISE AS EASY?