CALL US TODAY (608) 218-4215

Diastasis 101


Diastasis rectus abdominis, also known as DRA for short, is a popular topic among pregnant and postpartum individuals. Most women that have heard of it – don’t want it. So what is DRA?

It is a thinning or spreading of the linea alba, which is fascia, that separates the two sides of your rectus abdominis muscle (your six pack muscles). It is 100% normal during pregnancy by your third trimester. It’s amazing – it lets your body expand to allow your baby to grow. Postpartum your fascia creates tension and comes back together, but not for all women. We do not know why some women have a broader gap, there may be a genetic component.

If you are someone that has DRA and are looking for resources on how to improve your DRA it can be challenging. There is often fear based language around exercise. A lot of “don’t do this or else you’ll make your gap worse.” It can be scary. By the time you are done researching, you are left with lie on your back and don’t move! So here is what we do know from the evidence.

  • DRA is a weakness issue. Women with DRA have decreased trunk muscle strength, decreased trunk rotational strength, and increased muscle fatigability around the core wall.

  • There is no link between low back pain or leaking and DRA.

  • Exercise programs do NOT change the resting tone of your gap. But, we can improve strength and improve rectus abdominis approximation with functional activities (i.e. movement)

  • Improving strength will improve your daily life, athletic performance, and ability to complete your duties as a mom (i.e. lifting strollers, car seats, toddlers)

What can you do if you have DRA?

  • Start with breath to create a precontraction and tense your fascia. Creating tension is key.

  • Challenge your trunk muscles in a variety of positions and see what works for you. If doming/coning occurs, modify.

  • Progress. You need to overload your muscles in order to create tissue change.

  • See video above for ideas!

Here at Peak Endurance Performance & Physical Therapy we help active adults in the Madison Area get back to the activities they love without pain or limitations. We see people of all ages, ability levels, and individuals trying to get back to a multitude of movements including: getting back into running, women postpartum, CrossFit athletes, climbers, gymnasts, wrestlers, overhead athletes, and your recreational weekend warrior. If you’re looking to get back to the activities that give you meaning, relieve stress, and make you feel like you again, feel free to reach out below and we’ll see if we’re the right fit for you.