What is Diastasis? What can you do about it? Core Specialist, Cheryl Coppa, with the answers
Diastasis is when there is a separation between the abdominal muscles. There is a line of fascia (linea alba) that goes right down your midsection and on either side is the abdominal wall which has 3 layers of muscle. Diastasis is the thinning of the fascia (Linea alba) that connects all of the abdominal muscles in the middle.
What does Diastasis look like?
It can look like a “mommy tummy” when you have a bulge that just never seems to go away. It could be the entire core or just the upper or lower. You can also notice when you are in a crunch position if you see doming, or your stomach looks like a loaf of bread or just bugling, which are all clear signs of Diastasis.
How do I know for sure if I have this?
Besides an ultrasound, a sure way to test yourself is the finger test. Anything more than 2.5 finger width would suggest a little care to put it back together and restore function. To test yourself, lie on the ground and place your fingers right in the middle between the front of your abs. The space you are feeling is the Linea Alba, this is fascia that connects the core muscles. The space should be small and almost feel like a trampoline. Should not be able to go very deep. A healthy space would be 2 fingers or less. If you can place 3 fingers horizontally you have Diastasis. The best measure would be to do this and get ready to go into a crunch position.
had Diastasis for over a decade before I even realized it. After my babies I got the clear to go back to life as normal. So in an effort to fight the bulge, I did whatever was being done in group fitness classes or what I thought would help. High-intensity, typical core exercises all of which just made it worse. Our core needs to undergo a period of rehab and put back together again before we can just jump back into these activities.
What causes Diastasis?
Pregnancy 100% causes this. Every pregnant woman will experience this separation as her body makes room for the baby. For some, after birth, the body aligns back to neutral. For many of us, we need to put our core back together again.
Being overweight can also cause Diastasis
Even exercise and daily activities done in repeated poor form will cause this! Lack of pressure management and the pressure has to go somewhere, so this pressure can cause Diastasis.
What can I do about it?
The first thing would be to fix your alignment (Check this video to learn how ). Our center of gravity changes during pregnancy and a lot of times we don’t fix it because we don't know any better. Modern-day life and even extreme training can cause our bodies to be out of alignment.
A foundational and crucial step that is also very easy to fix would be to know what your neutral alignment is.
Secondly, through a breathing technique where you learn how to activate all your core muscles with your diaphragm to reestablish a core connection.
I call it the core breath, which has also been called 360 breathing. It takes practice and guidance, but learning this technique is a game-changer and will save your core!
Thirdly, after you have established this breathing pattern, you can do certain exercises to work on closing that gap and hopefully restoring integrity to the tissue (linea alba).
Always avoid any type of exercise/movement pattern that creates bulging /doming until learning how to manage this pressure as it will make it worse.
Example of an exercise when done with the Core breath:
Diastasis and the Pelvic Floor Connection
Everything is connected, don’t ever underestimate the power of the kinetic chain! If something is off somewhere, you will feel it and it will show up in other areas as well. Healing the body of any dysfunction is a whole-body concern, this is why breath work is crucial.
When it comes to the Pelvic Floor and Diastasis, they are both pieces of the core and should be working together. So when you are working to heal your Diastasis you want to be mindful of the pelvic floor as well, so when you are learning to manage this pressure in the core, you are not sending it down to the pelvic floor. This can be mastered in the CORE BREATH technique.
👉🏽 Click here to learn more about the Ola Ka Ola successful Pelvic Floor program
🌐 Do you have any questions about the pelvic Floor Program? Contact Cheryl for any questions firstname.lastname@example.org
About Cheryl Coppa
✔️ A certified Core Confidence Specialist (Pre & postnatal fitness, pelvic Floor, Diastasis)
✔️ A certified Personal Trainer specializing in women's fitness over 40
✔️Low-Pressure Fitness / Hypopressive certified by creator Dr. Tamara Rial
✔️Pre/Postnatal Fitness Specialist
✔️Instructor of the Pelvic Floor Health program, Ola Ka Ola