Diastasis Recti

Symptoms, Doctors, Treatments, Research & More

Condition 101

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.

What are the causes for 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 for 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.

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.

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 for Diastasis Recti?

In general, complications only result when a hernia develops.

When should I contact a medical professional for Diastasis Recti?

Call 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


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.

Turnage RH, Mizell J, Badgwell B. Abdominal wall, umbilicus, peritoneum, mesenteries, omentum, and retroperitoneum. In: Townsend CM Jr, Beauchamp RD, Evers BM, Mattox KL, eds. Sabiston Textbook of Surgery. 20th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2017:chap 43.

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Latest Research

Latest Advance
  • Condition: Postpartum women with diastasis recti abdominis
  • Journal: Journal of musculoskeletal & neuronal interactions
  • Treatment Used: Deep core stability exercise program
  • Number of Patients: 40
  • Published —
The study researched the outcomes of deep core stability exercise programs in postpartum women with diastasis recti abdominis.
Latest Advance
  • Condition: Diastasis Recti
  • Journal: Surgical endoscopy
  • Treatment Used: Preaponeurotic Endoscopic Repair
  • Number of Patients: 50
  • Published —
In this study, researchers evaluated the outcomes of preaponeurotic endoscopic repair for diastasis recti.