What is Diastasis Recti?

  • Is an increased distance between the rectus abdominis muscles at the midline caused by weakness in the anterior abdominal wall
  • Is also called divarication 


Happens in:

  • After delivery, the condition persists in up to 60% of women.(esp multiparous)
  • Newborn( especially if they’re premature. That’s because their abdominal muscles aren’t fully developed and connected. The condition usually corrects itself with time)
  • middle-aged and older men with central obesity

Different Variations of Diastasis Recti:

  1. Normal/ No Diastasis
  2. Open Diastasis
  3. Open Below Navel
  4. Open Above Navel

Self check

  1. After you have had your baby, you can check the size of the separation with this simple technique:
    • Lie on your back with your legs bent and your feet flat on the floor.
    • Raise your shoulders off the floor slightly and look down at your tummy.
    • Using the tips of your fingers, feel between the edges of the muscles, above and below your belly button. See how many fingers you can fit into the gap between your muscles.
    • Do this regularly to check that the gap is gradually getting smaller.
    • If the gap is still obvious 8 weeks after the birth.

Test results:

  • check the width of your gap( number of fingers)—
  • feel pressure of the abdominal muscles against your fingers. That pressure is a good sign.


Width of RD acc to Ranney:

  • mild diastasis : separation of <3 cm
  • moderate diastasis: 3–5 cm separation
  • severe diastasis : > 5 cm

Conservative OR Surgery?

  • Normally Diastasis recti can be helped by breathwork, specific exercises, and physical therapy
  • Surgery will be considered 6 to 12 months postpartum if diastasis recti hasn’t resolved on its own
  • beginning exercises prenatally may help to maintain the tone and control over abdominal musculature to decrease some stress of the linea alba

Physical therapy

  • Do pelvic floor physical therapy
  • Exhale with exertion
  • Modify daily activities
  • Change up your exercise routine
  • deep core stability exercise
  • Wear a support or binder

Pelvic Floor Muscles Exercises

Position in either lying down, sitting or standing. anywhere and at any time:

  • Squeeze and draw in your bottom as if you’re holding in wind.
  • Squeeze around your vagina and bladder (urethra) as if you’re stopping the flow of urine or squeezing during intercourse.
  • Long squeezes – hold 10 seconds, then relax.
  • Short squeezes – quickly squeeze the muscles and then let them go immediately. Do this until your muscles get tired.

*Aim to build up to 10 repeats of each exercise, at least 3 times a day.



  • It is important to keep breathing normally while you do these exercises. Make sure you do not pull in your stomach when you squeeze.

  • Sitting on the toilet can be a good reminder to do your exercises. Just make sure you do them after you’ve finished.

Prepared by:

Tan Xiao Jiun

Your Physio Penang 

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