- Diastasis (plural-Diastases): Separation of normally joined body parts
- Rectus Abdominis: The bi-lateral abdominal muscle popularly known as the 6-pack abs.
- DRA: An abnormal separation anywhere along the length of the normally joined Rectus Abdominis Muscles (aka 6-pack abs)
- Linea Alba: The tissue that connects the 6-pack abs in the center. It’s the same line that gets darker during pregnancy (called linea nigra).
What does DRA look like?
It could look like a variety of the above pictures. The appearance of DRA is clearly unique.
Important facts before we dive ahead:
(*some points are excerpts from Diane Lee’s research documented in her book Diastasis Rectus Abdominis)
- 100% of pregnant women show DRA by 35 weeks of gestation & separation persists in about 40% of the women at 6 months postpartum (after giving birth).
- It does not recover in some women & there isn’t any evidence to be certain of risk factors so that it could be prevented.
- Common across all pregnancy-related conditions is the loss of anatomical integrity of the abdominal wall. It is the failure to regain optimal strategies for load transference through the trunk.
- Repetitive sub-optimal strategies induce high intra-abdominal pressure.
- This could cause a hernia, back pain, prolapse, poor posture etc.
- DRA can exist in men and children as well.
- Certain exercises by themselves or certain others, when done inappropriately, could increase or worsen the situation.
- DRA could also cause a psycho-social impact on many women, negatively impacting their body-image.
How to check for DRA?
- Lie down on your back with your knees bent.
- Place 2 to 3 fingers right under the navel (belly button).
- Press your fingers into the abdomen as you lift your shoulders and head off into a curl-up (like an ab-crunch).
- Allow the fingers to sink and check for space in-between the two sides of your six-pack abs.
- If the gap is greater than 2 fingers or if the tissue underneath your skin doesn’t bounce back, then you have DRA.
- Ensure you check at multiple other points along the length of the linea alba (check the image above).
- Some people have abdominal fat making it difficult for self-assessment, so please get yourself assessed/checked by a professional.
Why is it caused and can it be prevented?
There is no research or evidence to understand what causes it so that it can be prevented.
What is the process of recovery?
In my opinion a surgical repair/ mesh should be the last option.
There are various methods to rehabilitate the DRA. The Center Method for Diastasis Recti Recovery created by Carolyne Anthony is a very scientific and a systematic protocol that has helped women around the world to recover from DRA.
While this protocol has worked on both new moms and mothers with older children, it is extremely important to understand that the recovery is very individual and there are a lot of factors that can affect it. Recovery takes time, sometimes over a year. Consistency is key.
The Center Method for Diastasis Recti Recovery – What can you expect?
- Assessment of DRA and the tissue quality – Suggestive plan for recovery
- A consent form or a doctor’s approval before you start the protocol.
- Pictures & Measurements
- Detailed Posture Analysis
- Create a Unique protocol in 3 stages –
- Release – Myofascial release techniques & Freeing the breath
- Realign – Re-establishing an optimal neuro-muscular pathway
- Restore – A progressive exercise program to restore function & strength.
- Suggestions for the healthy nutrition plan, hydration and supplementation
- Suggestions to work on improving coping mechanisms to bear with stressors
- Re-assessments to measure progress
Hasten your recovery process & heal faster with The Center Method.
Here are some results with clients:
Finding and working with a qualified professional is extremely critical here, so whichever part of the world you are at, you can use this link to speed up your search.
Here’s the list of The Center for Women’s Fitness’ expert faculty & certified teachers around the world: https://thecenterforwomensfitness.com/about/faculty/
Time for action is now. It is never too late to do something.Antoine de Saint-Exupéry