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What is Diastasis Recti?

By lindsay

This was a topic that came up at our pre-natal workshop with Active Mom’s Club on July 10, 2010. In response, Cassandra Hawkinson from AMC passed along this great article to share with Bump Club Chicago. Thank you Cassandra!


By Jasmine Jafferali, National Pregnancy Health Examiner



If you are like most expecting moms, you are reading up on everything about taking care of your baby during pregnancy, your body and your soon-to-be newborn. As the bump continues to grow, the abdominal wall is stretched to a new capacity. The abdomen consists of four sets of muscles, and it takes all four sets to help push the baby. However, two out of three moms will experience a condition called diastasis recti, an abdominal separation of the rectus abdominis.

The rectus abdominis is known as the “six-pack” ab muscle. It is bounded by connective tissue called the linea alba and is separated into right and left halves. The function of the rectus abdominis is an important postural muscle as it supports the spine, the digestive and pelvic organs and plays a supporting role in breathing. As you can tell, this is an important muscle to keep strong. When weakened, the muscle affects how comfortably daily activities are performed.

Separation of the two halves occurs for a number of reasons:

  • A pregnancy hormone called “relaxin” is released to relax the ligaments and tissue helping the body prepare for birth
  • The growth of the baby forces the uterus to compress against the rectus abdominis
  • Forced coughing or sneezing can cause the sudden separation. Some women who were sick with the flu or bronchitis can “cough themselves to separation”

What are the common causes of this “separation?”


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