Do you have Diastasis Rectus Abdominus (DRA)?

How to check if you have a diastasis

  1. Lie on your back with your knees bent

  2. Place your fingers at your belly button  and press down (keep fingers pointing down towards toes not across your body)

  3. Lift your head off the ground until you feel the two sides of your abdominal muscles hardening

  4. Note if there is a gap between the two borders of your abdominals or if there is a bulging occurring.

  5. Repeat the test with your fingers 3 inches below your belly button and 3 inches above your belly button

​If you have a gap or bulge in the your abdominals, you may have a diastiasis and you should see a chartered physiotherapist who treats this condition.

The skin and muscles over your bump have stretched to allow your baby (or babies) to grow and develop during pregnancy and sometimes our tummies can show the effects of this long after baby arrives. If your tummy remains stretched and people are asking you when you are due months (or even years)  after baby  has arrived (how dare they!) you may have "mummy tummy" or diastasis rectus abdominis.



So what is a Diastasis?


  • During pregnancy the right and left side of your rectus ( 6 pack muscles) may spread apart at the midline (linea alba)

  • This occurs in response to the growing uterus pushing against the abdominal walls

  • Most new mums will have some degree of separation in the first 6 weeks after delivery


  • If this gap does not close in the first 6-8 weeks, you may have a diastasis and it is unlikely to heal on its own.

​What problems can diastasis cause?

When left untreated, it may lead to


A "pot belly": A protruding tummy that many women may feel self conscious about


Low back pain: The abdominals are no longer able to provide adequate support for the spine which can lead to pain


Pelvic Floor Problems: Diastasis has been linked to pelvic floor pain, bladder problems and prolapse when left untreated


Hernia: If the gap is quite wide and the connective tissue very weak, a hernia may occur. This is when part of the internal organs protrude through the gap. 




What should you do if you have a diastasis?

  • Book an assessment with a chartered physiotherapist who specialises in treating this condition. Aoibhin McGreal provides a research based treatment programme of manual therapy and specific exercises to restore the function and strength to the abdominals

  • Avoid sit ups, crunches, double leg lifts and planks- this type of exercise could make it worse


  • When you are getting in and out of bed, avoid sitting up from a supine (lying) position. Instead roll onto your side and use your arms to help


  • Start with some gentle abdominal exercises by drawing your lower tummy in towards your spine, holding for 10 seconds while breathing gently, and repeat 10 times.