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Let’s talk about DRA…aka Mummy Tummy

What is it?

Diastasis Rectus Abdominis (DRA) is a gap or bulge in the abdominal wall.  It occurs when the linea alba widens and thins during pregnancy.  Research states that 60% of women have a DRA 6 weeks after birth and 30% have one a year after birth.  Most women have not heard of this term and other women know there is something not right but haven’t found the answer.  There is also the misconception that doing “core work” will close the area, when in actuality it can make It worse.

Why causes a DRA?

The separation occurs as your progress through your pregnancy. Coughing, laughing, pooping, and breathing are some of the things that can lead to an increase in abdominal pressure, which can cause separation.

How do you know if you have one? 

Generally, a good time to be evaluated is 6 weeks after birth. A pelvic physical therapist can assess you in standing or supine.  In supine you lift your head as your therapist assesses the separation in your abdominal wall.  If it is more than 2 finger widths than you have a DRA.  In standing, you observe and palpate the structure as the patient contracts the deep abdominal wall.

Other symptoms that can occur with a DRA.

Urine leakage, pressure in the pelvis or vaginal areas, back pain, bowel incontinence, prolapse and pain with sex.

What can you do about it?

Depending on the amount of separation you have you will need to avoid specific exercises that can make it worse.  Seek out a proper assessment and avoid the “5 exercises to correct a DRA” internet options.


Find a Pelvic Physical Therapist to evaluate you today! Next time we will talk about how to search for a trained Pelvic Physical Therapist in your area!