Can I Have Diastasis Recti Problems Years after Giving Birth?

Spoiler alert: YES YOU CAN!

Diastasis Recti- Does Everyone Have It?

What is Diastasis Recti? Diastasis recti is the partial or complete separation of the rectus abdominis muscles (your big ab muscles), which meet at the midline of your stomach.

All pregnant people will have, to some degree, abdominal separation during pregnancy because the uterus stretches the muscles in the abdomen to accommodate a growing baby. This is NORMAL and necessary, and the majority will heal well postpartum (in time) but for some, specific rehabilitation is also required.

Every postpartum person should be assessed for diastasis recti, regardless of the method of delivery (vaginal or cesarean section). If it was never properly assessed and addressed, then diastasis problems could persist for years postpartum and potentially get worse if improper exercises, breathing and/or lifting techniques are practiced. There is a strong correlation between low back/pelvic pain and core/pelvic floor issues, so having your diastasis assessed and rehabilitated properly – anytime postpartum, even years after the fact – will likely help you with feeling your best for years to come.

Pelvic Floor Physiotherapy in Toronto

How Pelvic Floor Physiotherapy can help with Diastasis Recti

To prevent this, pelvic floor physiotherapists perform a comprehensive postpartum assessment, including assessing for diastasis recti, pelvic floor function and optimal use of your diaphragm (your breathing muscles), to ensure any altered function is addressed and to get you back to doing what you love to do.

There are several ways physiotherapy can help with diastasis recti. 

  • Education on what to watch for (coning/doming along your midline) and what to do about it
  • Education on proper breathing techniques to help engage your core properly during exercise and functional movement so as to support your diastasis, not strain it
  • Progressive core and glute strengthening paired with breathing techniques to optimize overall function of your core and pelvic floor to support healing your diastasis

Take home point: if you have diastasis recti, there is absolutely something you can do about it. It is not always a quick process, it may take time, but with a little effort, determination and help from an experienced pelvic floor physiotherapist- we’ll get you there! 

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Alison Ribeiro (she/her)Physiotherapist - Pelvic and Orthopaedic

Alison completed her Honour’s Bachelor of Kinesiology at McMaster University and her Master’s of Science in Physical Therapy at the University of Toronto. Alison is a firm believer in holistic care and the benefits of involving the health care team in each patient’s recovery. Alison has a passion for education and has completed courses in...

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