This re-post is because I get asked this question on a weekly basis; “What is diastasis recti, and should I be concerned?” Let’s start with a little bit of the anatomy of diastasis recti:
The musculature in the center of your belly, running vertically, is called your rectus abdominis with connective tissue between the two sides called linea alba. As pregnancy progresses, there is likely to be a degree of separation between the two sides of the rectus abdominis with the largest degree of separation at, or around, the belly button. A degree of separation that is considered normal is between 0-3 finger widths (Use the “Curl Up Test”- see image and description below).
Most physicians check for this separation at a woman’s 6 week postpartum check up. However, many women I speak with have never been talked to about what diastasis recti is or if they have it. The Curl Up Test is something you can do on your own to assess your degree of separation. If you have a 3+ finger separation, it’s recommended to seek your physician’s advice. The concern with a greater degree of separation is the protection of your internal organs. Your musculature is your “armor” and we need that to protect us, rather than connective tissue.
Most women I have tested fall within the normal category and I get to send them on their merry way. Once we are educated on it, we can figure out where we stand and what to do. We are then able to stop worrying and move on.