5 Reasons Your Diastasis Recti Is NOT Healing

Research and clinical experience shows that most, if not all, pregnant bodies will experience some degree of abdominal separation, or Diastasis Recti Abdominus (DRA). In many bodies, Diastasis heals incredibly well on it’s own postpartum! And for some, the healing and re-strengthening process can be improved when focusing on a few factors that I’ll detail below.

When people hear the term Diastasis Recti, it’s usually thought about as the abdominal muscles having a gap between them down the midline of the belly. This is factually true, but is NOT the whole story.

What Diastasis Recti Really Is, and How To Help It Heal

As you think about healing your Diastasis post-pregnancy, understand that the MAIN GOAL is not to to bring your abdominal muscles back together. There is no exact size the gap between your abdominal muscles needs to be in order to determine whether or not you are “healed.”

You want to re-gain optimal function, strength, and performance back to the entire Core Canister System. Your healing process will include attention on how the diaphragm, glutes, hamstrings, deep abdominal muscles, and the pelvic floor are all working together as a team!

Your Body Is Smart And Adaptable In Pregnancy

To grow a pregnancy to full term in your body, your abdominal wall needs to stretch significantly! Luckily, your body knows how to make that happen It’s an incredible feat, although, not always the most comfortable.

Your belly makes this happen through the abdominal muscles and tissues stretching and lengthening. The Linea Alba is flexible connective tissue that runs vertically from your sternum to your pubic bone, and connects the two sides of your “six pack” muscles, or Rectus Abdominis muscles. Through the trimesters it becomes more stretched to accommodate the growing fetus(es).

When this happens, the abdominal muscles can now have a gap – to varying degrees – between them.

I use this analogy:

The connective tissue that runs down the midline of your belly, is now like your favourite pair of well-worn leggings you can see through when you bend over. That stretch and thinning of the fabric is similar in nature to what is occurring with the Linea Alba. The connective tissue becomes more stretched and is not as dense or thick, which leads to the abdominal muscles having a separation between them.

The gap down the middle of the abdominals is of varying degrees in each person’s body. The gap can be present all the way from under one’s sternum to the pubic bone, or only certain places along that line – often postpartum, the largest gap will be around the umbilicus.

You can be more focused about the ability of your core to generate tension in your Linea Alba, than how large the gap between the abdominal muscles is. Again, you are more interested that the connective tissue can gain tension and is dense, than how large the gap between the muscles bellies is!

IMPORTANT: you can still have a gap between your abdominal muscles with a healed Diastasis Recti!

Do Not Stress!

No need for fear! Remember, your body is smart and your abdominal wall stretches for a reason.

As I said above, in most bodies, your Diastasis Recti is going to heal well postpartum. And if you’re finding your Diastasis Recti is NOT healing, I’m here to support you in understanding what it needs to regain better function.

Here Are 5 Reasons Your Diastasis Recti is NOT Healing (… And What To Do Instead)

First, what does “not healing” mean? A Diastasis Recti that needs support in regaining better function, might be presenting like:

  • – You are more than 12 weeks postpartum and your Linea alba is feeling verrrrry squishy, weak, and is NOT generating tension when you are TRYING to make it do so
  • – You can press deep down (past your first knuckle) into the Linea alba when you are actively trying to create tension through the abdominal muscles
  • – You are experiencing hard doming through the Linea Alba when you trying to engage the abdominal muscles

(I do NOT mean that your abdominal muscles or belly feels soft or squishy. That is extremely common post-pregnancy and may persist. You can have excellent core function with a squishy belly!)

1). Your Body Alignment Needs More Variety

The goals of body alignment are often misunderstood and miscommunicated.

What is most important in terms of alignment is to be moving pain and symptom free through your daily life and in whatever other activities you want to be able to move your body. This is “good” alignment! Good alignment does not mean you need to be robotic in your body positioning. Rather, you want to be moving often and through many different ranges of motion.

What I tend to see with my pregnant and postpartum fitness coaching clients is that they get stuck into rigid patterns of alignment and STAY there. For example, they’re carrying babies only on one side of the body, feeding baby in the same position 10 times per day every day, and jutting the same hip out while holding the toddler.

It can be helpful to notice YOUR tendencies of how you hold your body. There are generally 3 main ways I see pregnant, postpartum, and parents holding their bodies:

  • – Stacked
  • – Rib Thrusted
  • – Bum Tucked

None of these are bad! They are ALL wonderful. You simply want to be able to move through them all, however you are able, throughout the day and movement sessions.

Body Position Examples

A “stacked” body position (below) is one where your ribcage is aligned OVER TOP of your pelvis.

Jessie stands facing sideways in a "stacked" body position, with her arms extended straight out in front of her, and her ribcage aligned over top of her pelvis. This image is part of an explanation about how body positions relate to healing diastasis recti.


A “rib thrusted” position is where you are pushing the chest up towards the sky.

Jessie stands facing to the side, demonstrating a "rib thrusted" body position with her arms extended straight out in front of her and pushing her chest up towards the sky. This image is part of an explanation about how body positions relate to healing diastasis recti.


A “bum tucked” position is where you have your tailbone tucked under your hips.

Jessie stands facing to the side, demonstrating a "bum tucked" body position with her arms extended straight out in front of her, and her tailbone tucked under her hips. This image is part of an explanation about how body positions relate to healing diastasis recti.


To reiterate, these are all good body positions! If your Diastasis Recti is not healing, I encourage you to move more in all of these (and more) body positions. Do NOT need to force yourself to have “better” posture, by locking the shoulders down and standing with a straight back. Do the opposite! Move freely and switch your positioning often.

As the saying goes, “your next posture is your best posture!”

2). Your Breathing Needs MORE Variety 

Just as you want to practice having variety in your body positions, you will want to do the same with your breathing mechanics.

Again, I want you to notice your tendencies with breathing!

  • – Do you often notice yourself holding your breath or breathing in swallow ways?
  • – Are you usually breathing into the upper chest, but have a difficult time sending the breath into the sides of the ribcage or expanding the belly?
  • – Do you breathe well into the belly, but can’t expand the chest or mid-back?

You want to work on your breathing variety in life and in exercise!

To start, I teach a method of breathing called the, Core Connection breath. This is a baseline breathing strategy to help pregnant and postpartum people understand how the breath, abdominal muscles, and pelvic floor are all connected.

In the Core Connection breath, you send your inhale breath into the chest, ribcage, abdomen, and all the way down to the pelvic floor. In the exhale breath, you send the air out and feel a gentle lift of the pelvic floor, abdomen drawing back in, and ribcage falling down.

  • – INHALE = breathe in and expand
  • – EXHALE = breathe out and engage

The Core Connection breath is a great starting point to practicing connecting to your Diastasis Recti because you’ll feel expansion AND engagement through the abdominal wall.

Jessie stands facing forward, with a resistance band wrapped around her body at rib-height and crossed in front, hands holding each end at rib-height, demonstrating the starting position for "band breathing".


In this photo, I’m demoing how to feel the breath go into the front, back, and sides of the ribcage on the inhale. Hold a resistance band around your mid-back area and as you inhale you want to feel the band widen.

3). Your Digestion Feels Impaired And You’re Often Bloated 

If you are feeling chronic discomfort in your stomach, it can impact how the core and pelvic floor muscles are functioning and could explain why your Diastasis isn’t healing well.

  • – Notice if you are are trying to hold or suck your belly in tight most of the day?
  • – Are you having difficulty with bowel movements? Are you straining or pushing hard to poop?
  • – Do you have the urge for bowel movements and little volume comes out?

If you’re experiencing frequent bloating or constipation, it might be worth sorting out what the root cause of that is and getting curious on if it’s related to stress, poor sleep, food, body image struggles or other medical reasons.

4). Your Genetics Play A Role

Your genetics will play a role in how your Diastasis Recti heals, or is sluggish to heal. Connective tissue quality are impacted by your ancestry.

Additionally, you might have a body that is a smaller frame and perhaps you grow bigger (healthy, beautiful!) babies. This could leave the gap between the abdominal muscles wide and the connective tissue more stretched as your baby stretches the abdominal wall throughout pregnancy.

Knowing that genetics can impact if your Diastasis Recti is not healing, it can bring you sense of relief. Bodies are so unique! Some bodies take longer to heal, or adapt differently. And while you cannot change our genetics, you can work with the other 4 factors on this list to support your body as best as possible.

5). You Need To Load Your Body In Different Ways In Exercise

Your movement variability is lacking! This is related to your body positioning, but specifically in exercise or movement sessions.

I want you to notice your tendencies for body positioning in your workouts!

  • – Are you always moving, standing, and lifting in the exact same way?
  • – When you overhead press or squat, are you always thrusting your chest on every rep?
  • – When you deadlift are you tucking your bum way under at the top of each lockout position?
  • – Are you doing a lot of abdominal exercises and experiencing hard doming through the linea alba on most reps?

I recommend adding MORE variety of movements and ways of moving into your workouts. Do exercises that are in standing positions, seated, side-lying, from your stomach, rotational, flex and extend the trunk, etc. This helps to load your core from more angles and with differing demands. Your Diastasis Recti wants to be appropriately challenged, so be sure to make the abdomen work in plenty of positions!

If your Diastasis Recti is not healing, I want you to know that you are NOT doing anything wrong. Your body is NOT broken and it does not need to be fixed.

If you’re unsure if your Diastasis Recti is or is not healing after pregnancy, a trained and experienced local Pelvic Health Physiotherapist can help you do a thorough assessment. And if you’re ready to start healing your Diastasis Recti now, my signature, online 8-week Core + Floor Restore program has been used by thousands of postpartum folks globally.

Always rooting for you,


(BPHE, MHK, Professional Kinesiologist, Perinatal Fitness Coach & Educator)

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