Abdominal muscles can have problems with pregnancy

What is diastasis recti?

Palpable in the supine position

At the time of birth, all pregnant women have diastasis recti, but it can only be felt afterwards. The distance between the abdominal muscles can be felt on the back: if you tense your stomach slightly and lift your head, you can feel a depression above the navel.

Two centimeters or two fingers wide are often palpable. The diastasis recti can also be up to ten centimeters wide and twelve centimeters long. "That depends on several factors, for example whether it was the first or second pregnancy, a twin pregnancy or how strong the muscles and connective tissue were before," says Heike Gross, yoga teacher and alternative practitioner from Munich. Gross helps women in individual treatments and workshops to close the diastasis recti again. Because, according to Anna-Katharina Doepfer: "We need functioning abdominal muscles for a stable back."

Diastasis recti can cause problems

Many mothers do not notice in the months after the birth that the diastasis recti is causing problems. But: "Many women complain of pain in their lower and middle back, hollow back and feel unstable overall," explains Heike Gross.

If the gap is very wide, the viscera lacks the protection that the muscles otherwise offer. If the pressure in the abdomen increases, for example because the straight abdominal muscles are stressed too much, the gap increases. "After pregnancy, it can take up to a year for the diastasis recti to close, as the tissue remains soft longer, especially during breastfeeding," says orthopedist Doepfer. In some women, the gap remains longer, sometimes for years - even then it is possible to close it through exercises and manual therapy.