Diastasis Recti – The Mummy Tummy Effect

The separation of the abdominal muscles from the midline of the stomach, either partially or completely, is referred to as Diastasis Recti, occasionally known as Mummy Tummy.

Studies have shown that up to approximately 60% of pregnant women may experience Diastasis Recti, This occurs due to the expanding of the uterus to make space for a growing child, stretches the abdomen muscles. It is a fairly common occurrence, seeing as about two-thirds of pregnant women experience it. A combination of the increasing size of the uterus, releasing of hormones like Relaxin, and pushing during childbirth can further increase the pressure and stretching of the abdomen muscles.

The pressure that pregnancy can put on the abdomen is sometimes too intense for the muscles in front, causing them to lose form and shape. “Diastasis” refers to the separations, whereas “Recti” refers to the muscle group called the “Rectus Abdominis”.

Although pregnancy is a common cause of Diastasis Recti, it is also possible that both men, and children can experience this, possibly due to over-straining of the abdomen muscles. Occasionally newborn children can experience Diastasis Recti as well, though it is common for it to go away on its own.

What can I do to treat Diastasis Recti?

Some individuals choose to simply live with the separation, if it’s simply minor. However, there is much that can be done to assist with healing Diastasis Recti, especially with the help of a trained physiotherapist. These muscle separations should be taken care of before the consideration of another pregnancy.

Many women can close their belly gap by learning gentle movements to use while the abs are supported, and they may need to wear a support binder during daily activities. Gentle exercises may be suggested, but make sure to research which exercises should be avoided for individuals who have Diastasis Recti. 

Some tips we recommend for those afflicted with Diastasis Recti;

  • It is important to avoid doing any heavy lifting, or straining of your abdominal muscles, to avoid further damaging your muscles.
  • Remember to practice good posture.
  • Avoiding exercises such as yoga postures that stretch the abs, such as “cow pose,” “up-dog,” all backbends, and “belly breathing.”
  • Supporting your lower back while you are seated, this can be done by simply placing a towel or pillow behind you.
  • Bend your knees, roll, and support yourself with your arm when getting in or out of bed, or standing up off the floor.

Our physiotherapists at Alleviate Physiotherapy are experts in the field of Kegel exercises and strengthening of core muscles that are the foundation of healing Diastasis Recti. If you require any treatment for Diastasis Recti, please contact Alleviate Physiotherapy so that we can begin your journey towards getting rid of Mummy Tummy!

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