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Postpartum Diastasis Rectus Abdominis (DRA) Recovery

Helping women strengthen their core, pelvic floor, and more!

Diastasis rectis abdominis (DRA) occurs in 100% of pregnant women. 

Pregnancy-related diastasis rectus abdominis (DRA) describes a process where the connective tissue down the midline of the abdomen, called the linea alba, widens and thins to accommodate the growing baby. This natural physiologic process occurs in 100% of pregnant women. Beyond the linea alba, there is also stretching of the entire abdominal wall as the uterus expands. The role of the linea alba is to tension so it can transmit forces and load from your extremities through your trunk to efficiently move!  Having poor abdominal strength and a lengthened and thinned linea alba can contribute to back pain, constipation, incontinence, and more.

 

Below is a picture of a typical abdominal wall and a diastasis recti.  You will notice that in a diastasis recti, the linea alba is stretched out (gray/tan). As a result, you may notice bulging, doming, or coning present at your linea alba when you do a sit up.

DRA .png
Permission to reproduce copyrighted content from Munira Hudani PT, Inc.
How do I know if I have a DRA?

A pelvic floor physical therapist will perform a DRA assessment. A 2-finger diastasis is a "true" diastasis.  However, I strongly believe whether you have a 1 finger vs. 4 finger DRA, the goal of physical therapy is to strengthen your abdominal wall and to build resilience in your body.

Instead of focusing on the "gap" or "separation"; focus on strengthening your body, optimal nutrition, and self-care.
Can my DRA improve?

​Yes!  Connective tissue, fascia, and muscle can all be "molded" or "remodeled" with strength training and loading your tissues! A pelvic floor physical therapist will guide you through an exercise program to help address your DRA.

What does DRA treatment look like?

First off, it's more than just strengthening your core.  During the evaluation, I perform a thorough assessment of your posture, alignment, rib cage positioning, breathing mechanics, spinal and pelvic mobility, and core strength.  You will have home exercises to perform several days a week to help strengthen your core and pelvic muscles.  To schedule an appointment to start your DRA recovery, contact me below!

transverse abdominis.png
Permission to reproduce copyrighted content from Munira Hudani PT, Inc.
When should I start physical therapy for DRA?

I highly recommend that all pregnant women start physical therapy as early as 13 weeks.   This is the perfect time to learn how to connect to your deep abdominal and core muscles, especially since 100% of women postpartum have a diastasis recti.  If you did not have an opportunity to see a pelvic floor therapist during your pregnancy, don't worry!  Starting during your postpartum period is also fine too!  The earlier you start your therapy, to quicker and better outcomes you'll achieve.

Check out my video on DRA recovery!
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