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Diastasis Recti

11 Sep Diastasis Recti

Senior Physiotherapist at Halo, Nicki Bradshaw recently attended a Pelvic Health course for Musculoskeletal Physiotherapists exploring the most recent research around Women’s Pelvic Health issues, including Pelvic Girdle Pain, Pelvic floor Dysfunction, Diastasis Recti and return to sport postnatally.

Here Nicki discusses Diastasis Recti

Diastasis Recti, otherwise known as “tummy gap”, “mummy tummy” or “Divarication Recti” affects 65% of women at 6 weeks post birth, with 45% still affected at 6 months, and 32% at one year postnatal. It is caused by a separation of the two muscle bellies of Rectus Abdominis during pregnancy, causing the Linea Alba (the thick connective tissue band that connects the two), to thin and widen. It is defined as a palpable gap greater than 2 fingerbreadths 4.5 cm above and / or below the umbilicus. In women without children, a tummy gap of 1 cm is normal.  The presence of a diastasis seems to be related to a support – related pelvic floor dysfunction, which can cause urinary or bowel continence issues and pelvic organ prolapse (Spitznagle et al, 2007).

It is especially important therefore to be professionally assessed; so that an appropriate rehabilitation programme can be taught. Experts believe that actually the size of the gap isn’t that clinically important, and that the ability to generate tension across the Linea Alba, is more relevant.

Questions that may be useful to ask yourself if you think you may need an assessment are:

  • Am I experiencing abdominal weakness?
  • Am I experiencing abdominal bulging or doming when I am exercising?
  • Am I getting abdominal pain?
  • Am I aware of a gap in my abdomen?
  • Have I had this with a previous pregnancy?
  • How many fingers can I put in the gap and how deep do they go?
  • Does it get worse on exercise?
  • Is it getting better or worse? Why?
  • What am I doing to help it? Is it working?


Specially trained Physiotherapists can fully assess the diastasis, your ability to activate the deep abdominal and pelvic floor muscles, muscle tone, skin and tissue quality, breathing control, posture; and advise on life style issues such as sleep, nutrition and return to sport.

For an appointment with Nicki, please contact Halo on 01926 257255 or email us at

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