Skip to Content

Diastasis Recti


What is diastasis recti (DR)?

DR is when the muscles in your abdomen move apart. It is a common condition during pregnancy and after delivery.

What increases my risk for DR?

  • Being pregnant with more than 1 baby
  • Being pregnant at age 35 or older
  • Delivering a large baby
  • Weak abdominal muscles
  • Weight lifting
  • Swelling or fluid in the abdomen
  • Obesity

What are the signs and symptoms of DR?

  • A lump in the middle of your abdomen that gets bigger when you cough, sneeze, or sit up
  • Pain in the abdomen, pelvis, or back
  • Problems controlling your urine or bowel movements

How is DR diagnosed and treated?

Your healthcare provider will feel your abdomen and ask about your symptoms. You may need an ultrasound or CT scan. Tell the healthcare provider if you have ever had an allergic reaction to contrast liquid. DR may get better without treatment. Your healthcare provider may tell you to go to physical therapy. A physical therapist teaches you exercises to help improve movement and strength, and to decrease pain. Rarely, surgery is needed to repair the muscles.

How can I manage my symptoms?

  • Do not lift anything heavier than 10 pounds. This can make your symptoms worse.
  • Do abdominal exercises as directed. Abdominal exercises can help strengthen your muscles and decrease symptoms. If you are a woman, do not do abdominal exercises for at least 2 weeks after you deliver.
  • Wear a binder as directed. A binder can help support your muscles and decrease pain. Ask your healthcare provider where to buy a binder.
  • Maintain a healthy weight. This may help prevent your DR from getting worse. Ask your healthcare provider how much you should weigh. Ask him to help you create a weight loss plan if you are overweight.

When should I seek immediate care?

  • You have severe pain in your abdomen or pelvis.
  • You have a sudden increase in the size of the bulge that cannot be pushed back in.
  • You vomit blood.
  • You have black bowel movements or blood in your bowel movements.

When should I contact my healthcare provider?

  • You have nausea or are vomiting.
  • You have trouble controlling your urine or bowel movements.
  • You have questions or concerns about your condition or care.

Care Agreement

You have the right to help plan your care. Learn about your health condition and how it may be treated. Discuss treatment options with your healthcare providers to decide what care you want to receive. You always have the right to refuse treatment. The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.

© Copyright IBM Corporation 2018 Information is for End User's use only and may not be sold, redistributed or otherwise used for commercial purposes. All illustrations and images included in CareNotes® are the copyrighted property of A.D.A.M., Inc. or IBM Watson Health

Further information

Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.