Diastasis Recti Abdominis (DRA)

What is Diastasis Recti Abdominis (DRA)?

Diastasis Recti Abdominis (DRA) refers to the partial or complete separation of the rectus abdominis, measured by a separation wider than 2.7cm between the left and right recti muscles.

This is a very common condition with 80% of women developing DRA in the third trimester of pregnancy and 50% of mothers continue to suffer from this condition after childbirth.

Causes of DRA

Diastasis Recti Abdominis (DRA) is caused by the stretching of one’s connective collagen tissue due to excessive inner-abdominal pressure.

Pregnancy is the leading cause of DRA. Across the months of pregnancy, the mother’s abdominal area stretches naturally to accommodate the growing uterus, leading to the stretching of the linea alba, which is the connective tissue holding the recti muscles together.

Pregnancy & DRA

The rectus abdominis, commonly known as the six-pack muscle, has a fibrous cord and connective tissue running down the centre, which is known as the linea alba. Pregnancy simultaneously stretches the abdominal muscles to accommodate the growing baby while releasing natural pregnancy hormones to loosen the connective tissue.

These combinative actions frequently weaken and separate the recti muscles, resulting in a widening of the centre cord and giving the appearance of a pooch, colloquially known as a ‘Mummy Tummy’.

Illustration of a woman with no diastasis (left) and a woman with diastasis during pregnancy (center) and after pregnancy (right).

During the second and third trimester of pregnancy, DRA may appear as a noticeable bulge or ridge developing on the belly. While some degree of separation is normal, over-separation can result in a weakened core and back or pelvic pain. A detailed DRA assessment can be done to accurately measure the severity of recti muscle separation.

Risk Factors & Complications

DRA occurs in both pregnant and postpartum women, and seeking prompt Diastasis Recti treatment in Singapore is now available with advanced treatment technology.

Some risk factors that can make DRA more likely to occur include:

  • Having a larger baby, twins or a large amount of amniotic fluid
  • Multiple childbirths
  • Being pregnant over the age of 35
  • Intense pushing during childbirth
  • Improper breathing during childbirth
  • Weak pre-pregnancy abdominal muscles
  • Overuse of abdominal muscles during the third trimester
  • Obesity

Find out more about treatment for Diastasis Recti

FAQ about Diastasis Recti

Can it go away on its own?

In many cases, DRA can naturally go away on its own approximately 8 weeks following childbirth. However, if symptoms continue to persist, they are unlikely to go away on their own, and will require intervention.

How do I treat a DRA?

To treat DRA, the core team of muscles must be retrained to their optimal lines of performance through HIFEM technology and various exercises, allowing the body to regain its healthy coordination.

Can I prevent DRA?

To prevent DRA, recti muscles must be stabilised and strengthened early through customised strengthening exercises early in pregnancy, avoiding further debilitation and development of DRA.

What exercises should I avoid if I have Diastasis Recti?

The transverse abdominal muscle (TVA) is the deepest abdominal layer and can be imagined as the body’s internal corset. A strong TVA pulls the rectus abdominis together and is critical to DRA recovery.

Until the stretched soft tissues heal, working the other three muscles should be secondary to the TVA. As such, avoid straining these abdominal muscles as it will continue to pull the muscles apart at the centre.

These include actions such as:

  • Heavy lifting
  • Constipation
  • Oblique and straight crunches
  • Sit ups
  • Leg lowering exercises
  • Plank-type position

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Orchard Clinic is a new treatment concept offering a unique method that provides high-quality conservative solutions for women’s body from pre & post pregnancy to pre & post menopause.

As a specialised treatment centre for women, we assess, prevent and treat common conditions such as incontinence, pelvic floor issues, abdominal separation (diastasis recti) and vaginal laxity.

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