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Support for Your Diastasis Recti at Gaia

What is Diastasis Recti?

Diastasis Recti Abdominis (DRA) is gaining a lot of media attention these days. It is characterized by a larger than normal separation between the vertical abdominal muscles (rectus abdominis, or “six pack”). It occurs during pregnancy to allow the abdomen to accommodate the growing fetus and change in organ position. It is a normal and expected change our body experiences with a full term pregnancy.

Diastasis Recti and Pregnancy

During pregnancy our goal is not to “prevent” it, but to ensure we are efficiently utilizing our core system (which includes abdominals, respiratory muscles, pelvic floor, and glutes). When we are not using our core well, you may see coning or doming, or your belly button popping out early on in pregnancy. Coning and doming looks as if there is pressure pushing out along the midline of your tummy, but there is usually no pain associated with it.  As the abdomen grows, difficulty using the muscle becomes more obvious during pregnancy and, if we do not learn to engage our abdominal muscles well, it can make it more difficult to connect postpartum. Although many traditional core exercises are not advised, there are many other ways to train the abs and core system during pregnancy safely. This is where therapy can help significantly.

Check out our services page to see how we can help during pregnancy and after.

Diastasis Recti in the Postpartum Period

Real Diastasis Recti concerns:

There seems to be greater concern over the condition after pregnancy due to changes in abdominal shape, tension, and function. For many, the condition is accompanied by pain in the back or hips, bloating and changes in digestion, and other postpartum body changes.  However, a direct correlation has not been reported in the most recent research. DRA tends to create fear of return to movement/exercise which can contribute to the previously described symptoms like pain, stiffness, digestion, etc.

Real Diastasis Recti Facts

Basically, DRA is a thinning of the linea alba (the white connective tissue that lays between the right and left of the six pack muscles).  It is NOT a hernia, a hole/gap, a medical emergency, or a sign you need surgery right away.  Most diastases are mild to moderate and either reduce to normal size by 8-12 weeks postpartum or do VERY well with non-invasive therapies like those provided at Gaia Women’s PT.  Those that are large, should still consider therapy or exercise training for upwards of 1 year. If surgery is wanted due to limitations in function or seeking esthetic improvements (both valid reasons to seek surgical correction!), therapy should also follow the procedure for scar management, postural education, strengthening, coordination of abdominal muscles and breathing to ensure the tissue heals well and is loaded progressively to avoid injury or persistent pain.


In most cases, DRA is a sign of abdominal weakness, poor pressure management, and altered muscle coordination, and impaired breathing patterns. In treatment, we address movement and breathing strategies, how to properly distribute intra-abdominal pressure, areas of body stiffness or weakness and postural modifications. 

Diastasis Recti and Pelvic Physical Therapy 

Diastasis Recti and Pelvic Physical Therapy 

It is important to know that DRA can be treated with therapy but it is typically very individualized, which is why many times online programs aren’t the best first line of defense.  After skilled therapy, a reputable online program can be incredibly helpful for progressions in strength.

Why Choose Gaia Women’s PT for Your Diastasis Recti Symptoms

We are passionate about this issue because it is part of Maggie’s “WHY’ to start Gaia in the first place. We aim to get you moving on day one, busting internet-myths, and challenging your core and the way you think you need to move if you have a diastasis. 

At Gaia Women’s Physical Therapy and Wellness we do all this with a steady introduction and progression of core and total body exercise based on your movement desires.  

If you’ve been wondering if you have a diastasis or are frustrated by not seeing improvements trying to do it alone, contact us today!

pelvic floor physical therapy for diastasis recti in Martinsburg, WV
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