Diastasis Recti

What is diastasis recti?

Diastis Recti is when the rectus muscles of the abdomen separate as a result of damage to the connective tissue that, under normal conditions, holds them together.

Diastasis is more common than people realise and people are often concerned more with how they look rather than the functional aspect of the problem, which should be more of a concern. A straight separation can happen to anyone, regardless of age, sex, or whether you do sports regularly or not.

What are abdominal recti?

The rectus abdominis muscles are located in the front of the body, starting at the pubic bone and ending at the breastbone. They are found within the abdominal region, popularly known as a six pack. These muscles are linked together by a fibrous connective tissue, rich in collagen.

The main function of these muscles is to keep the body upright, allow flexion and tilt of the trunk, allow movement, and hold the organs in place by regulating internal abdominal pressure, as well as acting during breathing: limiting inspiration and favouring expiration.

Risk factors for diastasis recti

Pregnancy: During gestation, normally in the third trimester there is a physiological separation of the recti to allow the baby to continue growing in the belly of the future mother (factors of greater risk: multiple pregnancies, babies with a lot of weight or a pregnant women with poor muscle tone).

Normally this gap returns to its previous state after pregnancy, around the first 8 weeks postpartum. If not, working the abdominal girdle is required, to restore the proper functioning of the core, the  women’s health physiotherapist is the professional that can help you to recover. 


Not only pregnancy can cause the separation of the rectus abdominis. Complicated deliveries with many hours of labour, can also damage this tissue. Also, caesarean sections are no guarantee to avoid it; there are also patients with abdominal separation who have given birth by caesarean section.

Other factors are weight gain that causes abdominal distention, abdominal surgeries that weaken the abdominal muscles or excessive abdominal work, such as performing large sustained or continuous efforts, such as carrying heavy weights.

Diastasis Recti correction with Yolanda Royan Pardo

What are the symptoms?

One of the things that I keep repeating to my patients is that we cannot separate the body into different parts; we have to look at the body as a single piece. If we talk about the pelvic floor, it does not act in an isolated way in our body, but needs the help of the diaphragm (breathing muscle), the lumbar spine, muscles that surround the pelvis and hips and of course, the abdominal muscles. It is necessary that all these elements act in a harmonious way, since the failure in one of them will inevitably affect the rest.

Diastasis is not just an aesthetic problem described by a saggy-looking belly, but when you exert yourself there are sometimes bulges in abdomen area. 

Diastasis is also a functional problem, since there is an important relationship between diastasis and pelvic floor dysfunctions, such as: 

  • Urinary incontinence
  • Prolapse
  • Abdominal hernia
  • Digestive problems: poor digestion, gas, constipation.
  • Poor alignment in the body that can crate pain in neck, upper back, lower back, pelvis and poor posture.


  • Manual therapy
  • Soft tissue release
  • Scar massage
  • Pelvic floor rehabilitation
  • Postural awareness
  • Breathing exercises
  • Exercises to strengthen the core
  • Hypopressive gymnastics
  • Pelvicperineal Proprioceptive Re-education
  • Work with winner flow