How To Test For Diastasis Recti After Pregnancy | VIDEO

by Apr 24, 2019

Physical Therapy guided explanation on how to properly perform a self test on your core for diastasis recti after pregnancy.

This post contains affiliate links. For more information, see my disclosures here.



Are you wondering if you have diastasis recti after just giving birth to your baby? You noticed you have this big separation in your belly between your abs but you’re not quite sure what it is. You might be wondering if this is just a normal side effect after pregnancy or is this gap in your belly something to be worried about.

As a physical therapist I am trained on how to properly test for diastasis recti in pregnant and postpartum women, and today I want to teach you how you can test yourself for ab separation. Included are step-by-step instructions along with a video at the end of the article which will help you to better understand.

Physical Therapy Recommended Test For Diastasis Recti


Diagnosing Diastasis Recti can only be done by a medical professional when they examine you in their office (such as your primary care physician or your physical therapist, for example.) But since we have the luxury of reading blog posts on the web, I wanted to give you a beginner’s (self exam) approach to determining if you have Diastasis Recti.

As a practicing Physical Therapist, I love to teach my patients how to perform exercises properly and safely as well as educate them on their diagnosis.

Related: 11 Diastasis Recti Core Exercises For Your Postpartum Belly | VIDEO

I want to help you today to determine if you have Diastasis Recti, which is the abdominal separation between your right and left side of your belly. This is common during pregnancy but also very noticeable after pregnancy.   

How To Test For Diastasis Recti


To begin, you want to:

1. Lie flat on the floor or any flat solid surface.

2. Bend both of your knees to a comfortable position so your feet are flat on the floor.

3. Relax your head and neck so they are also flat on the floor.

4. Take your two fingers (index and middle will work fine) and place them over your belly button.

4. Take your two fingers (index and middle will work fine) and place them over your belly button.

5. Align your fingers to be in a horizontal position over your belly button with your palm facing down.

Related: The Best Beginner Core Exercise Recommended For Moms | VIDEO

6. Slightly lift your head and neck up (like a mini sit-up) and at the same time, press down far enough to feel if there is a gap between your right and left abdominal muscles.

7. Perform this same test at two more locations on your linea alba (vertical line that divides the right and left side of your abs).

8. Place your fingers about 3 inches above your belly button to test the second region of your belly.

9. And then place your fingers 3 inches below your belly button to test the third region of your belly.

Jena’s Tip: Follow along with the video to help you understand exactly where to place your fingers along your linea alba.

How To Measure Your Diastasis Recti Size and Gap


If you feel a gap, this is what is known as Diastasis Recti, the separation between the right and left abdominal muscles that is more than 1 finger width apart (approximately 25 mm, just shy of 1 inch). If you only have a separation of 1 finger, than you do not have Diastasis Recti. But if you have a separation of 2 or 3 finger widths (and even some women have 4 finger width gaps) then you have diastasis recti.

The wider the gap (or the more fingers that fit between the right and the left side of your abdominal muscles) the worse it is.

What To Do If You Have Diastasis Recti


Now that you know whether you have Diastasis Recti or not, it is important that you properly restore your core muscles in a safe way to prevent further separation or injury to your core (this includes your back).

Physical therapy is highly recommended for treating Diastasis Recti. I recommend contacting a Physical Therapist that specializes in Women’s Health for a thorough evaluation where they can treat you one-on-one with proper Diastasis Recti core exercises postpartum.

I would love to be a valuable resource to you. Unfortunately, I cannot do a thorough evaluation over the computer but I would still love to help you with any Physical Therapy questions you may have.  Please contact me or comment below in the comments section if you have questions regarding Diastasis Recti during or after pregnancy.

Next up, you will definitely enjoy learning 11 Diastasis Recti Core Exercises For The Postpartum Belly, which are physical therapy approved!


Keep Smiling,

Dr. Jena Bradley, DPT

This post contains affiliate links. For more information, see my disclosures here.

*It is important to always consult your doctor before beginning any exercise program and get medical clearance. Perform exercises at your own risk.


About Dr. Jena Bradley

About Dr. Jena Bradley

Jena is a mom of 4 darling little girls, a physical therapist and founder of Live Core Strong, a blog focusing on motivating moms to live a life that incorporates fitness and fun throughout their motherhood journey.  She aims to be the friend you always wanted to have who could guide you through the “fog” when faced with an “I don’t know what to do” mommy moment. At the most inconvenient time of her life, she embarked on a journey of sharing her story and expertise to inspire the next generation of healthy moms. You can learn more about Jena by visitng her ABOUT page. 

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Hi there, friend! I’m Jena, a mom of 4 and a Physical Therapist with a passion to motivate moms! I want to inspire you to be your best self by sharing my experiences and trusted advice on motherhood, health and fitness.

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