Learn About Diastasis Recti

What is the definition of Diastasis Recti?

Diastasis recti is a separation between the left and right side of the rectus abdominis muscle. This muscle covers the front surface of the belly area.

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What are the causes of Diastasis Recti?

Diastasis recti is common in newborns. It is seen most often in premature and African American infants.

Pregnant women may develop the condition because of increased tension on the abdominal wall. The risk is higher with multiple births or many pregnancies.

What are the symptoms of Diastasis Recti?

A diastasis recti looks like a ridge, which runs down the middle of the belly area. It stretches from the bottom of the breastbone to the belly button. It increases with muscle straining.

In infants, the condition is most easily seen when the baby tries to sit up. When the infant is relaxed, you can often feel the edges of the rectus muscles.

Diastasis recti is commonly seen in women who have multiple pregnancies. This is because the muscles have been stretched many times. Extra skin and soft tissue in the front of the abdominal wall may be the only signs of this condition in early pregnancy. In the later part of pregnancy, the top of the pregnant uterus can be seen bulging out of the abdominal wall. An outline of parts of the unborn baby may be seen in some severe cases.

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What are the current treatments for Diastasis Recti?

No treatment is needed for pregnant women with this condition.

In infants, diastasis recti will disappear over time. Surgery may be needed if the baby develops a hernia that becomes trapped in the space between the muscles.

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What is the outlook (prognosis) for Diastasis Recti?

In some cases, diastasis recti heals on its own.

Pregnancy-related diastasis recti often lasts long after the woman gives birth. Exercise may help improve the condition. Umbilical hernia may occur in some cases. Surgery is rarely performed for diastasis recti.

What are the possible complications of Diastasis Recti?

In general, complications only result when a hernia develops.

When should I contact a medical professional for Diastasis Recti?

Contact your provider right away if a child with diastasis recti:

  • Develops redness or pain in the abdomen
  • Has vomiting that does not stop
  • Cries all the time
Diastasis recti
What are the latest Diastasis Recti Clinical Trials?
The Role of Self-assessment Combined With Home-based Wearable Device Over Supervised Pelvic Floor Muscle Training for Stress or Mixed Urinary Incontinence in Postpartum Women: a Multi-center Randomized Controlled Trial
Summary: Objective The study is designed to compare the benefit of self-assessment of a home-based wearable device assisted pelvic floor muscle training (PFMT) to standard supervised PMFT program for women with SUI/MUI (stress urinary incontinence/mixed urinary incontinence).~Background National and international clinical practice guidelines recommend supervised pelvic floor muscle training of at least 3 m...
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Randomised Controlled Trial to Assess the Benefit of Naprapathy Training for Preventing Problems From Rectus Abdominis Diastasis
Summary: A randomised controlled trial with the aim of analysing the effectiveness of a training program intended to prevent symptoms related to DRAM in the postpartum period.
What are the Latest Advances for Diastasis Recti?
Laparo-Endoscopic Repair of Ventral Hernia and Rectus Diastasis.
Summary: Laparo-Endoscopic Repair of Ventral Hernia and Rectus Diastasis.
Minimally invasive correction of anatomical features of anterior abdominal wall and ventral hernias.
Summary: Minimally invasive correction of anatomical features of anterior abdominal wall and ventral hernias.
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Efficacy of deep core stability exercise program in postpartum women with diastasis recti abdominis: a randomised controlled trial.
Summary: Efficacy of deep core stability exercise program in postpartum women with diastasis recti abdominis: a randomised controlled trial.
Who are the sources who wrote this article ?

Published Date: September 19, 2021
Published By: Debra G. Wechter, MD, FACS, General Surgery Practice Specializing in Breast Cancer, Virginia Mason Medical Center, Seattle, WA. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, Brenda Conaway, Editorial Director, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.

What are the references for this article ?

Ledbetter DJ, Chabra S, Javid PJ. Abdominal wall defects. In: Gleason CA, Juul SE, eds. Avery's Diseases of the Newborn. 10th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2018:chap 73.

Privratsky AM, Barreto JC, Turnage RH. Abdominal wall, umbilicus, peritoneum, mesenteries, omentum, and retroperitoneum. In: Townsend CM Jr, Beauchamp RD, Evers BM, Mattox KL, eds. Sabiston Textbook of Surgery. 21st ed. St Louis, MO: Elsevier; 2022:chap 44.