It’s not about the Gap!
When is comes to diastasis rectus (tummy muscle separation) I always get asked the same question. Will it ever close? Many ladies are surprised to find out it’s not about the gap!
So, what is a diastasis rectus?
Down the centre of the stomach we have a line of connective tissue called the line alba. When we move this tissue allows us to transfer load through the stomach wall. As our hormones change through pregnancy the connective tissue loses tension to allow for our bellies to grow. So, by the end of the 3rd trimester we will all have some degree of diastasis rectus.
After delivery the tension does not always return to the linea alba, and we can be left with diastasis rectus. How do you know if you have one? You may see your stomach doming when moving positions. You can also check by placing your fingers just above your belly button and pushing gently into your tummy. Then lift your chest as if doing a sit up. If you have a diastasis rectus your fingers will sink deeper and you will feel a gap.
So why is it not about the gap! Because it’s about the tension the connective tissue.
You can have a 2 fingers gap, which would not be a problem as long as you can create tension to transfer load. However, if you have a 2-finger gap and you cannot create tension you will be unable to transfer load. In this scenario you may start to get doming on activities, low back pain, or signs of stress incontinence. 66% of women with a diastasis rectus will have pelvic floor dysfunction.
If you think you have a diastasis rectus its recommended you see a Women’s Health Physiotherapist such as myself. We can fully assess your diastasis and provide you will the most appropriate exercises and advice.
Remember everyone is unique and will require something different.