Diastasis recti is a separation of the abdominal muscles that's very common during pregnancy (occurring at rates of 66% to 100% of women in their third trimester) and shortly after. During pregnancy, the growth of the uterus stretches the muscles in the abdomen. The separation often resolves naturally within 8 weeks after delivery, but when it doesn't it may cause lower back pain and instability.
If you think you have diastasis recti, talk to your health care provider. While pregnant, there is no treatment, but there are certain exercises that can help prevent or reduce the size of the separation after delivery. It is important that you know how to correctly engage your core and pelvic floor correctly to help prevent and/or reduce long term effects of diastasis recti.
In the early postpartum period, it is important to prevent doming and return to exercise and lifting slowly in order to prevent further damage in the future. If after 8 weeks, there is still diastasis, exercises are often prescribed to strengthen the abdominal muscles. A physical therapist can help develop a specialized exercise plan for treating diastasis recti. There are also specific treatments that can be done by a physical therapist to help the diastasis recti heal and reduce any associated pain.
In most cases, the diastasis can heal completely if treated. However, if there is an abdominal hernia, where organ or tissue bulges through a weak spot in the wall of the muscle, the diastasis will not be able to heal properly. If you have an abdominal hernia, it should be regularly evaluated by your doctor.