Diastasis Recti & How to Fix It – Ask Doctor Jo

Diastasis Recti & How to Fix It – Ask Doctor Jo


hey everybody it’s Doctor Jo and Doctor Jen, and today we’re gonna talk about diastasis recti. so let’s get started. So today I have Doctor Jen with me, and she is a specialist in the pelvic floor and also happens to be pregnant. so she’s
super special. so doctor Jen tell us a little bit about what you do. just as Jo
was saying, I’m a pelvic floor physical therapist. so I treat pain, weakness,
discomfort, difficulty performing ADL’s, or activities of daily living, primarily
with things like bowel, bladder, and sexual dysfunction. that’s across the
whole spectrum men, women, and children, and it includes the pre and post partum
population. so today we’re going to talk about what happens after pregnancy when
your belly has been stretched out for almost nine months. it’s called a
diastasis or diastasis, either one whatever you want, tomato tomahto.
regardless it’s the same thing. diastasis is a midline separation of your rectus
abdominus or your six-pack muscles. as you can see, rectus abdominus generally
lives parallel to one another in the non-pregnant population, but as our belly
expands, those two muscles start to separate. after you deliver, you may
notice a slight bulge in the middle of your abdomen, a separation between those
two that was not there. that is totally common. however it should resolve in
about four to six weeks and most women don’t even have to think about it. but
what if you are one of those women who experience a bulge when you’re getting
up out of a chair, or noticing that you’re trying to get back into your
workout routin,e and all of a sudden things just don’t feel or look the same.
right? my first piece of advice is that your six-week checkup with your doctor
talk to him about it. say hey what is this? something feels different. something looks different. and as long as you have the clearance from them from a pain
perspective, I think you should go ahead and start self treating or seeing a
physical therapist who can help you strengthen your abs correctly. mm-hmm. and
on a side note, this is something that men can have as well, right? it’s a really
great point. I apologize. yeah. no I just in general cuz I have had people ask me
you know if you are a man and you have to have a little bit of that beer belly.
yeah. that can also cause this as well. so men or women. Oh, it’s such a great
point. so yes if you are a middle-aged man who loves your beer and your belly’s
out to here, you can actually fix your abs – all right? yeah you can show me how to
do? I am. I am. so the biggest problem that I see is most people have this midline
separation. they know it’s coming from those six-pack muscles and they decide
well I’m just gonna do a ton of crunches. and what happens is you’re trying to
strengthen in a really poor position. your abs are kind of stretched out and
then you’re tightening in that range and, to be quite honest, you’re generally
making things a little bit worse. so I want to show you how to accurately
perform a diastasis correction. and for those new moms, it’s really it’s a great
opportunity for you to get on your floor with your baby baby, you can grab their
swaddle, and you can self-correct in a few easy steps. so I’m gonna have Doctor Jo be our model because this is Doctor Jo postpartum, right?
try not to fix your diastasis during pregnancy. correct. I’m gonna have dr. Jo
lay on her back comfortably. okay. knees bent, feet flat, and I’m gonna find a
swaddle, a blanket a pillow case or something where I can just grab the two
ends of that because this is going to help pull our muscles into a good
position. this is gonna go right behind dr. Jo’s back under her belly button.
right at midline. okay. and then whenever you’re ready go ahead and lie
back down. all right the first thing you might be asking is how do I know if I
have a diastasis? I feel weak. so there is a way for you to check this. we can do
that easily while Jo is here. I’m actually going to lift up her top shirt.
again this is a midline separation, so right at your belly button, you can just place one finger at your belly button, apply gentle
downward pressure, and do it really small sit-up. so lift your shoulders up for me.
Jo has absolutely no separation. I can’t even fit one finger in there. go ahead
and lie back down. but what you might find if you have a baby as you lift up
you may either see that visible bulge, or you might be able to fit two maybe even
three fingers in that space between. so that’s the first step. is do I have a
diastasis. if so you talk to your doctor and as long as you’re clear, you can
start some of these exercises. the next step is figuring out how to activate
your abs in the right position. so we have Jo in the proper position on her
back with a pillow case or whatever you’re using to help approximate or pull
those abs into a good position. with dr. Je’s left hand, she’s going to grab the
right side of the blanket, and then she’ll reach across and under and grab
the other side of the blanket. we want to do our crunches, or our core
strengthening with your rectus abdominus lined up, or what we call approximated. so
step one. dr. Jo this is a little tight, not uncomfortable, go ahead and pull the
two sides of the blanket together aligning those two six-pack muscles. if
you have a little bit of excess skin postpartum, you might find that that
bunches. that’s completely fine. we just want your six-pack muscles to come
together. so step one is completed. the next is to activate your deep core. so we
want some good stability. so I want dr. Jo to just gently pull her abdominal
muscles in as if she’s tightening her inner corset. sometimes that looks like a
very small pelvic tilt. but she’s activating her deep core, and
then the third step is to bring on the six-pack muscles. so just subtly dr. Jo
lift your chest up towards the ceiling as well as your shoulders, and then come
back down. the last piece to this puzzle is making sure that you’re exhaling with
every effort. okay? so you inhale, exhale abs come in, pull tight, lift, breathe out,
and come back down. perfect. Ohh. I know that’s a little
challenging. there’s a lot to think through, and this isn’t just muscle
retraining, this is brain retraining. so we’re getting her deep core firing to
give that stability first. then we’re getting her muscles in a good position.
lastly she’s lifting up her head and her shoulders to activate rectus abdominis,
and come back down. this should be completely pain-free. if you’re lifting
and it’s uncomfortable, I would seek help from a specialist. if this is pain free
and you feel those six-pack muscles working, I would work my way up from 25
to 50 repetitions about once or twice a day. always making sure that you’re
breathing out. the big kicker here is after you have a baby, you want to be
very very cautious of your bottom or your pelvic floor. so when I say exhale
with every effort, we’re doing that to prevent excessive pressure from pushing
down and causing any sort of trauma, discomfort, or any other further symptoms.
excellent. that’s it. do you recommend resetting every time? I think that’s a
really great point. initially for those patients who may be a little out of
shape, we’re just feeling a little bit of tightness, or trying to get in the hang
of things, absolutely. reset between every one.
mastering that contraction of the abs, or the deep core, with the abs, and coming
back down. as you’re getting stronger, you’ll find you’re able to do 10, 15, 20
still breathing and not really feeling a ton of fatigue. but I think it is better
to start a little bit slower. yeah. easy peasy? easy peasy. so men, women, if you want to get rid of that midline bulge, this is an
easy way to do it as long as it’s pain-free. excellent. cool. so there you
have it. if you like to help support my channel, make sure and click on the link
on the other side of dr. Jen, and don’t forget to subscribe by clicking down
there. and remember be safe (keep everything together),
have fun, and I hope you feel better soon.

13 thoughts on “Diastasis Recti & How to Fix It – Ask Doctor Jo

  1. Great to see women's health topics. Hope to see more in future reference safe prolapse types exercises too.
    Didn't know Diastasis also happens to some overweight or men.

  2. I guess 48 years later is too late to start these exercises. LOL. Even though I had always had a very "flat" abdomen after 2 babies and was within 5 pounds of non-pregnant status, I had the midline bulge, the doctors dismissed my observation and credited it to mid 30's pregnancy and stated there was no solution except to accept my new body image. Maybe I would have been too lazy or occupied with 3 children to adhere to an exercise program anyway. (Got the Kegels down pat!) Hope practitioners like Dr. Jen can get this word out. Meanwhile, I will coninue to work on acceptance and put on my Spanx for special occasion outfits.<smile>

  3. I want to introduce this to my husband ….. the only problem is he has developed over recent years a 'hernia' related bulge in the 6 pack region, directly above his belly button, clearly evident when he attempts even minor crunches & he worries even they may be damaging. Can he do your demonstrated exercise without fear of further damage?

  4. Does Dr Jen also like to wear cute socks or is that just a requirement for being on your YouTube channel? 😃

  5. Can you use a stretch band (aka TheraBand) in lieu of a towel? My brother has this and I'm trying to see what we can do to fix it. He's just now lost enough weight that we can see it, but his insurance doesn't cover PT. We're waiting to see if it's a hernia which his doctor wants first, but assuming it's diastasis, we have heavy stretch bands we could use. I'm wanting to do this exercise when we go to work out if the bands would work. If not we will start bring towels or a brace, it'd just be easier to use the bands.

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