Do you want to know how long it will take you to heal from diastasis recti?
You’re in the right place.
In this post, you will learn:
- how to tell if your abdominal separation is severe,
- how long it takes to heal diastasis recti naturally (or with exercise) and
- if diastasis recti can be fixed years later.
Let’s dive right in.
Although I am a doctor, I am not your doctor. This information is for informational purposes only and should not substitute the advice from your healthcare professional. All kinds of exercise and dietary changes are potentially dangerous, and those who do not seek counsel from the appropriate health care authority assume the liability of any injury which may occur. Please read my full Disclaimer for more information. Also, this post may contain affiliate links: meaning I may receive a commission if you use them.
Ok, moving on.
How long does it take to heal Diastasis Recti?
In general, it can take anywhere from 6-12 months after delivery for diastasis recti to heal completely.
With that said, everyone’s situation is unique, and some separations are more severe than others.
You may heal quicker than 6 months, or you may still need more time despite being 12 months postpartum.
That is okay!
Never compare yourself to others and focus on your own journey.
When is Diastasis Recti considered severe?
There are no clear cut guidelines on how to diagnose severe diastasis recti, but many experts agree that you have severe DR if:
- your abdominal separation is as wide as three or four fingers, and/or
- it causes significant protrusion aka bulging of your abdominal organs
- you are experiencing lower back pain related to your DR.
If you aren’t experiencing any of the above, then your ab separation is likely not severe.
Does Diastasis Recti get better On Its Own?
Diastasis recti can get better on its own in many postpartum women. In fact, one study showed that more than half of postpartum women had resolution of their separation by 6 months.
If your diastasis does not resolve spontaneously, the first-line treatment option is conservative management.
Most experts agree that a trial of exercise and weight loss can be beneficial.
But before you try to exercise, it is important to:
- get clearance from your healthcare provider,
- only do exercises that are safe for diastasis recti
- avoid any exercises that increase your abdominal pressure like the standard plank
Is Diastasis Recti Permanent?
Diastasis recti is not permanent in the majority of postpartum women.
One large study of over 300 women found that almost 70% of them had a resolution of diastasis at 12 months postpartum.
In addition, many women find that doing DR-specific exercises can be beneficial in the healing process.
The good news is, many women can begin exercising as early as 6 weeks postpartum!
If you do not notice any improvement in symptoms after 6 months of core building exercises, you may need to speak to your provider and explore further options.
Can Diastasis Recti Get Worse?
Yes, diastasis recti can definitely get worse if you:
- perform exercises like sit-ups and crunches prior to complete healing
- don’t focus on improving your posture postpartum (especially if you have excessive anterior pelvic tilt)
- do exercises that involve a lot of twisting, and/or
- engage in heavy lifting postpartum before your body is ready
As always, get clearance from your doctor before you do any exercise postpartum as starting exercise too soon can also have adverse outcomes and may worsen your gap.
Can you heal Diastasis Recti years later?
Yes, you can fix diastasis recti years later.
As with all types of exercise, it is never too late to start.
In this situation, it is important that you start slow, especially if you have never trained your abdominal muscles before.
It’s always easier to work your way up instead of starting too aggressively, too soon.
I have an entire post on abdominal exercises you could perform as a beginner to start healing your diastasis recti years later.
What is the fastest way to heal Diastasis Recti?
The fastest way to heal your diastasis recti will involve:
- core training aimed at strengthening the deep transverse abdominis
- improving your posture, and
- avoiding any exercise(s) that worsens DR
Healing your diastasis will take time. Expect to spend at least 6 months to accomplish your goal.
This is not an overnight process.
Please, be patient, and do not try to rush this process!
How can I fix Diastasis Recti naturally?
As mentioned before, diastasis recti does have the potential to heal on its own. Meaning, you don’t actually have to do anything.
Studies have shown that 50-70% of women may have complete resolution spontaneously by 6-12 months after delivery.
As your uterus shrinks back down to its pre-pregnancy size, the rectus abdominis muscles will no longer be stretched, and have the ability to come back together.
With that said, I recommend that you strengthen your core muscles anyway- as you can always benefit from a stronger midsection!
How Can I Fix Diastasis Recti Years Later?
The best way to begin fixing your abdominal separation years later is to start an exercise program dedicated to strengthening the deep core muscles.
It is important that you do these exercises at least three times per week.
Let’s go over the two simplest exercises you can start.
2 Simple Diastasis Recti Exercises You Can Do At Home
Before you start an exercise program for diastasis recti it is important that you receive medical clearance from your doctor.
Seriously. This is important!
Perfect. Let’s get started.
If you have never engaged in exercise before, ideally you want to start low and go slow.
First, there are three rules you need to follow along with two exercises.
The very first thing that you need to learn is how to align your spine properly.
When doing all core exercises, it is important that you posteriorly tilt your pelvis.
This exercise, which is known as posterior pelvic tilts, will help you to activate your deep transverse abdominis muscles while improving your posture.
Here’s how it looks.
You basically want to flatten your low back against the ground and engage your core muscles. Hold this contraction for a few seconds, release, and repeat.
While holding the contraction, you can also engage your pelvic floor muscles.
Next, it is important that you breathe correctly.
As you inhale, your shoulders should NOT move, nor should your chest rise.
Instead, your belly should get bigger, and the sides of your abdomen should expand.
This is known as diaphragmatic breathing.
Diaphragmatic breathing is important in teaching you how to activate your core while allowing your lungs to expand fully.
Inhale slowly for 3-5 seconds, hold the air for 3-5 seconds, and slowly exhale for 3-5 seconds as you contract your core muscles.
And lastly, it is very important that you do not perform any exercise that causes pain, discomfort, or makes your separation worse.
When is Diastasis Recti considered closed?
Diastasis recti is considered closed when the separation is smaller than 2 finger widths wide.
You can do this yourself with the modified curl-up test.
Remember, this isn’t an overnight fix.
It will take time, so you must remain patient.
How to Check For Diastasis Recti
To check for diastasis recti, you will need to get into the modified curl-up position as shown below.
You will then check the amount of separation between your abdominal muscles by placing your fingers around your belly button.
Interestingly, there is no standard for diagnosing diastasis recti and it is also not clear how much separation is considered normal vs abnormal.
Most experts would agree, that anything more than 2 and a half fingers’ worth of separation is considered abnormal.
To learn more, check out my post, How to Tell If You Have Diastasis Recti.
Lastly, it is important to ensure that you also don’t have an umbilical hernia as well.
Other Related Questions
Can you fix diastasis recti with exercise?
Exercise can help improve diastasis recti, but there is no guarantee that it will fix it completely.
Nevertheless, it is a great first-line treatment option that will strengthen your ab muscles regardless.
How many times a day should you do diastasis recti exercises?
Diastasis recti exercise should be done once per day and at least three times per week.
The goal is to gradually strengthen all of the muscles that make up your abdominal wall over time.
Does walking help diastasis recti?
Walking does have the potential to help diastasis recti as you need to actively engage your core muscles to keep your spine upright and neutral.
Just make sure to walk with proper posture by:
- minimizing any anterior pelvic tilt,
- ensuring that your shoulders are not rounded forward, and
- that your head does not protrude forward.
Either way, walking is an amazing form of exercise that you should do on a regular basis anyway.
Will losing weight help diastasis recti?
Losing excess weight can be beneficial for healing your diastasis and for improving symptoms of pelvic floor dysfunction (urinary incontinence) as well.
In general, it is always a good idea to lose excess fat and try to get as close to your ideal weight as possible.
Can a tummy tuck fix diastasis recti? When should it be repaired?
An abdominoplasty (aka tummy tuck) can fix diastasis recti by placing permanent sutures in the fascia and connective tissue of your abdominal wall to close the separation.
You should consider repair if:
- more than 6-12 months have passed and there is no improvement in your symptoms,
- you have lost weight and engaged in at least 12 weeks of exercise without any improvement, and/or
- you notice significant protrusion of your abdominal organs.
A tummy tuck is performed by plastic and reconstructive surgeons.
Diastasis recti surgery isn’t without its risks though. Make sure to get a thorough understanding of the risks and benefits to determine if it’s right for you.
A Complete Diastasis Recti Exercise Program (Start To Finish)
If you want to follow a complete 6-week DR-specific workout program that incorporates 100 safe exercises you can perform at home, check out my book below.
You do not need any level of experience to start and all exercises have easier and more difficult variations if necessary.
Final Words On How long it will take to heal your Diastasis Recti
Diastasis recti is caused by a midline separation of your linea alba.
Unfortunately, this common condition takes a considerable amount of time to heal.
Knowing which exercises to perform and which ones to avoid can potentially help in the closure of your abdominal muscles.
The most important thing is that you remain patient and not rush the process.
Now I want to hear from you.
How long did it take you before you saw improvement in your stomach separation?
What did you find to be most helpful?
Let me know by commenting below.
Related Posts On Diastasis Recti Postpartum
- How To Tell If You Have Diastasis Recti [Everything You Need To Know]
- What Is a Mommy Pooch & What Can You Do About It?
- How to Prevent Diastasis Recti In Pregnancy
Get Four Free Workouts To Help Strengthen Your Pelvic Floor & Heal Your Mommy Tummy!
Brittany N Robles, MD, MPH, CPT
Brittany Robles is a full-time OBGYN, a NASM certified personal trainer, and health & fitness, expert. She holds a Masters of Public Health degree in maternal health with a special interest in exercise and nutrition. She is also the co-author of The White Coat Trainer. Learn more about her here.
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