My name is Roben and I have diastasis recti. Yep, during my last pregnancy, my body changed in more than one way.
Diastasis recti is defined as having about a 2.7 cm gap between the abdominal muscles. So, with this condition, your belly will stick out because the space between your abdominal walls that normally holds your belly together has widened, letting organs like your bowls, uterus, and other internal organs hang little more forward.
This isn’t the case for all women but the more children you have, the greater the chance diastasis recti can affect you.
The wider the gap the more severe the condition.
I had never heard of this condition until my six-week checkup – last April – with my midwife after the birth of my second son. Now I knew I had a little more ways to go with my belly getting back to pre-baby but what I didn’t know was that my abdominal muscles had separated. I’m talking split up abs, y’all. I am able to fit a couple of fingers, horizontally, in the center of my abs around the navel area and it’s definitely a gap there.
Welp, that explains why it seems as if all it takes is eating a crumb after I wake up in the morning for me to look like I’m with child, again.
I digress. Diastasis recti is quite a common condition in women. Some reasons abdominal muscles split during pregnancy are being over 35, improper weightlifting and exercise, genetics, tight abdominal muscles, and diet.
So how can you tell if you have this common condition? Perform a quick self-test at home:
- Lie down with your back flat, knees bent, and feet flat on the floor.
- Tilt your head forward, lifting it up off of the ground like you’re going to do an ab crunch.
- Take two fingers and press horizontally into the center of your stomach, at your navel. You will feel your abdominal walls on the sides of your fingers if you have diastasis recti.
- If you want to see just how wide your gap is, try 1, 2, or 3 fingers. The more fingers the wider the gap.
Talk to your doctor if you have not been diagnosed and believe you have a gap in your abdominal muscles.
Don’t fret, this condition presents differently for each woman. Corrective surgery may be necessary or some ab exercises can help bring those abs closer together. Either way, seek your doctor’s opinion and go from there!
I have been doing some exercises at home to help tighten my ab walls. When I was first informed that I have D.R., I started doing those exercises like crazy. I could fit 3 fingers in the space between my abs. Now, I can fit 2. While I know I can get them closer, I’ve just been hard-headed and not being consistent with the exercises specifically for my ab walls. Imma do better.
There are plenty of videos and info out there to help you with exercises. Here’s one I have used https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FV3CQrf8bAw
Do you have diastasis recti or any post-pregnancy changes? Let me know in the comments below!