Beyond the Bulge: Unveiling the Hidden Signs of Diastasis Recti

Simone Muller


  1. "Mum Tum" Misunderstandings
  2. Struggling to Reclaim Your Pre-Pregnancy Waistline? This could be a key indicator
  3. Checking for Diastasis Recti
  4. Understanding Gap Width and Tension
  5. The Silent Connection: Diastasis Recti and Back Pain
  6. Rehabilitation of Diastasis Recti with Hypopressives
  7. Getting Started
  8. FAQs

Pregnancy is an immense experience that brings about many changes in a woman's body, especially those to the pelvic floor. One of the lesser discussed challenges is Diastasis Recti, a condition where the abdominal muscles separate.

In this post I will shed light on how "mum tum" is often misunderstood and how struggling to get back to your pre-pregnancy waistline can be a crucial sign of Diastasis Recti. I will also dig into the associated issues of back pain and pelvic floor dysfunction and provide a pathway to start to reverse these symptoms and challenges and find great wellbeing in your day to day life.

"Mum Tum" Misunderstandings

The term "mum tum" is commonly used to describe the changes in a woman's abdominal area postpartum. However, this oversimplified term can lead to misconceptions about what is happening beneath the surface. It is important to note that there is a difference between normal postpartum changes and the potential presence of Diastasis Recti. By debunking the myths surrounding "mum tum," we can pave the way for clearer understanding and early intervention.

Are you Struggling to Reclaim Your Pre-Pregnancy Waistline?

While some level of abdominal separation is normal during pregnancy, if the gap persists months after giving birth, it may indicate Diastasis Recti. Many women find themselves struggling to regain their pre-pregnancy waistline; this is a key sign that their core muscles need attention.

Checking for Diastasis Recti

Positioning: To start, lie on your back with your knees bent and feet flat on the floor. Find a position and let yourself relax. Head and Shoulder Lift: Slowly raise your head with one hand while keeping your shoulders slightly off the ground. With your hand, use it to locate the midline. Locating the Midline: Using your fingertips place them below and above your belly button along the midline of your abdomen. Gently press down while feeling for any gaps or changes in tissue. Checking for diastasis recti: Start by placing your fingers along the midline and feel if there is any gap between the muscles. Slowly move your fingers both below and above your belly button repeating this process a few times.

Pay attention to how narrow or wide the gap feels between the muscles. The width of the gap is a factor in diagnosing diastasis recti. If the gap measures 2.5 fingers or more in width it is typically classified as diastasis recti. However it's essential to consider the tension in the tissue as this is also a key indicator of diastasis recti. Tension in the connective tissue: Not only the width but also the tension in the connective tissue matters. If you can press your fingers into that midline area without encountering resistance it suggests weaker connective tissue and muscle tension which may indicate diastasis recti.

Understanding Gap Width and Tension

The width of a diastasis recti is a factor when assessing its severity. A gap more than 2.5 fingers in width indicates a Diastasis Recti that requires attention and specific exercises to improve muscle strength and support for the connective tissue.

However, equally important is the tension in the connective tissue. Weak or loose connective tissue allows for deeper sinking of fingers into the midline, signalling an inability to provide proper support to the abdominal muscles.

The Silent Connection: Diastasis Recti and Back Pain

Beyond the visible changes, Diastasis Recti can manifest as back pain, a symptom often overlooked in the postpartum journey. The weakened abdominal muscles can contribute to poor posture, leading to increased stress on the lower back. Understanding this connection is crucial for mothers seeking comprehensive postpartum recovery. By addressing Diastasis Recti, we can alleviate back pain and improve overall well-being.

Rehabilitation of Diastasis Recti with Hypopressives

Hypopressives, a specialised exercise technique, offer an effective approach to rehabilitate and strengthen the connective tissue affected by diastasis recti. Hypopressives is a combination of breathing exercises and body positions that focus on how the body restores itself from the inside. These postpartum pelvic floor exercises work by lowering intra-abdominal pressure, building core strength from the inside out, and strengthening muscles like the pelvic floor and transversus abdominis.

The vacuum effect generated by this breathing technique not only activates the diaphragm but also engages key deep core muscles such as the transverse abdominis and pelvic floor muscles. Hypopressives help restore core competence and function by promoting the activation of the transverse abdominis and pelvic floor muscles.

Getting started with Hypopressives

For the Hypopressives classes it is important that you learn the Breathing/Apnea technique properly so that you can get the most out of the classes and the time you invest in yourself. Each week Simone runs Fundamentals sessions on Zoom where she explains the technique and guides you through all the steps.

She will also give you feedback to make sure that you're doing it correctly. For some, the technique may come more quickly than others. Some of her clients, who are tighter in the ribs and thoracic spine do tend to take a little longer. And here's the golden rule - for impactful change, Simone recommends at least three 15 to 20-minute workouts per week. Consistency is your best friend on this journey towards wellness.


Pilates is an excellent technique for bringing stability back to a destabilised postpartum body, but a lot of the traditional Pilates exercises, specifically curl ups (used often in mat-work repertoire) can be detrimental if pelvic floor dysfunction and diastasis recti are present. Unfortunately, at the 6-week postnatal checkup these issues are not properly assessed, and many women may not even realise they themselves are affected by these concerns.

There is a general acceptance of pelvic floor dysfunction with mothers often accepting that they may leak when running, sneezing or coughing. Also, the term “mum-tum” leads many women to unwillingly accept their new relationship with their bodies. LPF is a completely safe way of working a postnatal body and many of the women I work with have managed to reverse prolapse and drastically improve a diastasis.

I did the LPF training before having my second child and started practising postpartum after my second child. The difference in my recovery after my first labour where I only did Pilates was markedly different to when I practised LPF with my second. Within a few weeks my core was stronger than it had been before being pregnant with my second, and my pelvic floor was as strong as it was pre-kids!! If I hadn't seen the change with my own eyes or felt it in my body, I wouldn’t have believed it. It literally felt like the more I practised the more internal strength I developed. This was something I hadn’t felt since I was a professional dancer. I also loved that the technique doesn’t require hours of training. Only 10-20 minutes, three times a week will get visible results.

It is recommended at least 6-8 weeks after a vaginal delivery and 12 weeks after a c-section.

You will start to see results by practising 2-3 weekly sessions of 10-20 minutes. It is safe to practise daily once your body has adjusted to the practice which will take around 2-4 weeks.

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Hypopressives is an effective technique toward relieving symptoms related to Pelvic Organ Prolapse, Diastasis Recti and Urinary Incontinence. Hypopressives also improves poor posture, pelvic floor weakness and back pain. I offer a flexible approach to memberships and a 14-day free trial.


About the Author

Simone Muller is the founder of re-centre and has over 15 years of teaching experience across Pilates, Low Pressure Fitness and Yoga.

She launched the online platform to make Low Pressure Fitness and Hypopressives more accessible to more women around the world so that they can become the strongest and most functional versions of themselves.

Originally from South Africa, Simone's dance and Pilates career evolved when she faced post-childbirth challenges, prompting her to explore Low Pressure Fitness in Spain.

As the first level 3 instructor in London, she has witnessed transformative postnatal rehabilitation results in clients, addressing issues like Diastasis Recti, prolapse and incontinence.

Simone has written articles for the re-centre blog 'Kegels not Working?', 'The connection between menstruation and prolapse symptoms' and 'Why I love teaching postnatal rehabilitation?'.

Simone has also written guest posts for The Shala 'What is Low Pressure Fitness', Yana Active 'Prioritising your Pelvic Floor Health After Giving Birth and Nurturing the Core' and for The Pelvic Academy 'Empowering Women's Health - The Power of Collaboration Between Hypopressives, Physiotherapists and Osteopaths'.

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