Health & Wellness

What Can You Do if Your Ab Muscles Have Separated?

Woman wearing a black and white horizontal stripe shirt putting her hand on her stomach to check for diastasis recti.

Have you noticed that your core strength isn’t what it used to be? Despite targeted exercises, many people, especially after childbirth, notice that their abdominal muscles just don’t function like they used to.

While age and other factors may weaken the muscles, a sudden and drastic change may indicate something more serious: diastasis recti, a condition that can be corrected with diastasis recti treatments such as abdominoplasty.

What Is Diastasis Recti?

Your core muscles are critical to how your body functions, from your posture to your breathing. These muscles include:

  • The diaphragm
  • The abdominal muscles
  • The back muscles
  • The pelvic floor

Any damage or change to these muscles can have a significant impact on your overall health. Internal abdominal pressure, which is typically a result of pregnancy, can cause the rectus abdominis muscles to spread apart.

Additionally, pregnancy hormones cause connective tissues to loosen, making this separation more pronounced. This condition is called diastasis recti, which does not always resolve on its own or with exercise.

How to Tell if You Have Diastasis Recti

An at-home check can help you determine if you have diastasis recti. However, this should not replace the input of a trained and certified medical professional.

If you are or have been pregnant, have yo-yo dieted or often perform abdominal exercises with questionable technique, you are at risk of having diastasis recti. If you fall into any of these categories and are wondering, “Do I have diastasis recti?” you should take steps to find out. While talking to a doctor about this is best, you can also check at home.

The Diastasis Recti Self-Test Steps

  1. Lay down on your back on a hard surface. Bend your knees and place your feet flat on the floor.
  2. Place one hand behind your head for support. Take a deep breath. Then, exhale as your lift your head and shoulders off the floor.
  3. During this lift, contract the rectus abdomens — think of it as moving your rib cage closer to your hips, not just lifting your head.
  4. While holding the contraction, place your fingers horizontally across the navel. Feel above, over, and below your belly button. Using your fingers, measure the gap you find between your muscles.
  5. If you find that the gap is more than 2 cm, or about 2.5 fingers, in width, you most likely have diastasis recti.

Diastasis Recti Treatments

If you check at home and realize you have diastasis recti, do not panic — there are treatment options that can help you.

Depending on your situation, your doctor may suggest that you wait. This is especially true if you are currently pregnant or post-partum, as there is a chance the condition will correct on its own.

If it is clear the condition is not temporary, you may need treatment. The first step to correcting diastasis recti is to perform targeted exercises meant to help bring the muscles back together. If this fails to resolve the problem, your doctor will likely suggest surgery, typically diastasis recti surgery. Many women choose to have a tummy tuck to treat their separated muscles, as this procedure can address other related issues.

In addition to repairing the muscles, you also get the opportunity to remove excess skin and fat, contouring the body and addressing other aesthetic concerns you may have. After a healing period of about 6 weeks, you should find yourself looking and feeling much better.


What Can You Do if Your Ab Muscles Have Separated?
Article Name
What Can You Do if Your Ab Muscles Have Separated?
Do you have diastasis recti? Dr. Francesco Campanile of Campanile Tummy Tuck in Denver explains which treatments could help your ab muscles.
Publisher Name
Previous Post
October 5, 2020
Next Post
October 5, 2020