Pregnant women may exercise both abdominal and pelvic floor muscles during pregnancy without increasing the diastasis recti abdominis: a randomised trial

Review written by Dr Sandy Hilton info

Key Points

  1. Combining abdominal exercises and pelvic muscle exercises are safe during pregnancy.
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The linea alba is the connective tissue line between the two muscle bellies of the rectus abdominus. The widening of this line during pregnancy is called “pregnancy related diastases recti abdominus” (DRA) and occurs in 70 to 100% of pregnancies (1). Most have a spontaneous resolution but 33% have persistent DRA 12 months postpartum (2). The evidence of the effects of DRA on function, quality of life, aesthetics, urinary incontinence, and pain are conflicting (3,4).

This study was designed to study the effectiveness of exercise intervention on diastases during pregnancy. The authors assessed the effects of a 12-week abdominal and pelvic floor program during pregnancy on the inter-recti distance (IRD) in women with DRA.

Most diastases recti abdominus have a spontaneous resolution but 33% have persistent diastases recti abdominus 12 months postpartum.
Having accurate information about generating tension across the abdominal muscles to “close the gap” is a positive step for patient self-efficacy.


  • This was a parallel group randomized controlled trial with concealed group allocation, assessor blinding, and an intention to treat analysis.
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