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Registered qualified Personal Coach Leonie Dykes offers advice, encouragement and support on fitness and nutrition to help inspire and motivate East Riding Mums.

Diastasis recti (also known as abdominal separation)

For any mums out there, who are unsure about what diastasis recti is, let me explain……


During pregnancy, the rectus abdominis muscles (the big muscle across your abdomen) can end up separating due to pressure inside from the growth of the baby.

The diagram shows a normal rectus abdominis, compared to a separated rectus abdominis (diastasis recti).

You can see the muscles (the rectus abdominis) run parallel to each other and lengthwise along your abdomen (left hand image).

When affected by diastasis recti, they are forced to separate away from the midline to allow space for the growing baby (right hand image).

Diastis recti diagram

The Linea Alba (connective tissue) then also separates and thins, which reduces the support of your organs and overall core stability.


Common signs associated with abdominal separation are a gap of more than a 2.5 finger width within the rectus abdominis when fully contracted.


This gap does not shrink when you contract your abdominal wall and you can see a small mound protruding along the length of your midline.


How do you know if this has happened to you or not? Here is how to check ….


  1. Lie on your back with knees bent and feet on the floor.
  2. Place one hand behind your head and the other hand over your abdomen with fingertips positioned across your midline parallel with your waistline. This should be at the same level as your belly button.
  3. With your abdomen relaxed, gently press your fingertips into your abdomen and roll your upper body off the floor into a crunch.
  4. Move your fingertips back and forth across your midline feeling for the right and left sides of your rectus abdominis muscle.
  5. Test for separation at, above, or below your belly button. A gap of 2 fingers or more needs further attention.


This is a test you can do on yourself, however, I would advise getting a professional opinion if you are unsure.


Pilates can correct or greatly improve any gap and is therefore an ideal program for women experiencing diastasis recti due to the precise training and focus on core and transverses abdominis strength.


Leonie, set up Modern LJ Pilates over 3 years ago and holds weekly classes across East Riding, she also offers 121 sessions from her home in South Duffiled. Take a look at her website here and look out for regular articles on East Riding Mums. http://www.ljmodernpilates.co.uk/