Abdominal Separation / Rectus Diastasis

What is it?

Rectus Diastasis also know as ‘abdominal separation’ is a condition that occurs predominantly during pregnancy, whereby the abdominal muscles separate away from each other at the midline (linea alba).

Two thirds of pregnant women will have it.

Mechanism of Injury

  • During pregnancy your body releases a hormone called Relaxin that causes ligaments and fascia to stretch to accommodate the growing foetus in your uterus.

  • Through your trimesters, as your baby gets bigger the space needed is much greater, therefore your linea alba must soften and expand causing this separation.

  • The separation can occur anywhere along the linea alba and can be anywhere between 1 to 10cm wide. There is no way to determine how large or how small your separation will be as it is individual to each person.

Common Management Techniques

  • After pregnancy it is imperative that you be checked by your Midwife or Women’s Health Physiotherapist as early as possible to assess and measure the separation.

  • Research suggests that women have the best results within the first 4-8weeks post birth.

1. Specific Gentle Core Exercises – these need to be prescribed by your physiotherapist depending on where the separation is and the level of strength in your core. This will help facilitate the coming back together of the linea alba.

2. Education/Advice – there are certain activities and positions to avoid with rectus diastasis, and correct ways to reduce the risk of increasing the separation.

3. SRC Pants – the only graded compression garment endorsed by the Physiotherapy Association, with backed research to help facilitate the closing of the separation


Fortunately, the majority of people who experience Abdominal Separation in pregnancy experience a significant improvement in symptoms in the weeks after birth with most people back to full function and normal diastasis after 6 weeks post birth.