Have you seen this condition thrown around but just thought you were reading a foreign language? Don't worry, let me tell you more. Diastasis recti is a separation between the left and right side of the rectus abdominis muscle, which covers the front surface of the belly area (your six pack). So to break it down, diastasis means "seperation," and recti is in reference to the rectus abdominis. In between your left and right rectus abdominis muscles is a line of fibrous tissue called the linea alba. This is what separates and causes the condition. This can affect any pregnant woman but is more common among women who have had multiple births and their muscles have been stretched multiple times. What happens is as the belly continues to expand to accommodate your growing baby the rectus abdominis muscles have to stretch as well and when that linea alba gives way you can be left with a gap in your abs.
This may sound scary and there can be some serious cases but for the majority, it will heal after the baby is born. You do however need to take precautions with exercising to make sure it does not get worse or has enough time to heal. For instance, if you have this condition you need to avoid most core exercises that would put additional pressure or strain on the rectus abdominis muscles. This means no exercises that flex the upper spine off the floor or against the force of gravity such as: as crunches, oblique curls, "bicycles," roll ups/roll downs, etc. Also avoid any exercises that stretch the abs for instance yoga poses that require you to stretch your arms overhead or to the sides with twisting or lying flat on your back on a large exercise ball. You want to avoid any further separating of those abdominal muscles.
How do I know if I have diastatis recti?
You can administer a self-test by lying flat on your back with your belly exposed, knees bent and feet flat on the ground. Lift your head as if to do a crunch but make sure you are contracting your abs in a way that forces your rib cage down towards your pelvis. Do not simply lift your head off the ground. Then with your three middle fingers side by side, place them just above your belly button and press inward. If all three of your fingers sink into a gap between your abdominis rectic muscles you most likely have diastasis recti. If only one or two fit easily in the gap, then you do not. If this is something you are uncertain about talk to your doctor at your next appointment.