How do you know if you have a diastasis?
If you have a protruding (pregnant looking) belly OR your belly button is an outie OR you have a half football (alien like) bulge when you lift your shoulders off the ground, you most definitely have a diastasis! An umbilical hernia is a side effect of a diastasis recti or abdominal separation.
The meaning of the word diastasis is separation. The outermost abdominal muscles are the recti muscles. So, diastasis recti is having a gap or a separation of the outermost abdominal muscles or belly muscles . Hence, it is also called abdominal separation . When the muscles separate the connective tissue (linea alba) joining these muscle stretches sideways. The job of these muscles (called rectus abdominis), is to support your back and your organs. This is a cause for concern because separated muscles are weak muscles. Separated muscles cannot perform their function of supporting your back and organs. To achieve a strong core, your muscles must be close together. The sideways stretching of the connective tissue causes it to become thinner and weaker. So, what happens is this weak saran wrap-like connective tissue is NOT effectively supporting your belly button, back and organs. They are only supported when the muscles are close together.
Back pain, poor posture, pelvic floor problems, pelvic pain, gastro- intestinal disturbances like constipation and bloating are all diastasis recti symptoms that occur when the support system for the back and organs is the weak connective tissue instead of the muscles.
Most postpartum women or women who have had a baby have a diastasis recti, and this usually gets worse with each pregnancy.
Abdominal trauma with a diastasis can cause the connective tissue to tear away from the abdominal wall causing a ventral hernia. This requires diastasis recti surgery to repair.
If you are still unsure if you have one, please download our check your belly card.