What is Diastasis Recti?
Diastasis Recti is when the linea alba has stretched and thinned due to outward pressure (usually caused by pregnancy). Stretching of the linea alba is a natural process of pregnancy and happens to a degree by all women by 35 weeks of pregnancy. However the stretching of the linea alba and muscles contributes to a weakened abdominal wall and it is important to keep up core strength and stability while pregnant and postpartum.
While measuring the width is helpful for DR progress, it is not the key factor in what you can and can't do. Three different women can have the same width of separation and each have different issues:
1-one can have a very weak non functioning core
2-the other can have a functioning core, but still weak
3-and the third can have a strong functioning core
Diastasis can become functional. What is functional? When the width of linea alba does not reduce to pre-pregnancy measurements but tissue and muscle is able to regain strength and tension and perform high load/pressure exercises.
What matters is that women progressively recondition the core and focus on rebuilding strength, stiffness, responsiveness and coordination (see CORE 4 Matters) and see how well the tissue responds (genetic component of tissue can affect how well tissue reorganizes itself) but either way; muscles and tissue WILL regain strength and function even if width of DR does not "close" and women can get back to running, jumping and lifting heavy.
What about coning, doming or bulging of the abdomen?
Doming, coning or bulging occurs due to a weakened anterior wall either by diastasis recti (lengthening of the linea alba), lengthening of the abdominal muscles due to pregnancy or lack of ability to sustain muscle stiffness (being able to resist internal force). Training to increase core stiffness (resist force) as well as core strength (produce force) will improve the core's ability to create and handle higher Intra abdominal pressure which is critical to being able to produce more power.