Diastasis Detective Program

Module 1: Intro

What causes abdominal separation?


There are a number of factors that cause diastasis recti, the main one being excessive intra-abdominal pressure or loading in the abdominal cavity, caused by non-optimal alignment.

There are 3 cavities in the human body which house certain organs:

  1. THORACIC – heart and lungs
  2. ABDOMINAL – digestive organs and baby(ies)!
  3. PELVIC – pelvic organs

All three cavities are connected to one another by one of the other cavities: either above or below it.

If pressure builds up to high proportions in one cavity, it causes an imbalance in pressure.

We’re mainly interested in the abdominal cavity here in this program (it is an ‘abdominal separation’ thing, right?!).

There’s only so much pressure one cavity can take before it disperses that pressure elsewhere.  It can go one of 3 ways:

  1. Up
  2. Down, or
  3. Out

Pelvic floor dysfunction can be attributed to too much pressure in the abdominal cavity pushing DOWN into the pelvic cavity, through faulty breathing mechanics, but we’ll cover that in more detail in the ‘breathing’ section later.

A side point on hernias which are also as a result of built-up pressure:

  • hiatal = the organs press UP through the diaphragm and into the heart and lungs,
  • inguinal = the release of pressure DOWN and out through the groin, and
  • umbilical = forward pressure OUT through the belly button.

Diastasis recti is caused by the FORWARD and OUT pressure of the uterus, against the abdominal muscles.

The spine forms a hard structure at the back of the thoracic and abdominal cavities, but all you’ve got at the front of your body is a nice squishy set of muscles.

So, during pregnancy the combination of mums’ uterus and baby(ies) fighting for space in there means if the body is mis-aligned in any of those 3 cavities, the pressure gradients aren’t able to work optimally.