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Diastasis Recti (DRA)

Whether your abs feel weak or you see an odd bulge down the midline of your belly, we’ve got you. Diastasis Rectus Abdominis (DRA) — is common postpartum and can also be the result of overworking your abs. It’s never too late to repair DRA, but the sooner you do, the better: If left untreated, side effects can include back pain and bladder/bowel leaks.

Does fixing your six-pack from the couch sound too good to be true? With virtual visits, that’s exactly how you’ll start.

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What Causes DRA

During pregnancy, connective tissue between the rectus abdominis muscles stretches to fit your baby (picture taffy being gently pulled apart), creating a gap. At the gym, DRA can be the result of overworking upper abdominals while undertraining deeper core muscles.

Work 1:1 with a Physical Therapist

Your PT will work with you to create a therapeutic exercise program that can improve DRA without surgery. Your treatment plan may include:

  • Strategies for avoiding strain on your abs
  • Techniques to re-activate abdominal muscle & tissue
  • Exercises that help reduce ab separation

Close the Gap

Increasing tension in connective tissue takes time. Most patients notice improvement within 6-8 weeks and see a more significant change in 3+ months. Be patient with your body!

Common & Treatable

At 1 year postpartum, 1 in 3 women have DRA that doesn’t typically resolve on its own. Physical therapy delivers results without the need for surgery.

"I still look 5 months pregnant."
"My abs bulge out after I eat."
"I can’t connect with my ab muscles."

Separated Abs FAQs

What is diastasis recti?

Diastasis recti or DRA is a separation of the "six-pack" muscles and the stretching of the connective tissue between them (called the linea alba). This typically happens in order to make space for a growing abdomen with weight gain or pregnancy. Without adequate tension in the linea alba, your core may not be well supported.

What does diastasis recti look like?

The most obvious sign of a diastasis recti is "coning" or "doming." Coning is seen in the space between your six pack muscles typically between the sternum and belly button when doing a crunch-like movement. The increased pressure in the abdomen caused by crunching pushes against the over-stretched connective tissue making it bulge outwards.

How do I know if I have diastasis recti?

Your doctor, midwife or OBGYN may be able to confirm a DRA but, keep in mind, they may not always provide an accurate assessment as they are not specialists of the musculoskeletal system. The best way to know if you have DRA is to be evaluated by a physical therapist.

How long does it take for diastasis recti to heal?

People who are assessed and treated for a diastasis recti or DRA by a trained physical therapist will typically see improvements within the first 6-8 weeks of care and a more noticeable difference within 3 months. Factors like breastfeeding, compliance with an exercise program and adherence to behavioral modifications can impact healing time.

Which exercises are safe with diastasis recti?

The safest exercises are those that do not lead to an increase in abdominal pressure. Consider walking, low intensity weight training, or prenatal yoga. Crunches, planks and heavy lifting can all increase pressure in the abdomen, so avoidance of these activities is usually recommended until your DRA improves.

I’m pregnant. Is there any way to prevent diastasis recti?

100% of pregnant women will have a diastasis recti or DRA in their third trimester. This separation of the "six pack" muscles is considered normal but for some, those muscles remain separated or the connective tissue between them will remain lax postpartum. A physical therapist can work with you during or after pregnancy to support resolution of a DRA.

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What do you get?

Treat & prevent symptoms

Treat & Prevent Symptoms

Heal from childbirth, prevent pain, and rebuild your abs & pelvic floor.

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From exercise to sex to returning to work, move with total confidence.

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Trusted by Doctors, Loved by New Moms

Origin provides OBGYN-recommended pelvic & whole body physical therapy that’s evidence-based and personalized to meet your needs.

100%
of OBGYNs recommend pelvic floor physical therapy postpartum
89%
of postpartum patients saw improvement in symptoms
90%
of postpartum patients recommend Origin to new moms

Expert care & support

  • 6 visits with a pelvic floor physical therapist
  • Personalized exercise program, updated weekly
  • Educational resources prescribed for you
  • Tracking tools to keep you motivated
  • Opportunities to connect with & support other moms

Full-body recovery

  • Evaluate your symptoms
  • Heal perineal tears
  • Care for your Cesarean scar
  • Stop bladder leaks
  • Heal diastasis recti
  • Relieve pelvic pain / pain with sex
  • Improve bowel function
  • Alleviate mastitis / clogged milk ducts
  • Treat and prevent low back pain
  • Support your body for better sleep
  • Prevent injury while caring for baby
  • Return safely to exercise

What Our Patients Say About Origin

Stephanie S.
"I found Origin when I was pregnant. After having my baby, I came back to do pelvic floor work. It's been a godsend!"
Stephanie S.
Separated Abs, Pregnancy
Sophie S.
"After my c-section, I was experiencing core weakness, SI joint and hip pain, and tightness in my scar. My PT was incredible to work with and helped me meet my goals."
Sophie S.
Postpartum, C-Section Recovery
F.C.
"I'm from France, where pelvic floor care is considered crucial post-delivery, and I was so happy when I found Origin. The team is knowledgeable, professional, and thoughtful in their medical approach."
F.C.
Postpartum
Jennifer S.
"I've learned great exercises and adjustments for daily movements to reduce strain and pain. I've been delighted by how effective the virtual visits are."
Jennifer S.
Low Back Pain

As seen in

WSJ
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Postpartum recovery doesn't "just happen." Restore your body with physical therapy.

Postpartum recovery doesn't "just happen." Restore your body with physical therapy.

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Postpartum FAQ

What is diastasis recti?

Diastasis recti or DRA is a separation of the "six-pack" muscles and the stretching of the connective tissue between them (called the linea alba). This typically happens in order to make space for a growing abdomen with weight gain or pregnancy. Without adequate tension in the linea alba, your core may not be well supported.

What does diastasis recti look like?

The most obvious sign of a diastasis recti is "coning" or "doming." Coning is seen in the space between your six pack muscles typically between the sternum and belly button when doing a crunch-like movement. The increased pressure in the abdomen caused by crunching pushes against the over-stretched connective tissue making it bulge outwards.

How do I know if I have diastasis recti?

Your doctor, midwife or OBGYN may be able to confirm a DRA but, keep in mind, they may not always provide an accurate assessment as they are not specialists of the musculoskeletal system. The best way to know if you have DRA is to be evaluated by a physical therapist.

How long does it take for diastasis recti to heal?

People who are assessed and treated for a diastasis recti or DRA by a trained physical therapist will typically see improvements within the first 6-8 weeks of care and a more noticeable difference within 3 months. Factors like breastfeeding, compliance with an exercise program and adherence to behavioral modifications can impact healing time.

Which exercises are safe with diastasis recti?

The safest exercises are those that do not lead to an increase in abdominal pressure. Consider walking, low intensity weight training, or prenatal yoga. Crunches, planks and heavy lifting can all increase pressure in the abdomen, so avoidance of these activities is usually recommended until your DRA improves.

I’m pregnant. Is there any way to prevent diastasis recti?

100% of pregnant women will have a diastasis recti or DRA in their third trimester. This separation of the "six pack" muscles is considered normal but for some, those muscles remain separated or the connective tissue between them will remain lax postpartum. A physical therapist can work with you during or after pregnancy to support resolution of a DRA.

There's More to Share!

Check Yourself for Diastasis Recti

Expert Tips for Preventing Postpartum Diastasis Recti

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