Diastasis recti abdominus (DRA) is the separation of your rectus abdominus (6-pack muscles). It is very common during pregnancy and postpartum and typically decreases throughout the first year postpartum. The distance between the muscles as well as the depth of the separation can vary widely. Some moms’ function is greatly affected by their DRA while others may not feel symptoms at all.
DRA is a common condition treated in physical therapy. Exercise (and modification of exercise) is commonly prescribed in a course of PT. A systematic review published by Berg-Poppe et al looked at 14 studies aimed at the PT treatment of DRA. All the studies used exercise as a treatment, and some combined other modalities like electrical stimulation, biofeedback, or taping with exercise.
The main takeaway is that the exercise needs to be focused on motor control and coordination of the deep abs/pelvic floor during the exercise. There is not one-size-fits-all exercise for DRA, and what works for your friend may not work for you. It is improtant to defer to your PT or healthcare provider when designing a program to heal your DRA so they can assess your core activation during the exercises!
Berg-Poppe, Patti PhD; Hauer, Michaela BS; Jones, Cassandra BS; Munger, Mattison BS; Wethor, Cassidy BS Use of Exercise in the Management of Postpartum Diastasis Recti: A Systematic Review, Journal of Women’s Health Physical Therapy: January/March 2022 – Volume 46 – Issue 1 – p 35-47