What is Diastasis Recti?
Diastasis Recti, abbreviated DR or DRA and also called Abdominal Separation, is a stretching of the fascia running along the midline of the belly (the linea alba). It can happen to anyone, the most common triggers of DR include pregnancy, overweight, excessive exercise and bad form during exercise.
Do all women experience DR after pregnancy?
All women experience some stretching along in their linea alba at the end of their pregnancy. For most women the linea alba find its integrity again once the baby is born and the belly has come back to its pre- pregnancy size. However, for a big subset of women, this is not the case. The linea alba remains stretched. Which means that the abdominals to the side of the midline are now separated from each other by a gap that’s larger than it used to be before pregnancy.
Do I have DR! How do I know?
If you have just had a baby, chances are you have a bit of stretching of your linea alba – this is normal, and it will disappear with time. If you follow my advice on how to start exercising again after birth, you should be good and your DR should heal by itself within 6-8 weeks postpartum.
If you are past the 6-8 week mark however, and have the impression that your belly doesn’t feel quite right, you might want to get checked for DR. It might be that you can’t seem to connect with your abdominal muscles at all, despite efforts to restore breathing and abdominal connection like I taught you? Or that you feel a tenderness or pain along the linea alba? – as was the case for me after my second daughter was born, and that’s how I knew there was something wrong. Whatever the telltale signs that something isn’t quite right – getting checked or testing yourself for DR is very easy, and it is my opinion that all women should get checked regularly between 6 weeks and 12 months postpartum.
I have DR! What do I do?
If you are diagnosed with DR, no need to panic. I know you might feel totally lost and overwhelmed at the thought of having to deal with this on top of caring for a new baby. But there is help at hand.
Because DR is a multi-factorial condition, exacerbated by a myriad different things like postural and movement habits, stress, diet and lack of sleep, healing it will require the one-to-one attention of a trained professional.
But before you find one that you trust, or are able to attend sessions, there are little things you can do to improve your DR in your every day life:
You could watch your posture – do you sit up straight? Try not to slouch and push your belly out.
Do you thrust your ribs forward when you are standing? You could try to realign your ribcage over your pelvis, engaging your belly.
Do you breathe into your belly? You could focus on your breath for a few minutes every day, focusing on widening the ribcage in all directions and breathing into your ribcage rather than into your belly.
What does my DR Programme look like?
In private sessions with me, you will learn how to address your DR from lots of different angles, and you will learn the skills needed to heal your DR by yourself.
You will learn how to release your fascia – and as you now know, DR is a condition of the fascia; you will learn to breathe and use your ribcage to breathe; you will strengthen your body to find a healthy posture; you will strengthen your belly muscles but also you back muscles, leg muscles – as DR is a whole-body issue and to heal it you have to become strong all over.
Get in touch for an assessment – in August and September, DR assessments are FREE!!