What is Diastasis Recti and How to Treat It

Diastasis recti is a condition where the right and left sides of the abdomen spread apart at your midline.

Diastasis negatively affects the strength of the abdominal wall and can aggravate lower back pain.

How Do I

Recognize Diastasis Recti?

You will develop a deep gap or space below your navel and will notice a mound protruding at your midline. Your Belly might look like a 5 month pregnant belly.

While some mothers discover they have it during pregnancy, others don’t find out until after birth. It happens to mothers whether they deliver their babies naturally or with a cesarean section.

Risks of developing Diastasis are greater in women who:

  1. Have twins or more complications of abdominal separation in a prior pregnancy.
  2. Have a smaller build.
  3. Have an inclined back or weak abdomen.
  4. Genetics are also a factor in predisposing some women to this condition.

What Causes

Diastasis Recti?

These are some common causes for Diastasis Recti: 

  1. Abdominal separation occurs most often in response to the uterus pushing against the abdominal wall during pregnancy.
  2. It can also happen when there is an extreme over-abundance of sub-muscular (visceral) abdominal fat.
  3. In pregnancy, hormones are also partially to blame, as they can soften connective tissue, allowing the separation to occur more easily.

What Are The Treatment Options

For Diastasis Recti

There are simple ways to treat a diastasis-related muscular separation after giving birth to your baby.

Basic abdominal exercises prove to be very helpful along with the use of a Girdle or Waist Training Corset which reduces recovery time diminishes complications caused by muscle separation and adds the aesthetic benefit of helping you return to your pre-pregnancy figure.

Even without diastasis recti, post natal women need adequate core strength and stability for proper lifting and carrying. Bellefit has some of the best girdles for providing support needed to recover from diastasis recti.


Postpartum Girdle CorsetPostpartum Girdle Corset
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Dual closure girdle corsetPostpartum Dual-Closure Girdle®
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Postpartum Bodysuit CorsetPostpartum Bodysuit Corset
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Postpartum Cheeky panty style girdle Bellefit Cheekster Corset
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Recovering From

Diastasis Recti

There are many misconceptions regarding the issue of abdominal reconditioning. This is especially true when it comes to diastasis recti postpartum.

You’re likely to encounter a broad range of contradictory opinions and advice about how to recondition your abdominal wall and how to restore the mid-line after childbirth.

Some of these assertions can cause unnecessary alarm, while another common piece of advice-do a lot of “crunches”-can actually worsen your case of diastasis recti.

What Are The Complications

Of Diastasis Recti

Without treatment, muscular separation can cause some common health problems including:

  1. Chronic pain in the waistline,
  2. Back pain, and
  3. Alteration of your posture due to a lack of abdominal strength and support.

Diastasis Recti Test

Diagnose Diastasis

This simple self-test will help you determine if you have abdominal separation/diastasis recti and help gauge its severity.

  1. Lie on your back with your knees bent with the soles of your feet directly on the floor.
  2. Place one hand behind your head and the other hand on your abdomen. Your fingertips should be parallel with your waistline and at the level of your belly button.
  3. Make sure your abdominal muscles are relaxed and then gently press your fingertips into your abdomen.
    Roll up into a crunch position while making sure that your ribcage moves closer to your pelvis.
  4. Move your fingertips back and forth across your mid-line, feeling for the right and left sides of your rectus abdominis muscle.

How many fingers can you place in the gap? Placing one to two fingers in the gap is normal however if you can place more than two fingers in the gap, you have diastasis-recti.

Diastasis Recti

Movements to Avoid

Some Types of Movement to Avoid if you have Diastasis-Recti:

  • Crunches
  • Sit-ups
  • Back-bending
  • Oblique twists
  • Planks
  • Curl-ups
  • Lying backwards over an exercise ball
  • Exercising on your back and knees
  • Carrying or lifting heavy objects
  • Deep belly breathing

Any activity that stretches or overly expands the abdominal wall.

In general it is best to avoid anything that “jack-knifes” the body, by pivoting at the hip and placing strain on the abdominal area. Examples of these movements are straight leg lifts or holds while lying on your back and similar Pilates or Yoga.


Abdominal separation, known medically as diastasis recti, is the separation of the abdominal muscles or rectus abdominis. This is a very common result of pregnancy, since the uterus stretches the abs in order to accommodate a growing baby. For some people, the abdominal muscles remain separated postpartum, resulting in a bulge in the belly area. It can make postpartum mothers feel self-conscious. However, there are ways to help.


How Does It Happen?

The abdominal muscles are two long muscles that run from the chest to the pelvis. When a body is making a baby, the uterus needs the extra space, so it makes it in the stomach area, often causing those two long muscles to separate. It is often not noticed until after the birth.


What are the symptoms?

The main symptom of this condition after giving birth is a bulge in the belly area. It can be especially noticeable when the abdominal muscles are contracted. Additional symptoms include low back pain, constipation, and bloating.


A doctor or physical therapist can officially diagnose the condition. It is more common in people over 35 or who have twins or triplets.


Self-Test for abdominal separation

Medical advice should always be sought for an official diagnosis, but it’s possible to detect the condition at home using the following steps:


  • Lay on your back, knees bent, with your feet flat on the floor.
  • Curl the head off the floor, engaging the abdominal muscles
  • Start at the belly button and feel along the center of the stomach, particularly above and below the belly button.
  • If you can feel a gap, you could have abdominal separation.


Does abdominal separation go away by itself?

For some people, the condition resolves itself after the baby is born. For others, however, the bulge can remain and cause uncomfortable symptoms as well as self-consciousness. In fact, 1 in 3 people have said this issue continued for them for more than a year after giving birth.


Can a postpartum compression girdle help with abdominal separation?

 Yes! Doctors will often suggest postpartum compression girdles to assist with abdominal separation. The condition can lead to poor posture and pain because the core muscles are not able to provide support. With a postpartum compression girdle, the back and stomach muscles are given the extra boost they need to aid in healing.


Additional benefits of the postpartum compression girdle include:

  • Helping with better posture
  • Improving blood flow
  • Giving better mobility
  • Reducing fluid retention, bloating, and swelling
  • Stabilization of the pelvic floor


All of these things lead to better and quicker recovery of the abdominal muscles.

One very important thing postpartum compression girdles can do is help with confidence. In addition to pain and discomfort, many people will feel self conscious about the bulge in their belly, or bad about not being able to fit into their pre-maternity clothes. With a postpartum compression girdle, clothes will fit better and help new moms feel more confident when they go back to work or step out for an event or family gathering after giving birth.


Bellefit has the best postpartum girdles for abdominal separation

Sleek and comfortable Bellefit postpartum compression girdles are medical grade and ready to help users recover from abdominal separation. Benefits include:

  • A c-section recovery belt/band that speeds healing.
  • A feature that holds in the abdominal wall to support the lower back
  • A c-section recovery belt/band to improve posture, which can be very poor during the initial postpartum period.
  • Many beautiful styles to choose from!


Learn more about Bellefit’s postpartum compression girdles here.

What to Expect

Your Body After Childbirth

​Photos taken shortly after giving birth. Click on any image to view more.