Mar 22

Can you heal a diastasis recti without surgery?

Share Now

Diastasis recti is the separation of the abdomen muscles (aka our six pack), It’s totally normal to occur during pregnancy as our bodies have to make space for the growing baby. 

It’s thought that this separation still persists for around 60% of women following birth. While generally harmless, many women often report bloating of the tummy when eating and drinking as well as being unhappy aesthetically and experiencing back pain due to poor abdominal function.



How do you know if you have Diastasis Recti?

There is a simple way to quickly self-test at home and see if you have a diastasis recti. 

  • Lying on your back, bend your knees and pop your feet on the floor. 
  • Lift your upper body just slightly
  • Using your index and middle finger, push down on the middle of your stomach above your belly button
  • If you feel a ‘gap’ between your muscles of more than two fingers then this most likely indicates a diastasis recti

Or you can watch this video to help talk you through it. 



Can diastasis recti be fixed?

I don’t like the term fixing! You aren’t broken, we just need to help things to function better in a way that helps to heal the separation. But you can absolutely heal your separation! (Although this does depend on the severity of your diastasis recti).

It’s quite rare for the condition to be addressed via surgery, many people just learn to live with it but there is SO MUCH you can do! Exercise professionals can recommend a variety of exercises to help with healing. Here are 3 simple exercises you can do to help heal your abdominal separation.  



Diaphragmatic Breathing
  • Lie on your back
  • Bend your knees and out your feet flat on the floor
  • Put your right palm on your chest
  • Put your left palm on your tummy
  • Take a deep breath in and imagine that you are breathing in to a circle around the bottom of your ribcage so that your ribs expand and it is the left over breath that moves into the belly
  • Exhale slowly and repeat 10 times


Side Bends
  • Sit on a chair with both feet flat on the floor
  • Lift one arm up and reach over into a side bend
  • Inhale into the back and side of your rib cage
  • Exhale to come back to centre
  • Repeat on the other side


Heel Slides
  • Lie on your back
  • Bend your knees and put your feet flat on the floor
  • Exhale to imagine you are blowing out candles and feel your belly flatten down under your fingertips
  • Slide your right heel across the floor until your leg is straight
  • Hold as you inhale
  • Exhale to connect to your abdominals as above and slide your right heel back to the starting position 
  • Repeat on the left-hand side



How can Pilates help diastasis recti?


High quality Pilates will teach you how to control your intra-abdominal pressure and release your connective tissue, this will help you to gain more mobility and encourage your abdominals to function effectively.

At Centred Mums, we use ‘The Center Method for Diastasis Recti Recovery’ in our postnatal classes. It focuses on ‘relax, release, realign, restore’ and is incredibly effective in assisting healing. We have had absolutely amazing results using this work in our Diastasis Recti Recovery Class.

Please remember that, before you start any postnatal exercise, it is important to ensure your abdominals have been checked by a qualified professional.



Postnatal Classes with Centred Mums


All of our postnatal classes can help with your abdominal separation. We have designed each class to ensure it only contains exercises that will assist your recovery, and we will always encourage you to work at your own pace and listen to your body.

When it comes to dysfunctions like Diastasis Recti, you are often warned against exercises such as sit-ups, but we will teach you that it isn’t about the exercise but about the level of control you have. If your abdominals ‘dome’ and push out when you do a sit-up, then this isn’t a good exercise for you. But plenty of people who don’t have a diastasis also dome, and it’s not a good exercise for them either.

We’re here to assure you that you won’t be scared to move and to use your body, you simply need to learn how to use it better.

With a better understanding of what your postnatal body needs, you can avoid pushing yourself into exercises and movements that won’t serve you well in the long term. And, as experts in this, we can confidently support you through making these important changes and bring you great results with our online membership!

As Featured In

Women's Health

FREE pelvic floor health download

FREE pelvic floor health download

Receive a FREE pelvic floor health download when you sign up to our newsletter.